Our stay at Turkey Creek RV Park certainly did not go unpunished. One of the early nights we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of “Tornado Central”. The town sirens were a-blarin’ and the thunder/lightning show was a-blastin’ and off we were, to the rock building shelter they had at the RV park. The Big Man upstairs was looking over us though, no touch down anywhere near us this time. But a meager 2 days later, here we were in the middle of a snowstorm, and we all know how much I love the cold weather…NOT!
During the week we got lots of family time with Jeanne’s sister, brother-in-law, and nephew (the Bevins clan; Denise, Don, and Cedric) and her niece’s family (the Pace clan; Savohna, Robert, Cooper, Brody, and Khloe). Robert kicked it off with a dinner of smoked bacon-wrapped meat loaf with smoked mac-n-cheese. Holy-moly was that tasty! Some people want to be buried at death. Some want to be cremated. I want to be smoked.
One day Robert, Savohna, Jeanne and I ventured over to Springfield. Robert pointed out a place called “Hurts Donut”, and, well, solely based on what I did for a living (hint: #bluelivesmatter) we just HAD to go and sample their fare. Outstanding donuts! We later hit the lunchwagon at Springfield Brewing Co. and had to sample their fare. The beer was OK, not outstanding. I got a kick out of an old photo hanging on the wall. It depicted the 1906 State Normal School Women’s Rifle Drill Team. Nice to see the students of yesteryear wore uniforms and came to school fully armed!
Back in Branson, Don and Denise took us over to see a new baseball venue that is “in-progress”. It is an old strip mall taken over by “Ballparks of America” and looks to be 5 baseball fields for youth baseball. The fields are game ready and in fact they were due to have a small tournament that very weekend. The infrastructure buildings (old store fronts) are still being retrofitted and will soon be team rooms, shops, and possibly bowling alley and ice skating rink, among other things. The fields were absolutely awesome! Wall-to-wall artificial turf, even the “dirt” was artificial.
Don and Denise live on the outskirts of town and they have a little bit of real estate behind their house (OK, thick trees and no neighbors as far as the eye can see). Don has enjoyed his hobby of shooting and reloading for quite some time. And he has quite the arsenal on hand. I got the opportunity to cap a few rounds through a couple of “mini-cannons” he owns; a S&W 460 Magnum and a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan 454 Casull-45 Colt. Rock and roll, hootchie koo!!! My nose is still numb from the repercussion! After stopping the nose bleed, I got to watch “Deadeye Cooper” display his prowess with his .22 pistol. Fun times.
With a break in the weather, Jeanne and I took Woodrow Wilson on a hike at the Lakeside Forest Wildlife Area above Lake Taneycomo in downtown Branson. It was a short hike, maybe a couple of miles tops, but the 300-some rock stair-steps was a ham-burner. Pity it was not during or immediately following a rain storm, there would have been a nice little waterfall along the route. But alas, it was dry. A couple of small grotto areas were drip drip dripping on us like a natural mister and there were a couple of caves off the trail. Unfortunately, as seems to be more common every day, good things cannot go unspoiled. Our homeless fellow humanoids see fit to take up residence in every nook and cranny, leaving piles of their earthly belongings, garbage, and drug paraphernalia to ruin it for normal nature enthusiasts. Sometimes you do not need the nighttime hours to “see stars”.
A week in Branson, family medical emergency stabilized for now, it was time to move on. But where to? We were still playing the weather, waiting “like a coiled spring” to head northward. The northeast is still digging out of the last late-season blizzard and temps here in the south are just starting to get away from freezing. So we decided to head back south to Little Rock just to visit Clinton’s Presidential Library. A couple of nights at the Downtown Riverside RV Park was the perfect place for the library visit. It is just across the Arkansas River from the library with a nice walking bridge to access it without having to drive anywhere. We hit here at the right time too, the library had a temporary display honoring The Beatles, so we got a “two-fer”.
Our next destination stop was the Tannehill Ironworks State Park in McCalla, Alabama. We broke the drive up in two and overnighted at the Tupelo Walmart again, then into the state park. We just happened to arrive for the opening weekend of the “Trade Show” they put on here inside the park every 3rd weekend from March through November. The “Trade Show” is actually a large flea market with a bit of farmer’s market thrown in the mix. It is interesting as a full time RVer to walk around a flea market, sometimes you see something that makes you think about owning a house again, but then reality strikes and you remember there is no way you would want to buy some of this stuff due to lack of storage space in your current living quarters.
This particular state park is a civil war historical landmark. The Tannehill Ironworks was the Confederacy’s second largest ironworks and the site of a major offensive by the Union. On site there are many log cabins from the civil war era that have been relocated here from their original locations and some are even available as cabin rentals. The original ironworks, left in ruins by the Union, has been restored and there are many hiking trails throughout the park. We took one such trail up to a slaves cemetery, where the gravesites are marked only by large rocks and several show the telltale depression in the dirt where the bodies are located.
On site there is also the Alabama Iron and Steel Museum which has displays related to the early goings on of the ironworks, as well as some Civil War items and memorabilia.
Tannehill Ironworks State Park is an excellent family campground. For $30 per night for full hookups, they have plenty of activities available for the whole family, all outdoor related and nothing to do with video games or cell phones. (Internet service is extremely poor here in these hills). Besides the living history lessons, they have hiking, biking, a playground along the creek, and fishing. There is a Pioneer Farm where it looks like they do demonstrations of things like blacksmithing. Some of the restored cabins looked like they do crafts such as quilting. We stayed here for 4 days, kinda out in the sticks. The beauty of it was, a short 20 minute drive and we were loading up on supplies at Costco in the town of Hoover (suburb of Birmingham).
The spring is still tightly coiled, we’re not quite ready to pull the trigger and barrel our way north, not sure of our next destination yet, but moving day is tomorrow and to quote that famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) River Sub-Station Sgt. Dave Anderson, “Just do it!” OK, Dave, we’re gonna do it…