Monday, October 10, 2011

The cost of our travels; the joys and perils of camping

I used to love to visit Branson.  Not these days, though.  It's expensive and crowded, and we go scooting right on by.  Within thirty minutes of leaving Branson, we can be in peaceful, quiet Arkansas riding on motorcycle roads with very little traffic, and the only cost to us is gasoline.  Last week we were on the road with our Gold Wing a lot, and only spent  $76.00 on gas.  By the way, gasoline is higher in Arkansas than here in the Kansas City area.  
Camping out cost us $25 for two nights at the Hub (that includes a $5 tip), and $11 (senior citizen discount) Friday night at Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  We ate off McDonald's dollar menu twice, and treated ourselves to a Mini-Blizzard at Dairy Queen once; the money came out of the grocery envelope.  Other than that, we ate stuff we took from home.  
Cliff wanted to show people that I actually cooked on our last little trip, so here's the proof:

Making grilled cheese sandwiches

Campbell's tomato soup to go with the sandwiches
Gourmet cooking at its finest!  We had to improvise somewhat, because we need paper plates and throw-away bowls, and my grocery funds are so depleted that I refused to buy those items until Cliff's Social Security arrives in the bank.  Saturday morning as I lay in my sleeping bag waiting for daylight, I wished for pancakes; next time we're on the road I will make sure to have some complete pancake mix along (just add water).  
I've found our Travel Toilet to be very useful around the campsite:

 It serves as a handy helmet-holder.

 And makes a sturdy place to sit while you're putting on shoes.  Cliff uses it as a prop to get up off the air mattress, too.  

The best part of camping is that you get to see sights like this after you wake up.  

The down-side of camping is Cliff's discomfort.  Years of butchering has left him with arthritis in his shoulders, back, and hip.  He sleeps quite well on the air mattress, and it seems to be fine for his back; but getting up and down from our bed on the floor of the tent is difficult for him.  Even at home it takes him quite a while to get all his parts moving as they should, and it's worse when we're camping.  We are going to buy a couple of those chairs-in-a-bag before next spring, because a picnic table is not very comfortable for sitting.  
We saw some very well-behaved children at the state park.  One little girl was riding her bicycle, saw our motorcycle coming, and got off the road, waiting until we passed to continue riding.  A father and his daughter were tent-camping near us, and I watched the little girl, perhaps seven years old, entertain herself with a baton for quite a while; then she had fun poking at their campfire with a stick.  On the other side of us was a family with a child who appeared to be around three years old, and he, too, entertained himself nicely. 

One purchase I'm happy with is our five-day ice chest.  I seriously doubt the ice would last for five days in hot summer weather, and we haven't fully tested it.  But over a three-day period we did not have to worry about buying ice, and that's a wonderful thing.  


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Traveling on a budget is not easy for sure. I;m glad you managed to enjoy your trip .

darev2005 said...

Mmmm.... grilled cheese and tomato soup.

One of my favorites.

I had other things to say, but now I'm just hungry and that's all I can think about.

Ah.... One thing. When I used to go camping we would bring a bit of thick slab bacon cut into pieces about an inch long. Drop one into the frying pan and let it cook down some then pour pancake batter over it. Bacon pancakes. Mmmm...

Jon said...

I went to Branson many times when I lived in Springfield. I loved it there, but the traffic and high prices were getting progressively worse. The endless, bumper-to-bumper traffic was extremely frustrating.
I really like your photos!

Tipper said...

Love that last photos! Glad you guys had a good trip : )


I love Branson. But you're right it's overcrowed and expensive. Sounds like camping is affordable and fun. But like your husband I would have a very hard time rising from a mattress on the ground. So I wouldn't be able to do it. Loved the helmet holder. And that scene near the water and trees was GORGEOUS.

Celeste said...

One of our favs was omelets. egg beaters, diced ham and sliced cheese.

Anonymous said...

nice place. I was wondering how your knee feels. My surgery is coming up soon.