We had planned to try work-kamping for the first time in April at Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville, Missouri. Here were our thoughts:
- Free Parking with Full Hookups
- Drive around in a golf cart (provided) using a laptop (also provided) to check campers in and take their fees
- North Central Missouri location would make for easy access to St. Louis, Des Moines and Kansas City for Barry
- Rest and relax for an entire month in our coach in a beautiful state park setting
Here are the realities as they occurred:
- Arrive Sunday, April 1st, Easter and set up the coach before 6″ of snow fell with a new record low temperature of 5º. Snow fell each of the next 2 weekends and the temperatures stayed cold the entire time. There were very few campers those first 3 weeks of April!
- My baby brother, Jeff, had a heart attack and died in his sleep on April 9. Totally. Unprepared. For. That. He had just turned 60 and was looking forward to retiring from the Border Patrol and living on a lake near a golf course with our Mom in tow. No words to describe the deep hole in my soul now.
- Between traveling to Iowa, Kansas, St. Louis, Chicago (work), and Tampa (sales meeting – he flew to), we put over 5,000 miles on our car in one month. That is Five Thousand Miles just on the car, none on the RV!
- We got another contract on our house with closing scheduled for 9 weeks out (June 18th). So that meant that, while we were away, we had another round of inspectors come pick at our house and determine that we needed to spend more money to satisfy the new buyers!
But, on the other hand, here are the things that gave us reasons to smile in April:
- We both got to spend some much needed time with Jeff’s three sons, Alex, Jake & Luke. It was bittersweet to make new connections with them as adults now, at this time. But it also gave us a chance to recognize that they have each become men that we are proud to know.
- There were times of great peace at Thousand Hills. We saw a big eagle who was staying there for the summer. We learned about American Coot water birds. We saw flocks of Canadian Geese and Northern Loon resting on the lake before continuing north. Owls called in the trees at dusk. We heard so many different frogs croaking and singing their songs both day and night on the warmer days.
- Being a campground host was not too bad. I met so many nice people, even a couple in a tiny little camper/van from the Netherlands. The campground was small enough that I could drive around in 30 minutes to check on everyone. I did not have to sell ice or firewood, clean bathrooms or sit in a small toll booth all day. We will return in July for another month and see if I still feel the same!
- It began to warm up just before we left and we began to see signs of Spring in the woods around the RV.
- I found a little time to put peel-and-stick tile in the kitchen area of the coach and finally covered up all the old yucky border.
- Barry found some time one weekend to move the TV from the front of the coach, over the driver / passenger area, outside!
- I got to drive from Kirksville to Cheney, Kansas and back — a chance to see some new sights.
At the end of our time in Kirksville, we were both beat — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are moving to western Iowa for a week to make sales calls & run up to Sioux Falls, SD to update to a new mailing address. (If you want it, just text me.). We will return to Macon, Missouri for a week, then back to St. Louis at the end of May. We need to work on the final steps of emptying our house before closing. And we could really use some hugs from our family and friends while we are there…………..