September was a bittersweet month for us! It was our freedom month! But it was our goodbye month too! We ended our jobs with a wonderful farewell party at the office and a bbq at the campground. Luann will miss her comrades very much even though she will still be working remotely with them, it won't be the same.
Saying goodbye to the family was the hardest. We didn't really say goodbye, we just said see you later and made plans to stay in touch with phone and video chat as much as possible. Luann had a goodbye tea with our daughter and we ate leftover cake from the work goodbye party with the grandkids.
Our first few days of full-timing were a blur. We were traveling to our first stop, Branson, MO. Getting there was an interesting trip. Our RV GPS wanted to route us around and take us another couple hours around where we wanted to go. We pulled out our trusty truckers atlas to see why we just couldn't take the direct route. Usually, it means there's a height or weight restriction when the GPS does this. The road we wanted to take was a truck route but had a bridge. I started googling this (thank God other RVers post comments) and found that this bridge was pretty narrow and there were mixed feelings among RVers about crossing it. Bryan made the decision to give it a shot to save time. This bridge by Cairo, IL is actually two bridges. You are in 3 states (KY, IL, MO) before you are done. You also cross the Ohio River and Mississippi River. As you can see by the pictures it was NARROW! However, we made it and were thankful there wasn't a semi that had to meet us in the middle.
Being a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, Luann had to stop to see her homestead n Mansfield, MO. It was a bucket list item for her. Bryan thought it was interesting and now has much Little House on the Prairie knowledge 🙂
Once in Branson, we planted for a month. It was less expensive to stay a month and we had things to do (begin working remotely) and acclimate to not being ‘home' anymore. We stayed at America's Best Campground. This place had a decent monthly rate and was nice. Our site was a little tight but nice. They will let you received packages and mail to their office. That is always a perk when you are full-time and need to have your mail shipped to you once in a while.
We did do some fun things in Branson. We are not ‘show' people so we didn't do any of that. We did the nature type things. We did a duck tour that took us through Table Rock State Park and to see Table Rock Dam and learn it's history. We went to College of the Ozarks which we highly recommend! This college is called Hard Work U because all the students work for their education and come out of college with their degrees and NO DEBT! What a concept! We toured the on-campus museum, saw the Beverly Hillbillies truck and explored the students' enterprises such as the jam and jelly kitchen, the tractor.
While in Branson, we did two-day trips. One was to Eureka Springs, AR. A cute quaint town with lots of charm. We ended up not getting there until later in the day so we couldn't see as much as we wanted but have marked this place as a must do again trip. The town was so interesting and had lots to check out. Bryan even found a place that had the best fried chicken! It was called Ozark Fried Chicken & Fish. Very good and very nice owner! We went to a couple natural springs and drove out to Christ of the Ozarks and had a selfie with Jesus! You should check this place out if you get near it.
The other day trip was really what I call a bike overnight. We have e-bikes and love to ride! We want to do more challenging and longer trips so we started with a greenway trail in northwest Arkansas call the Razorback Regional Greenway. It was a fantastic bike trail that went 36 miles almost entirely off road from Bella Vista, AR to Fayetteville, AR. We began our ride in Bella Vista, AR and ask permission to park at the Walgreens and leave our truck there overnight. All the parks along the trail did not allow overnight parking so we had to park somewhere close to the trail and ride from there to get on the trail. Along the trail is the famous Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This is a must-see. First, it's beautiful, even if you aren't an art lover, it's worth the time to see it. Second, it's FREE! We stopped on the trail to see the museum, ate a snack did a tour and hopped back on our bikes to finish our day. We saw so many beautiful things along the trail. We ended up in Fayetteville, AR and stayed at a Courtyard Marriott. We had packed our panniers with our overnight stuff. We wheeled our bikes right into the room for the night. The next day we rode back to our truck and drove back to our RV in Branson. Our very first successful bike overnight! We are pretty proud and feel very accomplished. We would definitely do this again! This trail is beautiful and a very nice ride.