I mentioned the mimosa tree next to our site at Turkey Creek RV Village a few times. Although it’s a beautiful tree, I will never park our coach near one again. Before we pulled out of Hollister, Missouri, I got the ladder out and went up on the roof to clear the debris the tree has been dropping. It was unbelievable how much stuff was on the roof. The back half of the roof is stained from tannins in the debris. I swept the roof and slide toppers. Maybe I can get the coach professionally cleaned, including the roof when we are in Minneapolis.
Donna went for a morning walk while I wrote my post and kept an eye on our new cat, Ozark. She seemed to be well-rested and relaxed and it looks like we’ll have no problem with free feeding. She wasn’t scarfing down her food like it was the last meal she’ll ever find as she did at first. She ate casually and walked away from food in the bowl when her hunger was satisfied.
We had everything buttoned up and I lit the fires on the Cummins ISL diesel engine a little before 11am. Ozark knew something was up. All of the activity prepping for travel, then pulling in the slides made her a little nervous. When the engine and generator fired up, she knew something was about to happen. I don’t know if she ever traveled in a motorized vehicle before.
We headed north out of Branson on US65. Ozark seemed fine with it. The novelty soon wore off though and I think she was feeling a little stressed by all of the new noises, vibrations and the world flying by. Our planned first stop was only about 45 minutes up the road. Donna and I thought having a stop after a short ride was a good idea to introduce Ozark to road travel.
Our first destination was on the north side of the town called Ozark – hey, that’s our cat’s name! We were headed to Lambert’s Cafe on the recommendation of Donna’s dad, Duke Connor.
Lambert’s Cafe is a southern icon. It’s a touristy-type family restaurant with a fun-filled dining experience. They call themselves the “Home of Throwed Rolls.” Their menu allows you pick an entree and one or two side dishes, depending on the entree chosen. The entree is a large portion! In addition to the entree and side dishes, additional sides called “Pass Arounds” are offered by servers walking through the restaurant. For example, while we were waiting for our order to arrive, a server stopped at our table and offered us fried okra. No additional charge – the Pass Arounds are part of the meal. Donna ordered the catfish plate with apple sauce and turnip greens. I had the daily special – French dip with cole slaw. While we were eating, another Pass Around was offered – fried potatoes with onions. I went for it. Then the famous throwed rolls came by. A guy with a cart of freshly baked rolls called out for takers. Raise your hand and he tosses a roll to you. He was followed by a girl offering sorghum molasses for the roll. Lambert’s has three locations – the original at Sikeston, Missouri, the one we stopped at near Ozark, Missouri and one in Foley, Alabama, which is the one where Donna’s parents enjoyed a meal years ago.
I’ll have to admit to a couple of moments of uncertainty we had before we entered the cafe. I had looked at the restaurant on Google Earth the night before to determine if they had room to park our RV. After looking, I knew I didn’t want to get trapped behind the restaurant. As I drove by the entrance to the lot, Donna said, “Look, there’s RV parking on the other side of the restaurant.” I drove past the parking lot and made a right turn at the corner. What she saw wasn’t RV parking – it was a small RV park on the other side of the restaurant. It wasn’t a big deal, we made a few turns and carefully maneuvered through the Lambert’s parking lot until we got to the large, open gravel lot on the west side.
Our plan was to feed Ozark before we went in to the restaurant with the hopes that she would eat, then relax and nap as she did the day before. I put food in her bowl, then Donna went up to the restaurant to get us on the waiting list for a table. Just before Donna left, Ozark disappeared! I told Donna to go ahead and I would stay and find the cat before joining her. I couldn’t find the cat.
I went up and found Donna. After we ate, Donna and I got separated as I went to pay the bill and we ended up going to restrooms in opposite ends of the restaurant – this place is large. I walked back to the coach and expected to find Ozark sitting comfortably. No Ozark. I called and clicked my tongue. I thought maybe she got behind the living room slide-out and found a way to weasel through a small opening into the basement. I opened each basement door calling to her. No Ozark. Donna came back and we searched together. I realized that I’ve really become attached to this kitten and was a little worried. My rational side said that she can’t be anywhere outside the coach. She didn’t go out the door and there’s no other way for her to leave. We also discussed the need in the future to always know her whereabouts before we move the slide-outs. The hydraulically actuated slides are very powerful and move smartly along. I hate to think of Ozark trapped, hiding behind a slide when I operate it.
We finally agreed to fire up the engine and move on, hoping that she would come out from wherever she’s hiding. Sure enough, she came out as I hit the highway. We think she found a way to get behind the sofa bed and was probably asleep there the whole time we were looking for her.
The terrain on US65 was a series of steep ravines. We would plunge down a short, steep descent, then immediately climb up a short, steep ridge. We eventually made our way to Clinton on MO13 were the terrain is rolling hills rather than steep cuts. By the time we rolled through Peculiar, Missouri, we were in the plains.
Ozark didn’t really enjoy the ride as we drove to Kansas City. She would look out the window and seem interested at times, but mostly she seemed stressed. We found a Walmart Supercenter and parked near another motorhome – a large tag-axle American Dream. Once I shut down the engine, Ozark went into the bedroom and crashed out beneath the foot of the bed. I think the noise, visual distraction and all of the changes in her life over the past few days had her worn out.
We’re on our way to Des Moines so Donna can make her appointment with Meredith Publishing. Donna and the folks at Meredith will be creating cleaning and organizing videos for Better Homes and Gardens. I probably won’t post on Wednesday since we’ll have little time in the morning before she has to be at their office.