Have you ever been to Almost Kansas? We have! What a trip that was. Let me just tell you all about it. It started off with a phone call from Shorty.
See she was in her First year of College at the Kansas University (Rock Chalk) and due to her job she wasn’t going to be able to come home for Thanksgiving, so after a “Daddy PEASSSE” to pop it was set. We would take our camper to Lawerence KS and cook her a Real Thanksgiving Dinner.
Plans were made, that we would leave town on Thanksgiving Day as soon as Pop got off work. That gave us time to have Thanksgiving with the rest of our families earlier that day. I made reservations at the Jellystone Campground right outside of Lawerence. Jays Mom (Bamma, Mary Kay), the Oldest, the Blond, Joey and I were all going.
Mary Kay has made Deviled Eggs (her’s were the best), Chicken has been picked, broth skimmed, and dumplings mix is premeasured so all we have to do is roll them and cook. I have had the turkey basting for 3 days, it is ready to deep fry, pumpkins pies are baked, coolers are packed we are ready to have a traveling Thanksgiving meal.
So with the Truck completely loaded, camper packed, food partially done we set off for Kansas at around 5:30 pm on Thanksgiving day. Everybody was in great spirits the girls are singing in the back seat. They even created a girl band name “Kristin’s Slaves”. Pop and I are laughing at them and singing along and well my Mother-In-Law thought we were all nuts.
And it Begins
Things were off to a great start when all of the sudden it hits me just as we are getting ready to cross the Missouri state line. I have forgotten the Turkey. Panic sets in for two reasons: One where the heck am I gonna get a Turkey while traveling the Interstate, and TWO (biggest reason) what is my kitchen gonna smell like when we get home 4 days from now. I am stressed when Jay says has Debbie (Oldest Sister who lives in St. Louis) left your Moms yet or is she staying the night? Praise the Lord she hadn’t left and she was not spending the night.
We decide to wait on her. We stop at a Truck Stop with a Dennys attached to it and have Thanksgiving Dinner.
Not the greatest but it could have been so much worse. We fill up with Gas, Food, and Coffee to go as we have a 6-hour trip ahead of us still. Debbie arrives with the Turkey the
day night is saved. After a two hour delay we are “On the Road Again” and yes we sang it as loud as we could. Travel with three teenage/early twenty daughters you will understand this. I just wish I could tell you this was the only issue on this trip but I can’t.
Low Far can you Go?
Now I don’t know how often you take I-70 across Missouri, but if you have you know it is a beautiful drive of the same scenery over and over, and over again with no real towns along the way but Columbia. So when driving at night it can get long and boring. Now, remember we have the singing Rockettes in the back seat so not totally board yet.
We get to Columbia with no issues everybody is still acting silly although a little slap-happy at this point. We have played radio roulette, name that song, had our very own Car Kareokee (we were doing it long before it was a thing). When about 30 minutes past Columbia we start slowing down. At first, I thought maybe Pop was tired then I can tell something is wrong. Gets to the point where we are traveling about 25 – 30 miles an hour on the interstate. The girls start to notice the problem and get real quiet. If you have ever had car trouble on a trip you understand why. Nerves tend to get a little tense.
We limp along to find a truck stop Pop gets some fuel treatment for the truck, checks everything he knows to check and we are on the road again. However not with much luck the Truck just won’t go much over 25 miles an hour and hills forget it. We had to pull off on the shoulder to make it up them. Yes, Missouri is nothing but hills.
Red Solo Cup
All of the sudden Pop starts belting out “Red Solo Cup, you fill me up” as loud as he can. If only I had a camera for the girl’s faces at that moment. We all just started laughing. What else could we do? If you have never heard it listen here!
So at the next exit that looks like there is something close to the Interstate Pop says we will take this exit let the truck cool down and see if we can get it fixed in the AM. So we decide on Ext 52 Higginsville, MO. As we are taking the exit we see one hotel. Yep, it looks like it was the Bates Hotel and no my kids are not sleeping there. We pull into the Truck Stop go in tell the workers what is going on and she tells us don’t tell anybody but go to the back of the lot park and get some sleep.
We call shorty and she says I will just come to you (yes she was a little homesick). She meets us for Thanksgiving at little before midnight at a truck stop parking lot in Higginsville, Mo. Not what the plans were but all of our girls are together and Life is good.
Well, it was until about 3:30 am our batteries die. We now have no heat, and it is cold. Can this trip get any worse?
And it continues
Day two now Friday morning, we wake up very cold and it is so windy. The girls and I go to truck stop for yet another meal in a truck stop and lots of coffee. Pop heads to town and finds an Auto Zone gets the tools he thinks he needs to fix it ($400.00) later still not fixed. I do have to say thank you to all the Truck Drivers who offered advice or help. Somehow we determine that we have gotten bad gas along the way. Not something you can fix in a parking lot. Or at home very cheaply ($1,800).
Our next adventure of the day is to leave the Camper at the Truckstop and head to Walmart in the said truck for a few more things that the truck drivers suggest might just help. ( side note Higginsville, MO is a really nice cute little town. Just not the normal place to plan a vacation too.)
While we are there discussing what we need with the attendant and if he knows of a place close that we can stay? A very nice man hears our story and says. “Hey, I do! You cross the interstate take the first right and half a mile down the road or so is a really nice little campground!”
Yep, you heard it, we could have spent the night in a really nice little campground, not even a mile from where we had spent the night in the parking lot. You know what that means. We would of had electricity. Who knew. Mind you this is what happens when you are not prepared to break down in the middle of the night.
Nice Little Campground
We hook the camper up and head down the road to nice little campground The Great Escape RV and Camp Resort. At check in, we find out that the owners are some of the nicest people we have ever met. When we tell them our story, they proceed to tell us about the huge Thanksgiving party they had the day before and how they were still up at the time we were pulling into the truck stop. We actually are a little disappointed we missed the party. It was such a nice campground very clean and family friendly. If you are in the area it is a great little campground!
That being said, they offered to let us leave our camper at the back of the campground at no charge until we figured out a way to get it home. We get the camper set up, By this time it is late afternoon. We are all exhausted. Pop is on the phone trying to figure out how to get us all home and the camper come Sunday. The rest of us spend most of the day just laying around sleeping etc. But by late evening the girls are a little bored and it is starting to get a little cold, too cold to sit outside. So about 8:30 we decide to go to Walmart to get a few movies and games to play.
On our way through town, we pass a restaurant with a huge sign out front that says “Gig your own Frogs”. Everyone gets very excited that we are going to go there on Saturday night for dinner. We have never heard of anything like this. It is already closed or we may have stopped right then just to see what it was about. Have you ever heard of anything like that before? We hadn’t!
When we get to Walmart and our
little girls (you will see why I say little in the pictures) had to ride the horses it was Pumba!!!
Which proved the coolest part about this trip so far was, nobody is upset, mad, pouting or even complaining we are all just having fun being together.
We bought Yahtzee, some coloring books (yes they all still love to color).
the movie Rio (I promise they were all 16 and older) it is a really cute Disney Movie.
We made a huge pallet on the floor of the camper and played games and watched movies all night. It was so much fun.
Get your copy of Rio here!
Saturday aka Thanksgiving meal day!
After breakfast, we clean up and Mary Kay and I start the preparations for our Thanksgiving lunch. Which if you have ever cooked in a camper kitchen with 6 people in the camper that is not an easy task. But we are making the best of it. The girls are laughing and being silly all is good. Then yep you guessed it again another issue.
It is now time for Pop to start deep-frying the Turkey. Now I will be honest I don’t really understand gas lines, orifices etc. All I know is Pop walks in singing Red Solo Cup. (see Video above if you haven’t done that yet!)
Something about the way he is singing makes me look up and he says “So how else can we cook a Turkey today”. At this moment I really just wanted to cry. After he tried to explain it, he asked us to slow lunch down. So we did. He went back outside where it is now pouring down rain with about 30 miles an hour winds. He has built a little shelter to block the wind and rain, still, things are not looking good. But once again somehow our family is still in the best of moods. You really can’t help but laugh at this point.
Campground Host to the rescue Jay goes up to the office to ask where he can find a store to sell the parts he now needs. The host just laughs, walks off and comes back with his own turkey fryer. He does then ask Jay if he is really sure that he wants to light it given our track record so far. At this point, I kinda agree with him. The fryer is lit, the Turkey cooks, the dumplings are done, and the food is set out! We have done it!
Thanksgiving Supper Finally
Finally, we have our family Thanksgiving
Lunch Supper together with our family in Almost Kansas. We have so many memories of that trip. Pop know how has his own set of nice Red Solo Cups.
Every time I watch Rio now with my Grandkids I think of that trip. We laughed so hard, we made the best of it. I think we even wore Bamma Out!
Great Family and Friends came to our rescue and came to Almost Kansas to get us and the camper home. We are blessed.
We even marked a trip off of our Bucket List that we didn’t even know existed. Yes, it was a great trip to nowhere. It just goes to show, as long as you are together and make the best of where ever you are. You can have a great memory and that is what it is all about. Making memories with the ones you love.
The even funnier part of this whole trip is that now the Kids talk all the time about taking their significant others to Almost Kansas with all of us. You know we never got to gig our own Frogs since Thanksgiving lunch turned into supper. Who knows we just might do that again someday soon.