The 2018 “Where’s Waldo” Summer Tour (Part I)

Our KARE (KremersAmericanRvExpedition) is now into it’s 6th year.  We don’t travel quite as extensively as we did in the first few years and now just travel 3-4 months through the summer and spend the rest of the year in Ft. Myers Beach, FL.  Our 2018 “Where’s Waldo” tour this summer took us many miles through many states.  This is Part I of our 2018 summer travels.  Our furthest destination would be to our niece Abby’s wedding in August.  We left our “Winter Home” at Gulf Waters RV Resort in Ft. Myers Beach, FL June 1st and headed north . . . Bye, Bye GW . . . see you in September.

Our first stop (as usual) was Wildwood/Inverness FL where we stayed a week and visited friends Trevor, Step, Nate and Karissa for our annual dinner at Applebee’s.

From there we made a few overnights in Cottondale, FL, Montgomery, AL and then stayed a week in Jackson, MS.  Didn’t do a lot in Jackson . . . Lisa worked through the week and I would do my daily walks.  We stayed at a campground on the Ross R Barnett Reservoir.

If you look close at the above pic you can see another brown sign in the background . . . . It gave cause for concern but I was clever in disguising what was in the “Fish” (for those who don’t know the “Fish” is my can koozie I have had for many, many, many . . . did I mention MANY years).

Here are a few pics from on my walks.

Good thing this sign is there or who knows what may happen . . .

With all the signs at this park I guess they want to make sure you know the rules . . . “Danger Shallow Water” . . . and yes . . . those are Vultures to make sure you are paying attention 🙂

When the week was over we were off to another destination . . . Arkansas  with an overnight in Minden, LA.  After the days drive I wasn’t really up for cooking so we found a little place we could walk to for dinner.

Don’t remember what we ordered but I know for sure Lisa didn’t have crawfish 🙂

Next morning we were off again to our Arkansas destination . . . Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR.  We have been here before . . . actually this was our third visit here in the last three years . . . guess it’s an annual thing.  We had no luck finding “A Girl’s Best Friend” the last two times but maybe this year we’d find the Big Diamond!!

We were here for a week.  We searched through the fields and along the water run off ditches for the elusive sparkly gems.

We knew they were there . . .  at least 1-2 are found daily.  Maybe not the size we would all like to find but at least they are diamonds.  We know large diamonds are found here . . . they put up markers through out the fields where the largest have been found.  Just this past September a 71 year old woman found a 2.63-carat white diamond . . . Wonder if she’ll get her sign 🙂 ?

Our time at Crater of Diamonds was about mid-June . . . temps in the upper 80s and 90s.  Thank goodness for a few days with some cloud cover.  They say the best time to surface search for diamonds is right after a rain.  Well, we were fortunate to have an overnight rain and we got to wear our boots (which we had bought the year before but never used).  After spending the whole week searching we again came up empty-handed . . . even after the night rain.  So now we have spent a total of over three weeks in the  last three years with no luck . . . Yet!  Maybe next time.

On to the next stop of the 2018 “Where’s Waldo” Tour . . . Branson, MO.  We were to stay for three weeks here through the 4th of July holiday biding our time as to reach Abby’s wedding on time .  We found a nice campground right on the shores of Lake Taneycomo called City of Branson Lakeside RV Park  just walking distance from Branson Landing  .

Through our three week stay here we walked to Branson Landing on the weekends and many evenings for lunch/dinner and drinks and just wandering around.  A very fun place to explore day and night.

Branson Landing features a scenic boardwalk along the 1.5-mile Taneycomo Lakefront.  At the heart of the Landing is a  town square terracing down to the  water attraction that features Branson Landing Fountains. The feature consists of water fountains shooting 120-foot geysers and fire cannons blasting, all choreographed to light and music.

The fountains are very spectacular at night.

On the weekends there are live bands that perform in front of the fountains.

We were there for the 4th of July fireworks which was pretty cool.

 

We found a place we visited quite often called Waxy O’ Shea’s Irish Pub.  The food was very good and . . . wouldn’t you know it  . . . they had Karaoke one night a week with DJ Pay.

One afternoon we took a ride on the Ride the Ducks boat.  There are two locations in Branson for Ride the Ducks.  The main operation located to the west of town takes passengers through the part of Branson where all the attractions are and then on to Table Rock Lake (that’s where the terrible accident was this summer).  The second location is from Branson Landing where we went.

Our tour took us through old historic Branson and then over the bridge of Lake Taneycomo to Hollister where the College of the Ozarks is.  The College of the Ozarks is a pretty cool school.  The college charges no tuition for full-time students due to its student work program and donations. The program requires students to work 15 hours a week at an on-campus work station and two 40-hour work weeks during breaks.  A summer work program is available to cover room and board costs.  The college refers to itself as “Hard Work U.”

After a drive through the campus we headed back towards the Landing for our “ride in the water”.  Everyone braced themselves for the down the bank plunge into the water.

The scenery along the lake was pretty cool.

The Lake Queen Riverboat passed us with a personal speedboat on it’s wake and the passengers shooting water cannons at it.

There is a Zip-Line that crosses over the lake to the landing.  Happened to be going right under it as someone was “zipping” by.

We had a fun time on the Duck Boat and thankfully a safe one.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s day was as fun as ours.  While riding the Duck Boat back from Hollister coming over the Lake Taneycomo bridge we saw an RV on fire right where we were headed.

Our campground was just across the other side of the bridge and that is where this RV was headed until he saw the smoke coming out the back of his RV.  Thankfully he pulled into the parking lot across from us.  Here’s a picture of it after the fire was put out . . . pretty much a total loss . . . and thankfully no one was hurt.

Of course I was doing my “Walks” during the weekdays.  Would walk all along the Landings boardwalk and through a park at far end.  Saw some interesting ducks, birds and trees along the way.   Here is a duck I had never seen before . . . a “Manky Mallard”.

Here is a Scissor Tail Flycatcher . . .

And a pair of “Butt Geese” 🙂

Here is a cool tree I came across . . . a Pink Mimosa tree.

Well after tree weeks in Branson it was time to move on.  Next stop would still be in Missouri . . . Sunrise Beach, MO.  A good friend and one of our Gulf Waters family Larry-Bob (Doc) lives here and we were looking forward to a visit with him in his Lake of the Ozarks home turf.

We stayed at Deer Valley Campground  which is part of the infamous Franky & Louie’s Bar & Grill at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Franky & Louie’s has a great Bar & Grill with great food.  There is also a nice beach and marina.

We met up with Larry-Bob our first evening for beer and cocktails and a bite to eat . . . Not a very flattering picture of any of us (must be the beer and cocktails 🙂 ).

Doc’s (Larry-Bob) house is just a “stone throw” away from Franky & Louie’s on the shore of Lynch Hollow Cove.  Being he is a winter resident with us at Gulf Waters in Ft. Myers Beach this is a great place to spend the summers.

Here are a couple of other pictures looking out over Lynch Hollow Cove.

Franky & Louie’s has DJs  through the week and live music on the weekends which draws quite the crowd.

We had planned to go out boating one day on Doc’s pontoon boat so Lisa took off a day from work . . . but unfortunately it turned out to be raining that day.  But, the day wasn’t a total washout.  Doc took us to one of his favorite places for lunch . . . Chances R Restaurant & Lounge.  I think Lisa had Mexican and Doc and I each had Hot Roast Beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy . . . YUM!!!

Did I mention that Franky & Louie’s had a Karaoke night??  Well, they do and guess where we were that evening . . . front and center(well not quite but close enough 🙂 ).

Well, after our week stay here in the Lake of the Ozarks we bid Doc adieu and prepped for departure in the morning.

Next stop . . . still in Missouri would be Kansas City where we have stayed a few times before.  Here we would spend a week still biding time to make the wedding on schedule.  The day we arrived here we found out that it was the birthday of one of our friends that lived nearby . . . Tammy.  They were having a birthday party at a local entertainment center so we decided to show up and surprise her.  It was definitely a surprise for her.  It was fun seeing Tammy and Marco and their two sons Zachery and Nicholas.

We were staying at an RV park that was part of “Worlds of Fun” Amusement Park . . . Worlds of Fun Village.  A very nice campground with very nice sites.  This picture was from a couple of years ago when Tammy and Marco came to visit us there.

Well, we didn’t do too much other stuff while we were here.  We had been to the amusement park a couple of times and to downtown KC and visited such places as the National World War 1 Museum, Union Station building and other interesting places in previous visits so not much else to show for Kansas City.

We’ll take a break from the “Summer Tour” here so this concludes The 2018 “Where’s Waldo” Summer Tour (Part I).  Check out The 2018 “Where’s Waldo” Summer Tour (Part II) to follow us through the rest of our summer travels.