Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We have a name

Thanks to suggestions from Betty and Chicagolady, our Casita now has a name.  I had been toying with the idea of holding a Casita naming contest, but that turns out to not be necessary.

Betty suggested Cassie or Marshmallow and I loved both names.  Then Chicagolady suggested Tubby.  Be still my heart.  We have a Tubby!

Thank you Betty and Chicagolady.  You are the best!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Maiden Voyage

We chose to stay relatively close to home for our first outing with our Casita.  Our son, Greg, and his family, often camp with friends at Arrow Rock State Park, and were gracious enough to let us crash their party.

Arrow rock has been a favorite day destination for us for many years.  This year the trip was about the campground experience, rather than the charming little town.  For those who are interested, though, I stole this information from the town's official web site. 

For generations, the Arrow Rock bluff was a significant landmark on the Missouri River for Native Americans, explorers, and early westward travelers. This flint-bearing, high limestone bluff first appeared on a 1732 French map as “pierre a fleche,” literally translated as “rock of arrows.” Archaeological evidence shows that for nearly 12,000 years indigenous cultures used the Arrow Rock bluff as a manufacturing site for flint tools and weapons.
Following the War of 1812 and the subsequent peace treaties with Indians in 1815, large numbers of immigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia began pouring into the fertile “Boone's Lick Country,” so named for the salt spring or “lick” across the river.
In the 1820s, the earliest travelers on what became the Santa Fe Trail crossed the river on the Arrow Rock ferry and filled their water barrels with fresh water at “the Big Spring” before heading west. In 1829, the town of Arrow Rock was founded on the bluff above the ferry crossing. Originally named Philadelphia, the town's name was changed in 1833 to coincide with the better-known landmark name, Arrow Rock.
Many citizens prominent in state and national affairs were closely associated with Arrow Rock including Dr. John Sappington of quinine fame and George Caleb Bingham, Missouri's preeminent artist of the mid-1800s. Three 19th century Missouri governors also came from Arrow Rock.
When the Civil War began, Arrow Rock had reached its peak population of 1,000. The region had a decidedly southern character evidenced in its culture, politics and architecture. One-third of Saline County's population was enslaved African Americans. The Civil War precipitated an economic decline from which Arrow Rock never fully recovered. Steamboats and river commerce gave way to railroads that bypassed the town. Two fires devastated the business district, and the population dwindled to 400 by 1910. Today, 45 full-time and 33 part-time residents call Arrow Rock home.
While the village is small, don't be fooled by its size. Arrow Rock remains a vital community. The restoration of the Huston Tavern in 1923 marked the beginning of historic preservation in the state of Missouri and set the stage for Arrow Rock's future. In 1963, the entire town was designated a National Historic Landmark because of its association with the Westward Expansion. In 1968, the home of artist George Caleb Bingham was listed separately as a National Historic Landmark. Arrow Rock is also a certified site on the Lewis & Clark and Santa Fe Trails.
The campground was relatively full and we were definitely a small fish in a big pond. 

Is it my imagination, or is the truck longer than the Casita?  Can you see the blue lights around the belly band of the camper?  Cute, huh.

I think our granddaughter, Anna, said it best.  She said she "just looks for the upside down bathtub".
It is amazing the amount of attention our little guy generates.   People are just fascinated by its size.

For comparison sake, here is Greg and Alicia's RV.  Now this is an RV!  They camp a lot with 2 kids in tow.  It is their home away from home.

Greg and Alicia, Tessa and Bill, and their families showed up to roast hot dogs and marshmallows.  Yes, Arrow Rock is close enough that Tessa and their families could show up for an evening of fun and then head right back home.

Solving the world's problems.
We had so much fun our first time out with our little Casita.  We need to come up with a name for her.  Thank you Greg and Alicia for including us with your friends and for showing us the ropes of camping luxury style!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New Toy

Jim says he misses my blog.  All together now, "Awwww that's sweet".  It IS sweet!  When he said that, it made me realize that I miss my blog.  It is time to get back into the blogosphere.  

We bought a new toy since the last time I posted.  My friend Patti at Osage Bluff Quilter and her husband, BT, bought a Casita RV a year or two ago.  We checked it out and thought it was pretty cool.  It is compact and lightweight, making it easy to pull, but still has the comforts we want (toilet/shower, kitchenette/table, bed, and AC/Heat)  Ever since, we've cussed and discussed getting a Casita like theirs.  Conversations took place like "We've been wanting to tour the national park sites - what better way to do it" or "Greg and Alicia have an RV - this would let us do a little camping with them without intruding on their space" or "If we had an RV we could easily take the Demon Dog with us".  The conversations were endless until finally Jim became obsessed with finding us a used Casita.  That task should be easy enough, right?  Wrong!  Every time he found one that fit the bill of what we wanted he'd call, only to find out it had already been snatched up.  He finally spotted one in Indiana.  And it was still available!  We talked to the guy and found that he made a hobby/business in his retirement of buying Casita's, adding his own twist to them, and selling them.  We decided it was worth a jaunt to Indiana to check it out.

This Casita (I think it is a 2009) was originally owned by two ladies who bought it so they could tour Canada.  After several months on the road they returned home only to have one of them take ill and die.  It sat in a hay barn for a couple of years before our buddy Roy (we now fondly call him Roy Boy) brokered it for the lady.  

Thanks to road work and horrendous traffic in East St. Louis, Illinois, we arrived at Roy's much later than we had anticipated.  Since we were pretty certain we were going to buy this little gem, we had even scoped out camp grounds close by so that we didn't have to go far before it got dark.  Roy had that all figured out, though.  After he had showed off his pride and joy and convinced us it should be ours, we told him we needed to get going.  He would have none of that.  He already had us hooked into his electricity so we could spend the night in his back yard.  Now that was unexpected!

Roy was a character.  Some of his gems (selling points?) was that the bathroom was haunted.  Every time he went in there he saw an old man looking at him.  The next morning he asked me if I had spotted the old man during the night.  I told him no, there was an old woman haunting the place now....

He had installed "mood lighting" through the tubes that run around the inside perimeter of the Casita.  He was most proud of these lights.  They are white tube lights strung through the tubes and connected to a dimmer switch.  Roy was adamant that we couldn't check those lights out until he was gone because, "He couldn't be held responsible for what might happen when those "mood lights" came on.  (I'll never tell...)

The selling point for me was the mattress.  My one fear of RV life was having to sleep on back breaking foam mattresses.  When I expressed that concern, Roy conveniently remembered he had a high end custom made for a Casita mattress in his basement.  According to Roy it was valued at $800.  When I saw it, I knew this would make all the difference in the world.  Once we talked Roy into throwing the mattress into the mix, we had a deal.  When we got home the next day there was an email from Roy saying he needed a picture of the two of us for the FBI most wanted list for stealing his mattress.  What a riot.  We have since discovered by going through the paperwork he left with us that the mattress did indeed cost between $800 and $900 when it was bought by the original lady owners.  Yep, Roy Boy had removed the mattress and then put it back in as a bargaining chip.  

We have also discovered that Whiskey is an excellent traveling companion.  

Up next is our trip to Arrow Rock State Park.