Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

The plan was to take 4 leisurely days to make the 3 day drive from Colorado to Tennessee, parking for free along the way. Stopped at the Super Walmart in Great Bend, KS after a full day of driving in nearly 100° weather. Went inside to let Customer Service know my plans and pick up a few groceries, and the Customer Service Rep couldn’t have been nicer. “You don’t have to park by the truckers” she said “There’s a grassy, quieter area over on the east side” and pointed. Sure enough, I had the east parking lot to myself, surrounded by shade trees, and slept like a baby.

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The next night was spent in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Springville, MO. When I went inside for dinner (pot roast with mashed potatoes, corn, green beans & sweet tea. Yum!) I asked the young host if it was ok to park overnight. “I don’t know but I don’t see why not!” he replied, so I told him that Cracker Barrel was known for hosting RV’s overnight. It was a busy night, but quieted down by 10 pm and I had the parking lot to myself.

Planning to drive all day again, I was surprised to pass several horse drawn wagons loaded with round bales of hay or produce, with Amish men or couples at the reins. Nearing Mansfield, MO, signs beckoned for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum. I impulsively took the exit, found the museum, and saw a sign for the RV Park directly across the street.

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The live-in hosts couldn’t have been nicer, and personified the word I picked that described my whole experience in Mansfield as “benevolent”. Christy has 4 boys, all of whom had parts in the play “Laura’s Memories” that evening, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This bowl of fruit for guests was a welcome sight, and I helped myself to a clementine.

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After a month traveling the Colorado Rocky’s, it was wonderful to get back to gently rolling hills, deciduous trees, and abundant fruit orchards. This photo of my site shows the beauty of the surroundings as well the roof of the new Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, which is under construction. I spent a wonderful day at the current museum, bookstore, two Wilder residences, gravesites, then drove into town for the local play that evening.

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My site was a full hookup with Wi-Fi and 4 bars of Verizon service for $30. It is a smaller RV park and most of the sites were shaded. In addition to this gazebo and bridge over the pond (a young boy was fishing off the bridge earlier, but I didn’t have my camera ready), there are hiking trails, a playground, and a cave to explore. It was one of the prettiest and most peaceful places where I’ve overnighted, and I’m glad I made the decision to spend a day in Mansfield.

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