|Our New KZ Sportsman 200|
With our towing capacity at 3500 pounds, we were limited in our choices for the size of camper we required. We both knew that one of us would wind up hurt in less than a 19 foot trailer (probably me). Having separate offices at home, in separate buildings, has made us a bit spoiled in that aspect. In short, what we found out is that until about 2010, most travel trailers 20 feet were over 3500 pounds, but gas prices seemed to have forced the industry to develop more light weight, larger trailers for fuel economy. That meant that everything we found 'used' that we liked was over our limit, while everything used within our limit was too small.
That ultimately led us to the KZ Sportsmen. After looking at several floor plans, what was perfect for our needs was the Sportsmen Classic 200. We never intended to buy a new camper as we are big believers in buying any vehicle used. However, the price on these made it very appealing, especially when many of the used we had looked at were only a couple thousand cheaper. So after many searches and phone calls, we found our's waiting for us in Cape Girardeau at Youngblood's Capetown RV. That's six hours away from Warsaw, but we thought why not make it another adventure and spend some quality time coming home along Missouri Route 66. (This is obviously our first experience at buying a camper, so won't give Youngblood's nor the Sportsmen a complete review other than to say the staff was friendly, they worked with us a little on price, went over everything in the camper, and even let our dogs come in for the paper work signing. No complaints).
Saturday - Towing Our New Mobile Motel Home in Missouri Color
|Missouri in October is very colorful (just outside of Cape Girardeau)|
We stayed in Cape Girardeau at Cape Camping RV Park. Very clean park, nice pull through's to make it easy on me that first night, and level. But this is what Kathy refers to as RV Parking lots. Row after row, close together and NO trees. Close together not really that big of a deal, but the lack of shade and the feeling of being in a parking lot would exclude this place as a long term stay for us. Also, I thought it was odd to have a speed bump coming in the park, which led us to our first indication that we need to secure the cabinets in the camper better.
|Meramac Barn east of Stanton, Missouri|
Continuing west we go through a favorite for 66'ers, Stanton. Close to Meramac Caverns, there are some interesting attractions beyond the cave here, including the Jesse James Museum. If your into 66 history like us, you also want to get a pic of the now closed Antique Toy Museum which attracted many over the years before being closed down in 2009. (More about Stanton HERE)
Sullivan is also nearby, founded in the mid 1850's. With a revitalized historic downtown and it's close proximity to Meramac State Park, it's another great place to relax along your Route 66 journey before continuing west to Bourbon, thought to be the only the only town in the U.S. named after Bourbon Whiskey, an apparent result of Irish immigrants who helped build the railroad. (More on Sullivan and Bourbon HERE)
Wagon Wheel Motel. Starting as the Wagon Wheel Cabins in 1935, this motel is now on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve travelers today. Purchased in 2009 by Connie Echols, the motel has been completely restored and feature some of the most unique original buildings left on the Route today.
Of course we had to stop in at the annual Route 66 Cuba Fest. Traditionally the third weekend in October, this event is a big draw for Mother Road fans, and featured trolley tours and plenty of 66 history and fun. Make plans to attend in 2013 if you can. You can find out more via the Cuba Mural City website and of course the Chamber of Commerce. And be sure to read our story on Cuba (soon to be updated) HERE.
Still getting accustomed to hauling an RV, we decided it best to camp here for a night or two and see the sites without camper in tow. We found a great RV park called the Lady Bug right outside of town. Plenty of trees and a layout that doesn't make you feel your in a parking lot, this stop gets high marks from us. Good internet, full hookups and a great price with friendly owners! Couldn't recommend the Lady Bug RV Park and Campground enough. The only problem, as of this writing, was the fact that Kathy's smartphone didn't get 3 or 4G service here, but the wireless internet provided was plenty adequate during the times of day we needed it most (early morning).
Sunday - Day Tripping down forgotten parts of the Mother Road
|Worlds Largest Rocking|
We started Sunday morning by having breakfast with our 66 friends Jim Hinckley and Rich Henry. Mr. Hinckley is a co-author with Kathy on "Greetings from Route 66", and has written several other books, including "Ghost Towns of Route 66", "Ghost Towns of the Southwest" and others. His latest endeavor just debuted and is sure to be a 66 Best Seller. "The Route 66 Encyclopedia" debuted at Cuba Fest and goes on sale November 1. Be watching Legend's General Store as we make it available soon. Hinckley came into Cuba all the way from Arizona, while Rich Henry came in from Staunton Illinois. Henry runs the fun Route 66 must see attraction "Henry's Rabbit Ranch" and it was great to catch up with both of them along with Jim's wife Judy.
Feeling unencumbered with our RV back at the park, we left breakfast heading west on Old 66 to our first photo stop at the Fanning Route 66 Outpost, home to the Guiness Certified Worlds Largest Rocking Chair, which stands just over 42 feet tall and 20 feet wide. From there it's down the road to Rosati, Little Italy in Central Missouri. This is most definitely wine country and Rosati has an intriguing history dating back to the 1840's. Read more about this historic town HERE.
|John's Modern Cabins|
|1860's Hotel still stands in Arlington|
|Stony Dell Resort|
Ps. After spending quality time in our KZ Sportsmen 200, we both feel very much at home in it. We believe this is going to fit our travel lifestyle well.
|Why did the Turkey Cross the Road? To see where Chicken went.|