Monday, August 14, 2017

Trip Wrap-up, Red Skelton and an LST

Location: New Vision RV Park; Oaktown, Indiana
Location: Boomland RV Park; Charleston, Missouri
Location: Willow Beach Campground (COE); Little Rock, Arkansas

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone
click pictures to enlarge

This is the complete route.
I've been to three campgrounds since the last post, so I guess it is another catch-up post. I'll be home tomorrow so this post will be used to not only get caught up but will also be a wrap-up of this trip. 

I left the FROG rally on Thursday which was two days early. I saw no reason in staying longer since they had completed the work on Liberty and I received the free tank pump-out on Wednesday morning. I was looking to go to Evansville, Indiana to see a Navy ship that has been on my "to-see" list for a while. Strangely, the closest RV park with a decent rate and good reviews was about 50 miles away from Evansville. But the name of the park was "New Vision RV Park" and with a name like that I just had to give it a try. The reviews were good and since it was a Passport America campground, the price was right too at $16.00 a night. 
Campsite at New Visions RV Park. It was a nice park.

The ship I wanted to see was the only operational World War II LST in the continental U.S. For those that have read this blog in the past, you know I visited another LST in Muskegon, Michigan a couple of years ago. Here is the link to that post >>>

I won't re-hash everything from that post because a lot of it would apply to the LST in Evansville. It is still amazing that 1,000 LST's were built in only three years. That was averaging one per day. That kind of manufacturing capacity is one of the reason we won the war. 
Looking aft towards the superstructure.

Berthing compartment with "racks" 4 high

Looking down the length of the tank deck. There would have been 20 Sherman Tanks lined up in here ready to hit the beach on D-Day

Only the U.S. was capable of producing so much in such a short time period.

On the LST in Muskegon, there is a picture of a letter that was written to "all veterans" by a little French girl. It was so insightful and thought provoking that it has stuck with me over the last two year. I'm posting the words here, but the picture is on the post that I linked in the previous paragraph.

Dear Veteran,
I'm writing to say "Thank You", and, through me, 
there are thousands of children speaking
to thousands of Veterans.

Like us, you were young and carefree, but, 
when you were only twenty years old, 
Liberty called - called you, to say;

"I'm dying. Come and save me !"

And you arose, 
full of courage and zeal, 
to answer that call.

You underwent training,
day after day, for "D" Day, 
and one day in June, 
you arrived by air and sea.

And you fought with the heart and soul of a free man,
so that we, too, might be free.

You saw your fellows fall on our 
beaches and in our fields
and, in spite of your grief and your 
injuries, you stayed on and fought
side-by-side with us.

And so, dear Veteran,

I want to tell you,
regarding those dear to you who sacrificed
their youth and are now resting in peace,
the sleep of the just, that

We Are The Children They Never Had.

And to you, dear Veteran,
who offered your bravery
and your most promising years
for this our land, I say to you,

We Are Your Sons, Sons and Daughters of Liberty,
who want to say to you today,
a heartfelt, "Merci !".


From the mouths of babes,,,,, Her overall letter really stuck with me since reading them two years ago, but a couple lines were extra special to me. One is "fought with the heart and soul of a free man" and the other is "we are the children they never had". 

I'm afraid the current generation and possibly the last, has forgotten what happened during World War II. I suspect the current history books used in school probably glosses over this time period. 

Enough of this, maybe I'll pick it up again in a future post.
On the way back to the campground from the LST, I saw a sign for the Red Skelton Museum of Comedy. 

Apparently, Vincennes, Indiana was his hometown.

He was one of my favorite comedians when I was a child. His TV show ran for 20 years. Once, when asked why he signed off his show with a "may God bless" instead of the usual "God bless you", he replied,,,, "Who am I to tell God what to do". Nice, very nice. It was a great accidental find.

I left New Visions after two nights and went to a campground I've stayed at before. It is Boomland and the campground is an excellent overnight stop. It is $12.00, cash money, for full hook-ups, including 50 amp power. I picked a campsite but had to move to another due to bad electricity. I usually hook up to the electricity early in my set-up procedure so my Surge Guard can check out the quality of the power while I'm doing some of the other things. My surge guard told me there was very low voltage on one of the 50 amp legs so I moved to another site which showed good power. This is about the 3rd or 4th time my Surge Guard has protected me from bad power. This does not include the power surges it protects against when the power clicks off and on.
I passed these in Indiana. They are old school buses being used to haul ripe watermelons out of the fields. Someone was thinking out of the box.

Campsite at Boomland. Not bad for $12.

After one night at Boomland, I moved to a nice little Corps of Engineer campground along the Arkansas river near Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a small campground and if only about 10% filled. I'm guessing the bad weather that has been blowing through here over the last few days may have scared some folks away. Liberty has handled the weather well. I'm parked under a pecan tree so I'll have to check her roof to see if some of the pecans that has been landing on her has done any damage. I won't go into how many times the word pecan is mis-pronounced.

Campsite at Willow Beach Campground. That is the pecan tree that is dropping pecans on Liberty when the wind picks up. It's been a rainy two day here so I've just hung around the campground except when I went to town to gas up and found a Chinese buffet that was excellent. One of the best I've had. 

Tomorrow is moving day and after about 280 miles, I'll be back in Mansfield. I'll probably be stationary for several months since Brandon will shortly be placed on the Pancreas/Kidney Transplant waiting list. Once the waiting starts, a patient must be at the hospital very quickly after receiving the call of an available organ. I'll post more about that transplant process in the future. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 


  1. The right info at the right time. While researching travel routes today I realized I needed to know a good campsite near Little Rock Ark. And there it is thanks to my friend Darrell.
    I wish Brandon all the luck he needs and please be safe.

    1. It's a good campground Barney. Water/Electric for $19.00/night or $9.50 with the Senior Pass. Try to avoid I-440 due to heavy construction with very tight lane width restrictions. Concrete barriers on each side with an 10 foot lane. I'm going about 10 miles out of my way tomorrow to avoid it. Be safe, have fun.

  2. Darrell that little girls poem brought tears to my eyes.

    1. Hello Tom. It affected me too. Especially when I read it the first time while on the LST in Muskegon. I've searched for it on the internet and can't find it. Be safe out there,,,, watch out for those working cowboys, don't get in their way. lol

  3. Glad you had a safe trip Darrell. I look forward to your next trip and best of luck to Brandon on his surgery.

    1. Thanks John, I hope you're still enjoying your trip plannings.

  4. Hello Darrell
    I enjoy your blog, Sorry we missed you would have liked to have meet while in our area. I have lived all my life in southern Indiana (except for the Navy) and not went to the LST or Red Skelton museum. The History of how they were made in Evansville is interesting and if this way again the Historic sites in Vincennes and New Harmony are worth your time. I don't know when or if we will be travelling again (Mom fell) but as we both knowm we take care of Family first. Hope all goes well for your son.

    1. Hello Steven, Sorry to hear about the fall. I was only in southern Indiana for two days. Next time through that area, I will know to spend at least a week.

  5. Thank you for sharing that poem. Very touching. I loved Red Skelton. Even today the thought of Gertrude and Heathcliff can bring a smile. Best wishes to Brandon.......may the call come soon and all go well.

    1. Thanks Barb. I liked the seagulls too, but Freddie the Freeloader was my favorite. I recall a Christmas special with him, but I haven't seen it a while. Be safe in ya'll's travels. Have fun.

  6. Our best wishes and prayers for Brandon and you all for a quick and successful match. Love to you all. Keep us informed as this and fb is how those who left keep up with those left there