Once we moved the bus to Marni and Eric’s parking area by the lower garden we continued to ride bikes, visit friends and eat lots of delicious fresh homegrown food. Asparagus is plentiful and the irises and peonies continued in full luxurious bloom. They had a couple of impromptu dinner parties which are always filled with great food, friends, music, wine and laughter.
Marni had some folks out to see the irises and she gifted a lot of them to friends. This girl from the Missouri Department of Agriculture got several specimens. And Ron and Irene enjoyed the blooms too.
We rode to McBaine one day and visited with our old friends Joe and Kathy. They live right up the hill from the trail and we had a nice visit. We always go see them; Joe doesn’t really like to leave home. But we got them to agree that next year they would meet us at Cooper’s Landing, just 5 miles down the trail from them. This is real progress! Ha!
One day I rode to Hartsburg. The cafe was closed but I sat on the porch awhile and rode around town.
On the way there I passed this girl and her dog and they were taking a break on the way back. Her sign said “Hungry. Anything helps.” I gave her ten bucks and she slipped it in her pocket without thanking me. As I rode off I said “You’re welcome.”
The next day I decided to ride to Rocheport, about 18 miles each way. Jim came partway but turned around at Huntsdale. He was still dealing with an ear infection and trying to take it easy. By this time the mostly purple wildflowers on the trail had faded and these brilliant yellow flowers lined every ditch and field.
We ran into these folks at McBaine and they were on their first outing on their electric assist bikes. I met them on the way back too and they must have had the assist on HIGH because they were flying! I was a little pooped after 35 miles, riding with no assist. Turned over 3900 miles on my bike that day.
I spotted this goose about 50 feet up on the bluff. He was talking alot!
The next day it rained all day so I was glad I rode when I did. After being in Texas all winter with very little rain and lots of wind, it was nice to hear and experience the rain. And the gardens loved it.
More iPad art:
It rained that whole night and we had planned to take off in the morning. I mentioned to Jim that we could just stay another day but it’s a good thing we didn’t. More rain was forecast and when we were packing it up, Jim noticed that the left rear drive axle was kinda sunk into the mud. We were only about 20 feet from the driveway and figured we could get enough OOMPH to make it there.
Black smoke billowed out from the tires, our new and very expensive tires. Jim tried using the levelers to raise up the bus and we put plywood and the pads under the tires but still no go.
Eric said they had a friend with a tractor that could pull us out so we called him. He said he would be along in an hour or so. In the meantime Jim tried to figure out where on the frame to hook a chain so as to not damage or bend the frame. He also called Howard, his bus guru. We have Coachnet, a roadside assist service and I thought maybe we should call them. So did Howard apparently. He said they would be responsible for any damage whereas the tractor guy was just doing us a favor.
We called off the tractor and a tow truck showed up soon. Jim and the driver consulted on where to put the chain and they agreed it was best to winch it out. His truck had a giant winch. Fortunately we weren’t buried too deep and he slowly pulled the bus onto the driveway. It took about 15 minutes tops. And cost us nothing except what we tipped the driver. Coachnet is awesome; this is our second time using them in five years and the experience is always good.
As soon as we got that settled, we tried to deal with the giant ruts we had left in their lot.
Marni, who is very particular about her place, wouldn’t hear of it. She said they would just drive the truck over them to smooth things out. She said, “Go, just go.” She probably wanted us out of there before we could do any more damage! Jim felt terrible leaving it that way but they insisted. When we arrived in Kansas City later that night I texted her and she said it had been raining for two hours with no sign of stopping. Good thing we got out when we did. She also said the rain was melting away the ruts. Right!
After boondocking for two and a half weeks, we still had 40% of our black tank available, thanks to the outdoor shower and our grey water disposal method (out the window). We added water to the fresh tank while we were there. They sent us off with a giant bag of fresh asparagus which we have been enjoying, along with special memories of the wonderful times we shared.
I think Jim put it best in an email to them, with gratitude “for your generosity, your hospitality, your friendship and love. We chose to adopt this lifestyle primarily because we had dear friends scattered across the country and this was a way to reconnect and enjoy more than just an occasional phone call. However, we never dreamed that we would reconnect with both you and Marni! Such serendipity! I owe Pete a debt of gratitude for thinking of us and inviting us to your party back in 2012. I never imagined that, but that is what we love about having our hearts wide open to the possibilities. When I said that yours is our favorite spot to park, I meant exactly that, so Thank you again. We try to live each day with gratitude in our hearts. Some days are easier than others, but our days with you are easy. Sitting on our patio mat talking and laughing with you two is rich beyond words. I never imagined it. So it is so much sweeter. Thanks for being part of the family we choose for ourselves!”
Such dear friends. We love these guys and know we are so very lucky. Marni hates pictures so here is one from their fridge, a few years ago… And Eric now…