One of the benefits of RVing, especially for families, is the kitchen/campfire combination. Besides the convenience of putting together a meal in the middle of nowhere, you’re more likely to eat healthier foods and save money over dining out.

But, no matter how well you eat in that RV, there are some restaurants across the US that are worth the stop, or even the detour and extra driving to get there. Bon appétit!


Lambert’s Café 3 locations: Sikeston, MO; Ozark, MO; Foley, AL

This ‘Mom & Pop’ joint has been serving generous portions of comfort food since 1942 when Earl and Agnes Lambert opened in Sikeston, Missouri. Best known as the ‘Home of Throwed Rolls’, you won’t leave Lambert’s hungry. Everything here is scaled to ‘large’. Drinks arrive in bottomless, XL insulated cups, staff visit your table before and during your meal with ‘pass arounds’ which include fried okra, macaroni & tomatoes, and fried potatoes, and many meals are served in skillets.

And then there are the rolls — fresh from the oven, hot and fluffy, doughy goodness. As the call “Hot rolls!” is heard, heads swivel toward the voice and hands go up in the air. The roll slinger will catch your eye before lofting the soft ball sized roll towards you. It takes a gentle hand to catch but not squish the roll, preserving its fluffy center for a generous helping of butter and honey.


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Before we purchased our motorhome we had a small expandable travel trailer. Like all camping vehicles, it had its own drawbacks and benefits. For us, the drawback was towing it with our truck, which wasn’t the most comfortable vehicle for long distance drives. The benefit was that, by default, we always had a vehicle available for off-site explorations.

Within days of purchasing our motorhome my husband had made a significant add-on purchase: a Car Tow Dolly. Our tow vehicle is nothing fancy; it’s my husband’s commuter car, a vehicle chosen more for its low cost and fuel efficiency than anything else. Because it is small and light (much more so than my family transporter) it makes a perfect vehicle to tow.

But even with the tow dolly and the small, light car we don’t always tow a vehicle when we head out on trips.



When you’re driving a vehicle that gets 10 miles to the gallon, you begin to pay attention to the decreased gas mileage when you tow another vehicle behind you. So before we hook up the tow dolly we consider a few factors including: distance, location, activities, and our companions.

The example below is the ‘formula’ we use:



Determine Distance: We see about a 2 MPG decrease in fuel efficiency when we tow our car, so for long trips we really look at rental costs. Our first big RV trip was to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, 818 miles, or a 12 hour drive from our Iowa home. Towing our car would ‘cost’ appx 23 miles of gas, or nearly $70.



Rental Resources: Sometimes it is just more cost effective to rent. For the trip to Amarillo we found a small car for $14/ day. The 4 day rental, with tax and minus the prepay discount, came in under the $70 cost of towing. That was an easy decision.

Be sure to check your location! We always tow to Eureka Springs, Arkansas as the nearest car rental locations are Branson, MO or Bentonville, AR. Neither of which are terribly handy.



Analyze Activities: Do we plan to leave our campsite? Is everything we plan to do within walking distance? Can we bike to nearby sites? Is there transportation available? For our Texas trip we knew we wanted to explore a bit in Amarillo, so a car was necessary. But for most of our state park visits (like Iowa’s 9 Eagles) we leave the car at home as those weekends are just about relaxing and enjoying family time.



Companion Carpooling: We do a lot of RVing with family and friends and we take that into account before heading out. How many vehicles will we need at the campground? Will there be enough transportation for everyone if we don’t bring our car?

Each trip we take is different – distance, location, activities, and accompaniment- so we do our car necessity overview every time we plan an RV getaway.

Do you have a formula to decide to tow or no?


It’s safe to say that we love our RV. R’Velle has become a beloved member of our family, often confusing others when we refer to the RV as ‘she’.

Though we don’t RV full time, we travel with her as much as possible, relying on her to get us to and from our pleasure trips while also offering a home away from home.

And while I think of R’Velle as our vacation home, I hadn’t really expected to use her as our actual home for an extended period. And I definitely didn’t think about this situation popping up in the middle of our fall trip to Florida, where R’Velle winters in the warm temps while we return to the cold Iowa plains.

A Trip to Florida Becomes a Trip to Texas


We were just a day and a half into our 4 day trip. Fun stops had been made at Lamberts Café in Ozark, Missouri- where R’Velle met another 4 Winds bunkhouse in the parking lot.


RVelle meets another 4 Winds Type C Bunkhouse in the parking lot at Lamberts Cafe in Ozark MO.


We followed that with a visit to Mansfield and tour of the homes of our favorite Pioneer author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.


The two homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder at Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield Missouri.

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Though my family didn’t do any camping when I was growing up, I have fond memories of days spent at 9 Eagles State Park. It wasn’t far from our southwestern Iowa home, so it was easy enough for us to take a fun day trip to picnic and play before my dad needed to be home to care for the animals on our farm.

When we purchased R’Velle I knew that I wanted to re-visit some of my favorite childhood memories and share them with my own family.


Taking the RV means bringing cousins along for the fun!


Welcome to 9 Eagles State Park in Southwest Iowa

Following Interstate 35 south from Des Moines, you’re only 4 miles from the Missouri border before exiting toward the small town of Davis City, population 195. The nearest town for supplies is Lamoni, but hand lettered signs at the end of farm driveways may offer eggs, produce, baking, or Amish hand-woven baskets.

The campground is quiet as we arrive. Often we camp alone, in seclusion, though once we shared with a couple of elderly brothers who visit each spring to hunt Morel mushrooms.



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There are some places that just beg you to return to them year round. For my family, that spot is Eureka Springs, Arkansas.



A charming mix of Ozark Mountain town, Victorian Spa escape, and eclectic art community makes Eureka Springs a fun – and funky — getaway.


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