Campground: St Joes. See previous blog.
Campground: Ray Behrens campground: At Mark Twain Lake. An Army Corp campground. Senior discount rate: $9 electric site. About 30 minutes from Hannibal MO and the Mississippi River.
Well I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, more than I’m used to, after driving across a few states to pick up the new camper and then being chased across Oklahoma and into Missouri trying to avoid tornadoes and bad weather overall.
|Megan and her 1st win|
But as life brings us on different paths we don’t always expect, I landed on the eastern side of Missouri just in time to visit with my niece Kim, her family and my sister Dorothy. Now that’s what I call perfect timing. We all met up at Kim and Aaron’s new lakefront cottage. Megan and Camy, the two young girls, are a bundle of energy and we’ve been having fun playing board games and dominoes. Megan, almost 10 years old, played her first game of Scrabble on her own and won. Then Uncle Dougie showed everyone how to play Mexican train (dominoes). A fun game for the whole family, especially after I remembered all the rules.
The cottage has a bit of work to be done on it, as it is an older home. Aaron spends time on each trip fixing things and along with Kim have been removing old wallpaper and painting many of the rooms.
Aaron’s grilling and smoking skills have been enjoyed all weekend. The girls have enjoyed some of Uncle Dougie’s travel stories. Amazing the tails I can come up with, just picking a state to talk about.
Everyone came over to the Open Range “Roamer” camper for a visit and of course everyone was impressed by the new camper. it’s well built and with the extra stabilizer bars and auto leveling features, it remained rock solid during the tour of the camper and a couple of kids bouncing around. I think Aaron and Kim would have been happy it Dorothy and I had taken the kids back to the lake cottage and just left them in the camper, relaxing in the lounge chairs. Maybe next time Kim.
We even had a conversation about our newly discovered relatives in Sweden and Finland. I’ve been corresponding with Maj-Brit from Portom Finland and my sister Dorothy has been corresponding with Ros Mari from Sweden. We are all close in age and Maj-Brit has invited us to come to Finland for a visit. Dorothy’s daughter Kim thinks it’s a wonderful idea. So who knows, we may one day travel back to our homeland for a visit. One of my cousins did quite a good genealogy on the Palosaari side of the family and through letters that Isaac Anderson wrote home we have now connected some 50+ years later to the Anderson family line due to the efforts of Ros Mari. Can you imagine three born in the U.S.A relatives trying to communicate with only an English speaking background talking to our Swedish and Finnish speaking counterparts. It could be quite a comedy of hand signs and gestures.
An evening boat ride around the lake as the sun slowly sets over the heavily wooded hills, passing by fishermen standing on docks casting out lines. traveling close to shore looking at all the other homes and boat docks around the lake. There are I believe 17 lakes in all. Most are created by building earthen dams that have created each lake in a many tiered effect among the many hills and valleys in the area.
My last day with family included the game of life. Who knew it was so complicated and fraught with marriages, having babies, jobs and paying bills. later Uncle Doug taught the girls how to draw palm trees. After all I did live in Florida for 30+ years. Megan drew her own and Camy helped color in Uncle Doug’s for him.
One more day at St Joes State Park and then it’s off to Mark Twain Lake.
Distance Traveled: 180 miles
Fortunately I asked a park ranger/officer about some secondary roads I was thinking of traveling on. He recommend not taking hwy 47 as it’s a narrow road and tree hauling truckers use it. So if you fellow travelers are on the eastern side of Missouri, avoid hwy 47 when traveling with your camper. I’ll be passing through St Louis’s west side then taking hwy 61 most of the way.
As expected, the route through the western loop around St Louis was heavy traffic, some construction and speeds of 15-30 mph. Once I maneuvered the worst of it and exited onto hwy 61, it was a breeze. RV-ers will enjoy the drive along 61. Good scenery, a four lane divided highway with grassy medians between and very little traffic. The route follows the mississippi, though you won't see it as the road is inland quite a bit.
I’m at one of the Army Corp campgrounds around Mark Twain Lake. They have both full hookups and partial hookups. All the small loops are heavily forested, the campsites along the straight aways are grassy sites with some trees. Can’t see the lake from any of the campsites that I’ve seen so far.
Hannibal is about a 30 minute drive away and just down the street from where I’m staying there’s Mark Twain State Park with a most wonderful museum containing the home that Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in. Since I’ve been in this area before, I am after all a seasoned camper you know, I’ll be experiencing the area and meeting the people who live here rather than hitting all the tourist sites.
|Mississippi flooding, gates closed on levi|
|Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain wondered these streets|
I did go into the historic district one day though and enjoyed a walk around the town that inspired Mark Twain to write all those wonder books. The gates were all closed on the levi system protecting the town. The Mississippi River was just creeping up to the gates, covering the banks of the river to overflowing. Two of the historical buildings downtown had their roofs blown off from the remains of the Moore OK Tornadoes of a week ago. I talked to one of the shop owners and he said his windows broken up front, the roof was blown off and landed in the back parking lot, they're doing construction on new sidewalks and roadway in front of his shop so all he can do is “keep on keepin on”.
If you’re in the mood for a cup of coffee, there are many coffee shops downtown. and lots of places to sit back and watch the tourists go by. And of course all of the Mark Twain museums in the area to explore.
Well, I’ve got a few chores to take care of over the next couple of days so I’ll end this blog and wish everyone a great day exploring where ever you are.
more photo on PICASA