Leaves are falling and I’m getting Hitch Itch!

 

Katy Trail, Turkey Festival, Vista Grande, Wobbly Boots, Luckys 

We have traded in our Fat Tire Bikes for a pair of sleek and light weight road bikes. It is amazing what fourteen more gears and half the weight can do for your ability to peddle up hills. But I still have an issue chasing the young woman I married!

It has been great to visit our home Church of over twenty years and see the people we worshiped with during our lives living here at Lake Ozark. Church is much bigger now days and like the town, lots of new faces.

Lake Ozark State Park has lots of fun people to work with and it has been a fun time to be here with them this summer. We opted to stay on an extra month here and the “Hitch Itch” is affecting both of us. Looking forward to getting on the road again. Leaves are falling and I have been bragging that I haven’t seen Snow in over four years. I hope I can still say that by the time we get out of Missouri this year.

Lois has been able to see alot of her family that she hasn’t seen in ages, including a nephew that is in the Army who just came home from Germany with his wife and kids, a new great-nephew, a whole slew of nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters. I think she had a really good time visiting with her mother who is celebrating her 92nd or 93rd birthday, can’t remember which of course once you pass 90 there isn’t much difference, so the mother-in-law says.

The weather is so great here we sit out most evenings with fire in the fire pit. Nice breeze blowing, good woman cooking and a cold Stag, what more could a man want!

Advertisements

Lake Ozark State Park 2017

Vista Grande, Randy’s Frozen Custard, No Mosquitoes, Lakeview Bend Trail, Hidden Springs Trail

Found our way to Lake of the Ozarks State Park and find it to be another nice place to host. And since this area is where we have lived for over thirty years, we have a chance to visit the old haunts. Back in the ’80s when we first came to Lake Ozarks, it was a small town with the small town atmosphere. But today Lake Ozarks still is a small town next to the big City of Osage Beach and trying to catch up. In the ’80s we loved a hand full of restaurants where we would know at least half the patrons. But today we have all the restaurants we used to have to go to St. Louis or Kansas City to find. And you can travel around all day and not see anyone you know. Big money here now and lots of people. A Golf Mecca and the boats are ridiculous! One of very few lakes in the country that you can still buy land right on the water. A boom town for most but a ghost town for us!
Lake Ozark State Park has a lot to offer. First thing I noticed is no Mosquitoes. Flies are limited also, a flyswatter can easily take care of the one or two you find on your patio. Lots of very tame Deer around the camp ground. Basically no Internet, no over the air TV. Very hilly here for old bikers, but we have found that we like to travel the trails on foot. There is also Horse Back Riding and Kayak rentals right out side the camp ground entrance. Electric campsites right on the edge of the Lake.If you didn’t make it to the exact location of the Total Eclipse! We tried but as in so many attempts we have tried to film or photo amazing places and events we have been blessed to see, this is one of the most Amazing events in our lives. Only two minutes but it was worth all the trouble to make it to the exact location to see it. I have now seen a total eclipse of the moon when on the high plains of Kansas and now in central Missouri the total eclipse of the sun.

Swan Lake NWR

HWY 63, Country Wedding, Avenue of the Saints, Great River Road, HWY 79, Old Spaghetti Factory, Edds Bridge

We are finding out we don’t like Missouri so much in the summer. Not that its not a beautiful place but it is hotter than hell. Don’t mind a little warm weather but day after day keeps us inside and we don’t get as much activity. While at Swan Lake we attended the Park Managers Daughters Wedding. What a neat experience for us, our first Catholic Mass and Wedding. And a really great pig roast and reception on the family farm. Most everything was geared to the kids, Sand Volley Ball, egg hunt with cash prizes, Horse Drawn Wagon ride, Air Tunnel and Tether ball and a host of other things I’m sure I missed. It was a real treat for us City Slickers.
We have taken a two month opportunity at Lake Ozark State Park for Aug. and Sept. We are thinking it will be fun to be back in the old neighborhood again for a while. Lois is excited to visit some old friends she hasn’t seen since leaving the lake and catching up on the local gossip.

Photo Bucket!

Photo Bucket has high jacked my account. I hope you will understand that I am not going back over four years of work and change out my photos. In the future I will find another hosting site for photos. Thanks for your understanding..

In regard to older post, the links to the photo albums seems to still work. I assume its the third party photos on my posts that are the issue.

Swan Lake NWR 2017

HWY 100, HWY 19, HWY 8, HWY 54, HWY 94,

Swan Lake has not changed over the winter, but this year we are here earlier than in the past to get medical issues taken care of and being close to the Momma. In the past we have been here by ourselves but this year we find we are here with another couple, Sarah and Joe.

After traveling around the country coming back to Missouri gives me a better appreciation of Missouri from when I spent my whole life here. I love traveling the old roads, and finding some of the less popular land marks and old buildings. If your interested in Missouri try HWY 100 from Linn to Washington, East or West. Also HWY 19 North or South. HWY 8 again East or West. There is HWY 94 along the Katy Trail East or West. And then my all time favorite to get out of town is HWY 54. There are more than I can mention and many more I have never been on.

We got a pellet BBQ pit and learning what all the fuss is with Smokers. We have a Master BBQer next to us and we plan on him showing us the ins and outs of using a pellet Smoker. So let the BBQ Sauce flow!  P.S. so far we LOVE it, Lois especially likes it cause I have to do all the cooking….little does she know that it is just putting the meat on the grill! We have smoked a couple of pork steaks and filets, came out mouth-watering.

Lois says that being back to Chillicothe is almost like coming home. Getting back to the church and all the great folks there is a real blessing. They do have a different pastor who is very good. We enjoy the services as well as all the wonderful people. Of course there is Wal-Mart, or as Lois says “Disney for Adults”, can’t say I agree with her. My idea of “Disney for Adults” is either Lowe’s or Home Depot, oh well different strokes for different folks.

Graham Cave State Park 2017

Grace Lutheran Church, Wellsville, Danville, Indian Glade Trial, Graham Cave Loop Trail, Loutre River Trail, 3R’s RV

Found our way to Graham Cave SP and deep in a Missouri Woods, in the spring time. Reviews on this park talk about the highway noise here but after being in the deserts of west Texas the frogs out do the highway! Park is geared toward medium size rigs and has a lot of tree issues for those that are not sure of their clearances. Several trails here for hiking. If your interested in History the maintenance man here “Matt” is the local historian. The land use to be in his family and was passed down to the Grahams from the Boone family (Daniel’s son Nathanial). He has a big collection of arrow heads and other artifacts and papers about the farm and its history. The cave is not much more than a Cliff Dwelling with a ton of history. But we found the trails to be very interesting, only a few miles of them but while they were too rough for biking they are fun walks.

 

I had my Cataracts removed this month and what a difference in my world. If you ever have Cataracts don’t wait, get them done as soon as you can.  Its been a while since we hosted a location where we where one on one with the campers. With Lois working the check station and myself delivering fire wood we where able to meet a lot of great people. There was no internet at the park, thus no convenient way to up load our photos and update the blog.

Our most remembered event at this park, other than the tornado at 4:30 AM and a tree branch that had fell through the roof of a motorhome in the park! Lois and I where heading up a hill in our cart and came upon a Gray Fox being chased by a Doe. We where so surprised by the event we didn’t have the though to pull out a phone and get a photo. As we interrupted the chase
the Fox escaped and the Doe went back the way she came. We think back to her Fawn.
Photos bylois:

Lake of the Ozarks

Wichita, HWY 54, Conway, Osage Beach, St Louis, Graham Cave State Park

Stayed in Wichita for a couple days getting use to lights and sounds on parking lots again. Tracked across Missouri to Conway and visiting my Uncle for a couple days.  Then up to Lake Ozarks and our home town Church for Easter. Its interesting after six months in South and West Texas, its so nice to get back to familiar surroundings. While we love the differences in the Deserts we love seeing the green fresh cut grass and trees with green leaves in the spring time in Missouri. Easter morning brought us our first rain in six months.

 

Had a rock strike in New Mexico and have to take a day to have 3R’s near Union Missouri to replace my windshield, Ouch!! New house batteries, slide shims replace, and a new basement air this year! I hope the bleeding stops soon.

 

On to St. Louis for a couple weeks to see the Momma and now we going to be at
Graham Cave State Park for the month of May.

High Plains Trail

Hueco Tanks State Park, Trans Mountain, Las Cruces, Bogart’s, Mesilla, HWY 70, San Augustine Pass, White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, HWY 54, Tularosa Basin, Carrizozo, Valley of Fires Recreation Area, No Scum Allowed Saloon, Mesa Land Scenic Byway, Juniper Forest, Santa Rosa, The Blue Hole, Tucumcari, Logan, No Mans Land, Apache Trace, Dalton Gang, Cimarron River, Great Western Trail and Dodge Supply Route, Cannon Ball Stage Line

 

Dust storms are pretty intense, dust flies around like snow, dusting the branches and flat surfaces reminding me of snow, our last week at Hueco Tanks gave us another opportunity to know that after four and a half months we are ready to head back north. We were planning to stay in New Mexico, Colorado and Utah this summer. But my Cataracts are getting worse, so we have decided to head back to Missouri this month and get them fixed.

 

Stayed over a week end at Las Cruces, NM and visited Mesilla, a very old town that hosted Billy the Kid. Spent a couple hours at the White Sands National Monument. Spent the night in Alamogordo next to the train tracks, I love the trains, but here they don’t blow their horns! Just a long rumble during the night. Then onto Valley of Fire at Carrizozo. It offers a couple hours of interest and we moved on after two days. Passed through a Juniper Forest just north of the Lava Field. HWY 54 does a little “Route 66” at the Pecos River in Santa Rosa. Then on to Tucumcari, then north again on HWY 54. North of Tucumcari we found a nice picnic area for the night, with the train right across the hi way from us. So tonight we are at No Mans Land in Guymon, Oklahoma.

 

On a travel note, HWY 54 Van Horn, TX through New Mexico and across Kansas has a ton of Picnic Areas and pull outs that if you don’t mind sleeping with one eye open offer some very convenient over night stops. But as Lois found out not but a hand full of Wal-Marts. There is not much to see on the High Plains but if you take your time and look close there are always interesting things to discover.

 

Photos bylois:

Hueco Tanks State Park

Silver Leaf Night Shade, Fort Bliss, Hueco Bolson, Bordering, Aoudad Sheep,  Old Butterfield Stage Stop, Mescalero Canyon, Tanque DE LA Virgin, Tlaloc Pass, Escontrias Ranch House, Arroyos, Coyotes, Crash Pads, Road Runners, Morning Doves

Lois has found a recipe for cooking Cactus!! So the way I figure it we can survive here in the desert for a very long time. Because every bush seems to have thrones on it. Hueco Tanks is a very different place from anywhere we have been. The Rangers here at the park are very knowledgeable about plants and animals, and they love to show and tell.

 

At first glance Hueco Tanks seems to be a very unusual park. And much like we found at Davis Mountain there is mostly walking into the mountains for things to do. Here there is no riding bikes other than on the main road in and out of the camp ground. The Mountains here are amazing and very much worth all the time and energy you have to explore them. The parks main activity during the months of February and March is “Bordering“. Camping is only an after thought, and as such there are only 20 spots, and two of those are Camp Host spots. The internet is the usual State Park quality, but with not so many campers it makes it more user friendly. There are a ton of Painted Rock Pictographs and Historical Rock Art.

 

I feel very lucky to have hooked up with another Camp Host that is here with us. Dave Strand has been here before and is very well schooled in the Rock Art and the area in general. He has taking me on several outings climbing around the mountains here as if I were still 60!! But with the directions and information Dave has to offer really puts more meaning into what your looking at here. There is no amount of photos I can take that would do justice to the area. If you ever have the chance to spend a day or two here, I highly recommend it. Climb North Mountain and walk the trails, it’s amazing.

 

You can hear Coyotes here at night, there yipping reminds me of old cowboy movies where the Indian war parties where yipping. Its not hard to see why Indians liked the sound, its kind of spooks a Missouri boy.

 

Ted Pick is the Star Interpreter and he puts on a great couple hour show talking about the night sky with his laser pointer and his knowledge of the heavenly bodies.

 

Dust Storms are a real deal around here. Dust is in the air most days, haven’t seen rain here in the Chowowin Desert since we got here. In fact we have not seen rain since we left the Golf! Had to replace or basement air and we where blessed to find “Borgarts RV shop in Los Cruses, NM. There not cheep but they give you a good feeling when there taking your money. We plan to get back on the road again the first of next month and head north.

Photos bylois:

El Paso, Texas

Permian Basin,  Prada Marfa, TX 54, Van Horn, TX 62, Cornudas, Chihuahua Red Sands Desert, Salt Dunes

 

We left out of Davis Mountain ahead of a day with high wind warnings. Got started early and headed onto Van Horn and run into an afternoon of high wind 35 to 45 mph with 60 mph gust and dust, lots of dust out here. I’m not sure its considered a “Dust Storm” but we hunkered down for the night. Lots of open spaces in West Texas and it don’t take much wind to ruin my day. But on the up side Van Horn has trains that blow their horns a few times as they come though town.

 

Drove up to the Guadalupe Mountains and the Salt Dunes on HWY 54 and headed west on Texas HWY 62 to Hueco Tanks State Park. The drive is amazing. Photos don’t do any justice to the Mountains and Desert. Several pull outs on HWY 54, but not really organized rest areas. Both roads are in excellent condition. Once we got to within 30 miles of El Paso we came to a pass through the Hueco Mountains that was breath taking down to the valley that is El Paso. Touched base with Wal-Mart and went on into Hueco Tanks. It has been a wonderful month of traveling South Texas.

 

Photos bylois: