This post is very late being posted, but this is documentation of our travels. Just as we were heading north in September, a cold front came thru Missouri & cooled of all of the state plus NW Arkansas. Oh well, it was still great to be on the road again to somewhere — anywhere new instead of waiting on VA appointments.
First we stopped in Kansas City to visit Jeff’s daughter & grandson while parking the trailer in a girlfriend’s driveway. Had a great visit at both places. I discovered G2 Gatorade, Mixed Berry flavor. I’ve been trying to find something to replace Dr. Pepper for a year, & the G2 works good for me.
As we are now Coast to Coast campground members, we planned our route to north central Wisconsin according to the C2C campgrounds we could stay at along the way for free. So the first night was outside of Waterloo IA at Lakes Shores RV Resort. Not bad, but glad we weren’t staying more than one night.
The second stop was about an hour from our destination, but when we got there shortly before 5pm, the office was closed. Thankfully a park resident let us through the gate into the campground to settle up the next day. But without anyone around to discuss campsites, we briefly wandered through the heavily forested area with campsites chiseled out of the woods, looking for a clear view to the south for our TV satellite. No idea & felt somewhat lost — so we left & headed to Jeff’s uncle’s house (on his dad’s side).
I learned a few good lessons from the experience: 1) Always call our night’s destination campground to confirm our reservation, 2) give them an ETA, & 3) ask about campsites with a clear southern view.
We made it Jeff’s uncle on White Potato Lake the 2nd day, west of Pound WI. They have a little park model right on the lake’s shore, & we parked on gorgeous, thick green grass (no grit & gravel tracked in by us or critters). His uncle & wife stay there during the summer (near where they both grew up), but spend winter at another lake house west of New Braunfels TX, traveling between the two in a Class A motorhome. Unfortunately, it rained or at least was cloudy every day there except the day we left. We spent one day visiting with his cousin & her husband (on his mom’s side), & got to meet several of his other cousins in town. And of course, we got some fresh WI cheese from a fantastic local cheese place. Also, got some fresh local brats (one batch of beer brats & one with Swiss cheese & mushrooms). It was SO green & lush everywhere in addition to the cool, non-humid weather, with only a few trees displaying Fall colors. Wish we could have stayed longer!
After four days of non-stop visiting, we headed south to Wisconsin Dells to Christmas Mountain RV Resort. Jeff had never been to the town before, & I’ve always heard cool things about the town. The Wisconsin River has cut thru the area, leaving beautiful tall cliffs all along the river. It’s a pretty touristy place though, much like Branson actually. We drove around one day (in the rain) just to get a feel for the lay of the land, & viewed lots of lakeside & riverside houses, condos, & recreation facilities.
Our last day there was clear, sunny, & perfect weather finally so we stopped for lunch at The Brat House where Jeff had a regular brat with sauerkraut & I had a brat with Swiss cheese & mushrooms both inside & on top. They also made their own chips, sprinkled with parmesan along with a homemade dip. Boy was it all good! I even splurged by having a beer — Red’s Apple Ale. Pretty darn good. . .probably cause it didn’t really taste like beer.
So we waddled out of the place to go for a carriage ride thru Lost Canyon (just down the road). As this area was sculpted by running water, a very narrow canyon was cut thru the cliff (Lost Canyon), & a small wagon pulled by two huge roan-colored Belgium horses that shinnied thru a couple of slits in the rocks. A trickle of a stream ran along the base of one side beside our trail. Pretty amazing. . .since I love big rock formations.
We next camped at Lake Haven Resort near Sublett IL so we could visit Starved Rock State Park, about an hour away. This huge lakeside community had hundreds of cabins, park models, & fairly permanent RVs snuggled around the 10 or so ponds/lakes, accessible by a plethora of twisty, curvy roads. Even with a map, we barely made our way out after looking around.
When Jeff lived outside of Chicago as a kid, his family visited Starved Rock several times. The story is that back in the 1600s, Chief Pontiac was killed by some Illini tribesmen, so the Chief’s tribe chased & trapped the killers on top of one of the towering columns of rock along the Illinois River. They couldn’t get down off the rock without being killed, but ended up starving to death instead.
We slowly walked up first a broad uphill sidewalk & then four different flights of steps to finally stroll around the board deck on top of Starved Rock. Great views of the Illinois River, including a dam with a single lock. Jeff managed this uphill walk pretty well in spite of his back problems, but we were both pretty well tuckered out by the time we got back to the truck.
Next we headed west to Missouri (toward “home”) & made it to Tivoli Hills RV Resort, just south of Louisiana MO which is along the Mississippi River, to a small, quiet, flat, shaded RV park just for the night. Pretty, quiet, great shower, & good southern view. We traveled all the next day across MO on US Highway 54 which goes thru Jefferson City (state capital) & across Bagnell Dam (Lake of the Ozarks at Osage Beach). I hadn’t been there for probably 50 years. Some areas even looked familiar but a lot of road improvements & changes have been made thru the years.
We finally made it to my girlfriend’s driveway in Springfield MO to rest up from our travels. Although we didn’t do all that much, we spent some very long days traveling between stops & were both worn out. Thankfully another cool front came thru the area the next day after I had dug out a pair of shorts to wear due to the heat. We returned to Compton Ridge in Branson after being gone for three weeks & have started planning our trip next week to Virginia to visit Jeff’s mom, with a couple of interesting side trips along the way to Gettysburg & Falling Water (a Frank Lloyd Wright house I’ve tried to visit for several years).