Monday, July 8, 2013

Kat's Birthday - Lewis and Clark State Park

After returning from our quick trip to Lake of the Ozarks State Park, we had three short days to unpack, do laundry and repack food and clothing for a trip in the other direction to Lewis and Clark State Park.  Just a little more than an hour from our house, and with five nights/4 days planned, we consider this our "vacation" for the year.  It was a much more relaxed and relaxing trip for us than the previous weekend.

Lewis and Clark SP had suffered severe flooding a couple of years ago, so this was the first season it was re-opened for camping.  We arrived in the late afternoon on Wednesday evening and set up camp on a nice level spot this time.

Thursday was not only Independence Day, but also Kat's birthday.  We ran into town (Atchison, KS) to get a few things we forgot to bring with us, then came back to camp for fun day and evening to celebrate her birthday.  My daughter and son-in-law also joined us.

On Friday morning, Kat and Shane did a little (unsuccessful) fishing, then we drove to nearby St. Joseph, MO, to spend an afternoon at the Pony Express Museum and the Patee House Museum.  The Patee House in particular was filled with many interesting displays.  We returned well into the evening to relax at camp.

On Saturday, we drove to the northern parts of Kansas City to let Kat go with her mom (my daughter) for the rest of her birthday weekend.  Shane and I made our way back to camp to the rest of the day, evening and next morning there.


Parked at Lewis and Clark State Park
near Rushville, MO
July 3-7, 2013

The Food - July 3 through July 7

Since I am posting this a couple months after the fact, I can only remember the highlights.

Wednesday evening - We enjoyed an easy meal of grilled brats and dogs, chips and salad.

Thursday morning - Simple breakfast of donuts and coffee.

Thursday midday - Kat chose the meal for her birthday:  Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, green beans, and a Tardis-themed birthday cake (forgive my decorating skills...I do better with flowers.)

Friday late afternoon - We had a meal out at a restaurant called The Ground Round in St. Joseph, MO.  I had a delicious Cajun chicken pasta, Kat had an apple wood bacon cheeseburger, and Shane had all-you-can-eat fried fish.


Parked at Lewis and Clark State Park
near Rushville, MO
July 3-7, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Camping for a Family Picnic - Lake of the Ozarks State Park

It's been a couple of months since I updated either of my blogs, so I thought I'd write a couple of quik back-dated posts to get this one caught up. - Annie, August 25, 2013.

On June 28, we made a quick camping trip to Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  This park is just far enough away from us that I would rather have made the trip on a three-day weekend, but because we were going for an extended-family picnic, we did it on a regular weekend.

This park is very large.  Once inside the park entrance, we drove a full five miles before we reached the campground.  It's a beautiful park, and we'd like to return sometime to enjoy it more.

The only drawback to our visit was that our site was very un-level.  We made it work, but the tail end of the RV was in the air and a little wobbly, which gave me a little bit of motion sickness.  I just tried to avoid being inside as much as I could.

Our family picnic was not here, but at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, about 25 miles away.  Ha Ha Tonka has no campground, but it has some very pretty and interesting ruins of a castle-like mansion, as well as hiking trails, a naturally-formed bridge, swimming, etc. 

Both parks are located on the Lake of the Ozarks, which is a resort area with lots of restaurants, boutique shops and amusements.  We enjoyed time at an arcade (or as Kat calls it, a "kids' casino"), and played a round of mini-golf.

As happens most times we camp, it rained.   After we finished our game of golf, we barely made it into the truck before the downpour.  It rained throughout the evening, but that didn't keep us from enjoying our evening by the fire...intermittently.


Parked at Lake of the Ozarks State Park
near Osage Beach, MO
June 28-30, 2013

The Food - June 28 through 30

Food at camp wasn't as much of the focus of this trip as it is on some of our outings.  Of course, we still ate, but only a little of it took place at camp and because we felt rushed, I tried to keep it simple.

Friday noon:  We ate lunch at a small cafe called Dar's in Warsaw, MO, on our way to camp.

Friday evening:  I built huge sub sandwiches for us to enjoy our first evening.  Subway has nothing on us!  They looked like this:

Saturday morning:  We didn't eat any breakfast because we were saving our appetite for our family picnic.

Saturday noon:  Family picnic!  I didn't get any photos because Shane and I were recruited to do the grilling for 20+ people.  We had burgers, brats, bean salad, baked beans, other salads, chips, and several desserts.  It was a feast!

Saturday evening:  We had plenty of ingredients left from the night before to repeat the subs for supper.

Sunday morning:  I honestly can't remember if we ate anything or not.  I think maybe just toast and coffee.

Sunday noon:  We stopped at a Golden Corral in Sedalia, MO, on our way home.


Parked at Lake of the Ozarks State Park
near Osage Beach, MO
June 28-20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Road Trippin' Without the RV

Some of you may remember that Joplin, MO, was hit by a devastating tornado in May of 2011.  While many businesses have already been rebuilt, some of the larger structures are still under construction.  The new Mercy Hospital is one of those, and is where Shane has been working off and on this year.

Last week, Kat and I decided to join him in Joplin for a few days.  He rode down with his boss in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, with us following later in the day.  Joplin is about 120 miles or so from our home, but we somehow managed to make that drive in a mere six hours.  ;)

After a couple of necessary stops in town, we headed south on I-49 along the western edge of Missouri.  We made several stops, including one at Rich Hill, where we scoped out (scooped out?) the Big Mouth Coal Shovel.  It's not really a shovel, but a bucket, with a capacity of 30 tons, that was used back in the mining days of this part of the state.

After lunch, we visited the Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in Lamar, which we both found interesting.  I learned that the home had also been owned by the family of Wyatt Earp.

In Carthage, we traveled along a stretch of Route 66 near Kellogg Lake and along Spring River.  Great scenery through here; I should have taken more photos.

Finally we caught up with Shane and enjoyed dinner (a provided amenity for guests at the extended stay hotel) and swam afterward in the hotel pool.

The next day we stayed mostly at the hotel, but did venture out for lunch with my friend Melinda.  I was happy to finally meet her; we've been cyber pen-pals for ten years, but the timing had just not been right for us to meet before now.

On Wednesday, Kat and I ventured into Northeast Oklahoma to check out the Grand Lake of the Cherokees, and do a little geocaching at Bernice State Park.

While we were driving, I happened upon this stretch of the Ribbon Road.  To my understanding, this 9-foot wide stretch of pavement between Miami, OK, and Afton, OK, actually predates Route 66, but later became part of it.  If anyone knows better information than this, please feel free to add it in the comments.

We returned to Joplin an hour or so before Shane got off work, and found a few gems while we were waiting:  A park near Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center with public access to Shoal Creek, a waterfall of sorts on the same fast-moving creek (history unknown to me, but it looks as if there may once have been a mill, dam, or other structure there) with more public access to the creek, and upstream, a beautiful campground and RV park right on the creek were we hope to stay later this summer if Shane works in Joplin again.


Staying at Homewood Suites
Joplin, MO
June 11-13, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Our First Outing of the 2013 Season - Sparrowfoot Campground

We kicked of the new camping season in an old favorite campground, Sparrowfoot, on Truman Lake.

What a difference a few months makes!  If you'll remember, last July we visited Sparrowfoot during a the middle of a heat wave and drought.  The beach then was almost non-existent and the park was practically empty.

This weekend was a different story.  The park was full almost to capacity.  A few sites were closed and their power hook-ups wrapped, so we assume they were out of commission.  The grass and trees were green and lush.  The temperatures were lovely, around 80 degrees during the day and mid-60s at night. 

Unfortunately, the beach was again non-existent.  We thought because the lake levels were so high earlier in the spring that maybe the sand had washed away (it's been known to happen), and then later we heard that at least one beach on Truman Lake had been closed because of a high E.coli count, but we found out with certainty that the Sparrowfoot Beach is closed this season because of budget reductions.

That didn't keep Kat from getting in the water, though.  Or at least trying to, but she soon found out that the water is still quite cold.

She and Shane tried some fishing.  Our neighbors at camp who had boats were hauling in some very large catfish, but all Shane caught from the shore was this little bass.

I spent some time lounging in the sun, then lounging in the shade, then lounging while reading.   Shane also did some reading and poked around at the campfire a lot.  Meanwhile, Kat made friends with other young campers and enjoyed a water gun fight.  We watched a movie or two inside the camper, (NOT roughing it, but so what?), stayed up very late, slept in very late, and generally had a great time doing whatever we liked, whenever we liked.

More often than not, it rains on us at camp.  This time, the rain didn't happen until our drive home, when we ran into (and back out of) a very heavy thunderstorm, but it was bright and sunny again by the time we got home.


Parked at Sparrowfoot Campground, Truman Lake
near Clinton, MO
May 24-27, 2013

The Food - May 24 through 27

It's been several months since we camped and I completely forgot about taking pictures of our camp food.  I did manage to snap one picture after we got home, but for the rest, you'll have to use your imagination.

Friday p.m. - Grilled bratwursts and hot dogs, variety of chips and dip, grilled banana boats (slice a banana open lengthwise, but leave it in it's peel...add chunks of chocolate and marshmallows, wrap in foil and grill until the chocolate and marshmallows melt.) 

Personally, I didn't care for these.  I thought the peel gave off an unpleasant flavor and I don't really like marshmallows.  Next time, I'll use non-stick foil and just chocolate, but then I'll sprinkle it all with peanuts once it's melted.

Saturday a.m. - I had some breakfast enchiladas I'd made previously and frozen.  We warmed these in the microwave and ate them along with coffee and/or chocolate milk.

Saturday midday - We enjoyed serve-yourself platters of cold cuts, cheeses, chips, crackers, dips and fruit.

Saturday p.m. - Grilled pork chops, cowboy potatoes and corn on the cob.

Sunday a.m. - Because we knew we'd have a large midday meal, we just ate buttered toast for breakfast.

Sunday midday - My dad joined us and we ate foil dinners (ground pork patties, potato slices and baby carrots cooked in foil packets with butter that had been seasoned with onion soup mix), green beans and pound cake topped with strawberries and half-and-half.

Sunday p.m. - Round two of the meat, cheese and veggie platters.

Monday a.m. - I had made a cobbler of blueberry pie filling topped with lemon cake (recipe below) for our Sunday meal, but my dad brought the strawberry dessert instead, so we ate the blueberry cobbler for breakfast with our coffee and milk.

Monday midday - after a stressful drive home in a thunderstorm we stopped for gas at a Flying J truck stop and decided to eat lunch at the Denny's there.


Easy As Pie Cobbler

1 box any flavor cake mix (I used lemon)
1 can any flavor soda (I used lemon lime)
1 large can any flavor pie filling (I used blueberry)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a large pan (9x13 rectangle or 12 inch deep dish pizza pan) with pan spray.

Spread pie filling evenly in bottom of pan.

Combine cake mix and soda; mix well.  Spread evenly over pie filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cake is lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched in center.

Serve warm or at room temperature, flipping pie filling side to the top as each serving is dished.

Makes 8-12 servings.


Parked at Sparrowfoot Campground, Truman Lake
near Clinton, MO
May 24-27, 2013