Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Into Missouri and Arkansas

Being right along the Mississippi River, we begin to think it's just a short ride to the bridge.  Not always so.  However , from Columbus we take State Route 123 to Route 51 north to Route 60 west.  There was heavy fog, so we waited for it to lift a bit. Still fog over the river.
A number of barges tied up waiting for a tugboat.  Wonder where they are headed.
Do you see the headlights?  Don't worry . Eustis is watching!!!!
Yikes!  Note the truck is hugging the yellow line and we have nowhere to move either.  This bridge was narrower than the Cape Cod bridges.  Quite a long bridge. The semis heading towards us slowed to about 15mph , as did we.
After the bridge, there is about one mile of southeastern Illinois and then---Missouri.
 We are headed to Big Springs Campground in Mark Twain National Forest.  If you look at the state of Missouri you will see a number of Mark Twain National Forests.  And, they say, Mark Twain probably never visited any of the areas.  But, he was born in Florida, Missouri and shortly after, the family moved to Hannibal, Missouri---on the Mississippi. There is a museum there and also at his birthplace.
The Ozark Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a riverway.  Big Spring feeds the Current River.
The Big Spring Campground is quite nice with well spaced sites.  You might notice that we are the only ones here.  What did we say?????
Big Spring bubbles up through jumbo rocks after traveling as much as 40 miles from the west underground.
The dissolving minerals keep the water clear with an aquamarine tint. Always 58 degrees.
This spring is the largest in Missouri and one of the largest in the world.
The daily flow is 286 million gallons.  Yes, 286 MILLION!
It also carries away 173 tons of dissolved minerals----every day.
There are also a number of examples of CCC(Civilian Conservation Corps) work from the 1930's.
The structures are still sturdy. This lodge is out of service now, but it will be renovated next year to update services.
Along Route 60 we found a quiet, small, well maintained private park in Mountain Grove, Missouri RV Park. There was a bit of a search earlier for propane.  You would think it would be simple, but some propane businesses were closed and many of the stations now just do the exchange 20lb bottles. We had luck in Dexter by calling an RV dealer who steered us to an open local dealer.  Ah, the things that keep our brains working.
Route 60 takes us west to south of Springfield where we find Route 65 south to Branson.
The road gives some picturesque views of the local hills and cuts of limestone.
Jan and I stop at Turkey Creek RV Park in Hollister, Missouri which is just a little south of Branson. This is an Escapee park--one of our membership parks.  Branson is a center for live shows.  It compares itself to Nashville , but also has a little feel of a Pigeon Forge(think Dollywood) Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  We arrived during what they list as Veteran's Week.  We don't think we have ever seen a city give such attention to veterans and there were busloads and carloads of them heading to the theaters,  restaurants, and  shopping.  Many businesses were offering veteran discounts with some offering free admission.  One of the Imax shows was Dday.  
This view is from the Table Rock visitors center.  Branson is over the hill to the right.  Another large dam project, this one needed to wait until the 1950's to be completed.  Besides producing electricity, it protects the region from flooding and provides a larger area for recreation. This is on the White River which flows to the Mississippi River. The large building on the hill is Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa. Check out this website for those not RVing.. Chateau on the Lake
This map shows a giant Table Rock Lake. While we will stay at the state park this time, there are a number of COE parks around the lake.  Most of them are closed at this time.
A short walk from our campsite on a lakeside trail takes us to the Branson Belle.
This is a paddlewheel showboat with a theater for 700 people.
Busloads arrive for breakfast, lunch, and dinner cruises. The meals are prepared on board.This boat was built on the shores here in 1994.
Here is the link for the showboat Branson Belle
From Branson it is a very short drive to Akansas.  We are headed to the Buffalo National River. This will be Tyler Bend Campground , a COE campground.
This is America's first national river, 1972.  It flows from the Boston Mountains for 135 miles to the White River.  It is unusual because it is one of the few rivers in the lower 48 states that remains undammed. The residents of Arkansas worked hard for this and the area is quite popular for tubing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and also hunting. This is part of the Ozark Mountains
From no color to a bright sunset. Very short but quite enjoyable.
During the rain at our campsite, we get visited by a dozen or so deer.  They are chasing each other and having a great time.  They must not realize that there are hunters in the site to the left.  Oh wait---they probably know there is no hunting in the park.

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