Last Friday was my last day of teaching for who knows how long. So, how did I celebrate my last day of teaching, the end of my first year, and the beginning of summer vacation? By going on a road trip of course. This road trip goes along with the last post that I made and if that doesn’t help you to figure out where I went then I guess you’ll never figure it out and I’ll just have to tell you. Missouri people I went to Missouri. Sure, I had been there before but this time was a real and authentic road trip.
Of course it all started with the wonderful site roadtrippers. I love this site because it helps me to find cool places to go along the route I want to take. We weren’t even planning on going to Missouri but, it was supposed to rain all weekend in Iowa and every other state surrounding Illinois so the good ole’ weather told us where to go. We packed up and left early in the morning on Saturday with Odin in tow.
After making only one wrong turn and driving for 5 hours we made it to Elephant Rock State Park in Missouri. I would have to say only making one wrong turn was an improvement for us. We pulled in and started wondering why there was so many people there and that’s when we realized it was Memorial Weekend. At first we thought it was going to be horribly lame because of all the people and concrete trails.
We decided what the hell let’s at least go check it out. So, we loaded up a backpack with water and grabbed Odin. We made it less than 10 minutes before Odin pulled me into the mud and I fell. It was quite funny since a lot of people saw me bite it. After another short 10 minute hike we found the best views. You had to climb up, over down, and between rocks throughout a major portion of the hike which was hard for Odin. So, we took turns going and exploring while the other person sat and relaxed in the shade. After we were done climbing over rocks we went back to the main trail and hiked all the way around the park.
We probably spent about 4 hours at Elephant Rock State Park and I could have spent another 4 hours there but, we decided to move on so we could see one more park before camping out for the night.
After the first stop we tried following the directions I wrote down but, it didn’t turn out that well. We found a scenic view spot and pulled over to try and get some service for the GPS to work. After spending 10 minutes trying to get service we finally found the road we were supposed to be on. Let’s just say we drove for almost another hour to end up on a road that dead ended into a river. By that time it was already getting late and we decided to head back to one of the campgrounds we saw while driving.
Let me tell you now this campground was the biggest tourist attraction ever and probably my least favorite thing about this trip except the stairs and we will get to that later. This campground charged us $30 for one night and a $40 deposit. In case you didn’t get that $70 for one night of two people camping. I wanted to shove my card where the sun doesn’t shine but, we paid up and headed to our campsite. The campsite itself wouldn’t have been to bad except for all the sand. We got over it pretty quickly after setting up the tent and popping open a few cold ones.
We stayed up pretty late thinking we would sleep in the next day but, I can never sleep in while camping so we were up by 8. Wilton went up to the main office and it turns out that they had a breakfast buffet and although we had to pay even more money breakfast sounded amazing so we went. I snuck out a huge handful of bacon for Odin to eat on the way back to our campsite. Once we got back we packed up pretty quickly went and found some service for the GPS and headed to our next stop. Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
What a name right? I though so too. It was even hotter on Sunday than it was on Saturday but, we loaded up a camel back with water and 7 water bottles just for Odin. We also stuffed his water bowl into our backpack because if we can’t go without water neither can he. Our first stop at the park was an abandoned “castle”. I put the quotations because it isn’t really a castle but a house in ruins that was made out of rocks and granite. We saw some pretty great views there and it was a super short hike.
After the abandoned castle we decided we would go and see the water tower ruins. This trail was all wood walkways which, I’m not a fan of. Especially when you have a dog, a backpack, and two people walking one way while other people are walking toward you and there’s barely enough room to squeeze your fat butt up against a rail so the other people can get by. I ended up climbing over the rails at the water tower and then climbing into a window that someone had taken the bars off of. It was pretty neat looking inside.
The next stop was the natural springs that Wilton was so adamant about going to. When we got to the top it had a warning saying if you aren’t physically active and healthy not to go down because there was 400 steps leading almost straight down and you had to climb them back up. Wilton stayed with Odin at the top and I climbed down. I’m going to have to say I’ve seen better natural springs while canoeing than the one I had to almost have a heart attack for. I made it down but the going back up was rough to say the least.
By that time I was huffing and puffing and sweating, Odin was worn out and wanting to sleep, and Wilton was ready to get back to the car. So, we headed back down the trails we had just come on and made it back to the car. We drove back to the visitors center and got some maps to find a campground to stay at. We drove around for almost an hour not finding any of the sites on the map until we randomly drove by a campground. This place was super cheap, they delivered firewood to us, and it was extremely private.
We ended up at the top of a hill and back in the woods with only 2 other campers for company. We set up quickly and flopped our butts into the chairs we had brought. We were exhausted after another day of 5-6 hour hikes. We popped open some cold brews and just sat there enjoying the weather, the views, and each others company. That’s when we noticed poor Odin was limping. We were wondering why he had just been laying there after we unpacked and that’s when we found the pad on his paw was cut open. We aren’t sure when it happened because he hadn’t been limping before but, it seemed like it hurt him really bad. We washed it out with some water and then put a poncho down on the ground so he could lay without getting it dirty.
Wilton ended up carrying him into the tent when we went to bed and into the car when we left in the morning. Our ride back home consisted of Odin and I taking naps while Wilton drove the entire way making up for me driving the entire way there. Odin started milking the hurt leg because we were babying him and then he got caught. He started running for a squirrel turned looked at us and then just stood there. probably thinking damn it now I won’t get carried or good human food now. After a 7 hour drive we made it home and crashed.
I would have to say this road trip was so amazing and fun. It was the road trip that your parents and grandparents used to take. The ones no one takes anymore. But, more on that in the next post. If you’re ever in Missouri go check out Elephant Rock State Park. It’s totally worth it.
If you’d like to see more pictures of the this trip, other adventures, or some of the photography I try to take go check out my galleries here—> https://cee91blog.wordpress.com/galleries/