From Red Rocks to the Ozarks

Today will be a better day! I looked outside to see that the rain had stopped. I showered, and quickly posted a blog entry. Then I got headed in the direction of Red Rocks Canyon State Park. I was bound and determined to do some sort of physical activity this morning. I found the park down a tiny winding steep road. At first I thought no one was there. As I drove I found more and more people. This seems to be the place to be on hot summer mornings. There was a swimming pool and all sorts of locals. There were quite a few rv campers, and there were lots and lots of red rock walls. I pulled into a parking lot, got out, strapped on my climbing shoes and gave traversing and some short climbs a go. I promise I never went high enough to be a danger to myself. Remember, I’m not crazy. Just a little courageous or something like that.

That was super fun. I walked away with chalk under my nails, and a burn in my forearms that always leaves me feeling like I accomplished something. The rocks even left their red mark on my shoes. I got back onto I40. Today I would be switching to I44 so I could head into Missouri. I had driven through Missouri, but never stayed the night, and this trip was all about experiencing new places so Missouri and Kentucky would end my camping experiences. Today I only stopped when totally necessary. During one of these long stretches I realized I was losing track of time. I wonder if that’s what it like for truck drivers. Do they drive so often that they just zone out and lose track of time? One of the fears I had before leaving was that I would go crazy sitting still all day long, looking repeatedly from the clock to the gps to the odometer and begging for time to go by faster, but that wasn’t happening. I had also worried that my hips would stiffen up from sitting still all day every day. That had stopped when I reached the drier climates of Utah and points west. Seriously, I’ve got to find out if I have lyme disease! I wondered when the stiff joints would return.

I pulled into Cuba, MO in the early evening. For such a tiny town there sure was a lot of traffic. I pulled over just before the train tracks into the parking lot of a restaurant called The FourWay. I looked it up on Yelp and it had every star. How lucky did I just get? I was a filthy mess, but went in anyway. I was pleasantly greeted, and given a menu to order some take out. I chose the kabob, and other than not getting to devour it right away, I was not disappointed. The chicken was perfectly cooked. The salad was yummy. The cucumber sauce was perfect.The pita and rice provided way more delicious carbs then I had been eating. And the price was decent.


As I said, I didn’t get to devour it right away. I had a nibble, then continued driving to my destination. I was headed to the Berryman Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest. I passed through another cute town along the way that reminded me of Front Royal, VA. There were decorated canoe halves strategically placed throughout the town. It appears that I have entered the floating capital of Missouri. I will explore this further tomorrow. I lost my signal along the main road while passing large signs for resorts where most of the traffic was turning off. I turned into the park, and snaked up a hill into the campground passing only an overfilled dumpster and a mobile home surrounded with vehicles and furniture. The campground had definitely experienced the storms last night. There was tree debris everywhere. There was also not a soul in site. I considered that I had lost my signal a while back, and how I had suffered a dead battery yesterday. If I woke up in the morning to another dead battery I would have to hike out to the main road and hitch a ride into town to get help. I was getting a really strong The Hills Have Eyes feeling from this place, so I decided this was not where I would be staying for the night. Nope, not gonna happen. I got back in the car, drove a bit back toward town, and turned onto the first road I passed with one of those resort signs. I followed the cars into an entrance where I was greeted by a young man who took my license plate number, handed me a slip of paper, instructed me to park and take the paper into the large building in front of me. I asked how much it was for a tent site. He responded with “Hm, fifteen dollars or something?” Okay, not bad. I followed his directions and headed inside where I was met with the largest crowd of people trying to be helped. What was this place? I looked around. There were camping and floating supplies to my right. There were food supplies to my left. There was a deli counter in one corner, beverages in the refrigerated section, and flyers for campsite pizza delivery on the counter. I grabbed a resort map. Bass River Resort. I looked at my phone and had no signal, but suddenly was picking up free wifi. Hello! I sent my folks a text to tell them about my change of plans. When it was my turn in line I explained that I only wanted a tent site for the night. It turns out I could have also purchased one of their floating packages. No time for that. The representative asked if I wanted a family site or a loud site. WHAT!?!?! How is there a difference? I got my family site for $12 and headed over. As I was setting up I was repeatedly cat called from a passing pick up truck. This was beginning to feel a bit like “Hey Tracy! Show us your tits!” Nebraska. I hope it calms down soon. I sat on my picnic table and finally got to eat my dinner while checking out the scene around me. Lots of campsites, rvs, cabins, a pool, a river, campfires, and mosquitos. Yeah, they’re back. I suppose it was bound to happen, but I don’t have to be happy about it. The sun fell and I climbed into my bedroom, pulled all the curtains closed, turned on my battery powered fan to drown out the noise, and fell asleep with the plan to wake early and hike in the Ozarks.



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Art Teacher Abroad

I'm an art educator on a mission to explore every nook of the earth. Follow my photo journal on Instagram @feedmebeijing

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