Category Archives: Missouri

Missouri Part II: Forsyth

Our second stop in the Show Me State brought us to Forsyth in the Ozarks, on a bluff above Shoals Bend Lake, about 15 miles northeast of Branson. We stayed at a Jellystone Campground which is part of the Yogi Bear franchise. The owners were very nice; the park was neat and clean – and practically empty, so we had the place virtually to ourselves for two-weeks. We were at this location during Christmas and New Year’s, so we tried to take advantage of all of the holiday festivities this tourist area had to offer. The only thing we did not see during our visit to Branson was a show (I know, how lame of us). The problem was that all the shows we had selected to see were closed for the season by the time we got to town. It didn’t really matter to us, we still enjoyed our time here.

This stop concludes our month in Missouri. On Monday, 1/5, we move to Hot Springs and start our month of January in Arkansas.

On New Year's Eve we went to the Butterfly Palace in Branson. This black and white butterfly landed on Mike's left shoulder and 'hung around' for about 10 or 15 minutes. It waited while we took pictures of it, while Mike took pictures of other butterflies, while we walked around the trail through the landscaping... until we finally took this selfie. When we told it we had to go have Indian food for dinner, it finally flew away.

On New Year’s Eve we went to the Butterfly Palace in Branson. This black and white butterfly landed on Mike’s left shoulder and ‘hung around’ for about 10 or 15 minutes. It waited while we took pictures of it, while Mike took pictures of other butterflies, while we walked around the trail through the landscaping… until we finally took this selfie. When we told it we had to go have Indian food for dinner, it finally flew away.

We were hoping this beautiful black and purple butterfly would land on my shoulder.

We were hoping this beautiful black and purple butterfly would land on my shoulder.

The Butterfly Palace.

The Butterfly Palace.

It was cloudy during most of our time in the Ozarks. Here is one sunny shot of Table Rock Lake as we drove across a bridge. The water was so blue in the lake!

It was cloudy during most of our time in the Ozarks. Here is one sunny shot of Table Rock Lake as we drove across a bridge. The water was so blue in the lake!

We paid a pretty penny to walk the path at Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve. I can't say that I remember ever paying $13 per human to walk six miles... and I can say for sure the dogs have never paid $3 each to go with us. However, in this case we paid the fee and it was worth it. I'm glad we watched the weather forecast and picked a day with beautiful weather. I think the sun and blue skies made the hike that much more beautiful.

We paid a pretty penny to walk the path at Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve. I can’t say that I remember ever paying $13 per human to walk six miles… and I can say for sure the dogs have never paid $3 each to go with us. However, in this case we paid the fee and it was worth it. I’m glad we watched the  forecast and picked a day with good weather. I think the sun and blue skies made the hike that much more beautiful.

 

The lady at Dogwood Canyon's front desk told us we might see some bald eagles.

The lady at Dogwood Canyon’s front desk told us we might see some bald eagles.

She was right!

She was right!

Trying to get the perfect shot of the bald eagles flying above us.

Trying to get the perfect shot of the bald eagles flying above us.

The streams at Dogwood Canyon were stocked with all kinds of trout.

The streams at Dogwood Canyon were stocked with all kinds of trout.

One of the waterfalls that flowed into emerald blue water at Dogwood Canyon.

One of the waterfalls that flowed into emerald blue water at Dogwood Canyon.

We also paid too much money to visit Silver Dollar City Amusement Park in Branson. Only one of the roller coasters was running because of the cold temperatures (not that I would have ridden anyway). We basically paid $125 to walk around the pretend 1880's village for 2-plus hours.

We also paid too much money to visit Silver Dollar City Amusement Park in Branson. Only one of the roller coasters was running because of the cold temperatures (not that I would have ridden anyway). We basically paid $125 to walk around the pretend 1880’s village for 2-plus hours.

Once the sun went down at Silver Dollar City, it was obvious that the lights were SPECTACULAR. They outlined every inch of every building, and covered quite a few trees from base to the very last limb.

Once the sun went down at Silver Dollar City, it was obvious that the lights were SPECTACULAR. They outlined every inch of every building, and covered quite a few trees from their base to the very last limb.

The tree at Silver Dollar City.

The tree at Silver Dollar City.

Big Cedar Lodge is owned by the same folks that have Bass Pro Shops. Over the past couple of years I have started a list of fancy or cool hotel resorts that I would like to come back and stay in. The place made my list.

Big Cedar Lodge is owned by the same folks that have Bass Pro Shops. Over the past couple of years I have started a list of fancy or cool hotel resorts that I would like to come back and stay in. This place made my list.

The marina at Big Cedar Lodge. You can bring your own boat, or rent one of theirs (with our without a captain).

The marina at Big Cedar Lodge. You can bring your own boat, or rent one of theirs (with or without a captain).

We enjoyed a luxurious Christmas afternoon brunch at the 1921 Worman House at Big Cedar Lodge. A beautiful expansive view of Table Rock Lake was the backdrop through a wall of windows in the dining room. One of the best parts about this Christmas was that the sun came out and the temperatures warmed up to make it a splendid day.

We enjoyed a luxurious Christmas afternoon brunch at the 1921 Worman House at Big Cedar Lodge. A beautiful expansive view of Table Rock Lake was the backdrop through a wall of windows in the dining room. One of the best parts about this Christmas was that the sun came out and the temperatures warmed up to make it a splendid day.

The entrance into Big Cedar Lodge includes a beautiful view of Table Rock Lake through the trees.

The entrance into Big Cedar Lodge includes a beautiful view of Table Rock Lake through the trees.

There was an undeveloped subdivision behind our campground, so we got to take the dogs on long PAVED walks almost every day that we were in Forsyth.

There was an undeveloped subdivision behind our campground, so we got to take the dogs on long PAVED walks almost every day that we were in Forsyth.

I looked up the details of our abandoned subdivision. The lots were basically 5 acre parcels at $20,000 - owners could subdivide once. Seems like a good deal for someone that wants to live out in the middle of nowhere - with electricity, water and sewer.

I looked up the details of our abandoned subdivision. The lots were basically 5 acre parcels at $20,000 – owners could subdivide once. Seems like a good deal for someone that wants to live out in the middle of nowhere – with electricity, water and sewer.

I wish I could have snapped this photo on a clear sunny day, but we didn't have too many of them during this stop.

I wish I could have snapped this photo of the Ozarks on a clear sunny day, but we didn’t have too many of them during this stop.

We found a Methodist Church in Forsyth. We were able to enjoy the Christmas Pageant on the Sunday before Christmas, and a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The greeter ladies by the front door always teased Mike about his longhorn hat when we arrived.

We found a Methodist Church in Forsyth. We were able to enjoy the Christmas Pageant on the Sunday before Christmas, and a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The greeter ladies by the front door always teased Mike about his longhorn hat when we arrived.

Mike's favorite thing about the Methodist Church in Forsyth was this cool space shuttle bus. It took me a while to figure out that it couldn't actually be driven.

Mike’s favorite thing about the Methodist Church in Forsyth was this cool space shuttle bus. It took me a while to figure out that it couldn’t actually be driven.

Branson Landing is located between the river and historic downtown Branson. They have a water fountain that 'dances' to music. Each hour on the hour they feature a song that includes fire too!

Branson Landing is located between the river and historic downtown Branson. They have a water fountain that ‘dances’ to music. Each hour on the hour they feature a song that includes fire too!

A giant nativity scene sits high up on a bluff across the river from Branson Landing.

A giant nativity scene sits high up on a bluff across the river from Branson Landing.

Some of the Christmas lights in front of the fountain at Branson Landing.

Some of the Christmas lights in front of the fountain at Branson Landing.

We took advantage of as many Christmas activities that we could while we were in Branson during the holidays. This was a drive-through light display on our way to eat Thai food.

We took advantage of as many Christmas activities that we could while we were in Branson during the holidays. This was a drive-through light display on our way to eat Thai food.

Mike figured out how to attach the swag we bought from Ted Drewes in St. Louis to the front of our coach.

Mike figured out how to attach the swag we bought from Ted Drewes in St. Louis to the front of our coach.

Our spot at Jellystone Campground - W4.

Our spot at Jellystone Campground – W4.

Mike ordered a bunch of parts from China and made his own rope light (complete with remote control). We put it in our front window as part of our Christmas décor, but I think it is going to stay permanently. When it is not Christmas, we will program them to be blue, green and purple to match the inside decorations.

Mike ordered a bunch of parts from China and made his own rope light (complete with remote control). We put it in our front window as part of our Christmas décor, but I think it is going to stay permanently. When it is not Christmas, we will program them to be blue, green and purple to match the inside decorations.

Santa said he wasn't quite sure if he would be able to find Piper and Cessna on Christmas morning, so he gave them their presents early while we were at Branson Landing.

Santa said he wasn’t quite sure if he would be able to find Piper and Cessna on Christmas morning, so he gave them their presents early while we were at Branson Landing.

At least the Longhorns made it to a bowl game, although the outcome was not pretty.

At least the Longhorns made it to a bowl game, although the outcome was not pretty.

Missouri Part I: Danville

We started our month of December in Missouri with our first stop in Danville. The Lazy Day Campground was located just off of I-70, about 1 hour west of the St. Louis Metro area, and about 45 minutes east of Columbia and the University of Missouri. We were also about 45 minutes northeast of the state capital, Jefferson City.

Our campground was very nice. The owners were very friendly and had purchased the place about 20 years ago. It was obvious that they had invested lots of money into the property because the infrastructure and landscaping were so attractive and established. There were about 65 total spots, but there were no more than six other sites occupied during our stay. It seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves for the two weeks we camped there.

We had Sunday Brunch at a Cajun place that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Highway 61 Roadhouse. Joel Olsteen and mimosas, go figure.

We had Sunday Brunch at a Cajun place that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Highway 61 Roadhouse. Joel Olsteen and mimosas, go figure.

Cutest totem pole I've ever seen.

Cutest totem pole I’ve ever seen.

The owners of our campground were big dog lovers, so the dog park at Lazy Day was extra great. Piper and Cessna had tons of room to roam and play chase. Lucky for me, it was a great spot from which to watch the sunrise in the mornings.

The owners of our campground were big dog lovers, so the dog park at Lazy Day was extra great. Piper and Cessna had tons of room to roam and play chase. Lucky for me, it was a great spot from which to watch the sunrise in the mornings.

We stopped at the famous Ted Drewes during one of our daytrips to St. Louis. I got a micro concrete mint chocolate chip.  I can understand why this place is world famous. During the slow months of Winter, the genius proprietor started selling Christmas trees to supplement his income. While we were there, we selected a natural pine swag to put on the front of the Monaco.

We stopped at the famous Ted Drewes during one of our daytrips to St. Louis. I got a micro concrete mint chocolate chip. I can understand why this place is world famous. During the slow months of Winter, the genius proprietor started selling Christmas trees to supplement his income. While we were there, we selected a natural pine swag to put on the front of the Monaco.

Approximately 250 fiberglass cakes are scattered throughout the St. Louis region. They’re placed at notable locations to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. This one was in the neighboring community of St. Charles.

Approximately 250 fiberglass cakes are scattered throughout the St. Louis region. They’re placed at notable locations to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. This one was in the neighboring community of St. Charles.

Historic downtown St. Charles.

Historic downtown St. Charles.

Taking a family hike down to the lake below our campground.

Taking a family hike down to the lake below our campground.

We signed 'the wall' at our campground.

We signed ‘the wall’ at our campground.

Our campground had a wall beside the office that was signed by campers. It was fun to read where everyone was from.

Our campground had a wall beside the office that was signed by campers. It was fun to read where everyone was from.

The Shaved Duck in South St. Louis. DDD Restaurant - one of the BEST we have visited. You are looking at French fries topped with pulled pork and rib meat, smothered in special cheese sauce and then topped off with some white cheddar cheese. We dipped our bites in their house-made bbq sauces. This is not all we ordered... it was merely the appetizer!

The Shaved Duck in South St. Louis. DDD Restaurant – one of the BEST we have visited. You are looking at French fries topped with pulled pork and rib meat, smothered in special cheese sauce and then topped off with some white cheddar cheese. We dipped our bites in their house-made bbq sauces. This is not all we ordered… it was merely the appetizer!

The captain of our adventure commemorates our time in the Midwest and anticipates our future heading west.

The captain of our adventure commemorates our time in the Midwest and anticipates our future heading west.

We spotted this outdoor fireplace at the Budweiser Brew House when we were wandering around downtown St. Louis while the temperatures were in the 30's. Seemed like a perfect excuse to sit down and have a drink.

We spotted this outdoor fireplace at the Budweiser Brew House when we were wandering around downtown St. Louis while the temperatures were in the 30’s. Seemed like a perfect excuse to sit down and have a drink.

Gateway to the West

Gateway to the West

We were the only ones parked on the historic St. Louis waterfront on the day we visited downtown.

We were the only ones parked on the historic St. Louis waterfront on the day we visited downtown.

Lewis and Clark are big around here.

Lewis and Clark are big around here.

The Missouri State Capitol

The Missouri State Capitol

The Missouri Governor's Mansion sits high on a bluff above the Missouri River. I can only imagine what the view looks like from those third floor windows.

The Missouri Governor’s Mansion sits high on a bluff above the Missouri River. I can only imagine what the view looks like from those third floor windows.

The Missouri River.

The Missouri River.

Merry Christmas from the Martin Family.

Merry Christmas from the Martin Family.

Downtown Hermann.

Downtown Hermann.

The historic town of Hermann is a popular location for tourists because the German community features several wineries located in the surrounding hills.

The historic town of Hermann is a popular location for tourists because the German community features several wineries located in the surrounding hills.

The Columns at the University of Missouri - a symbol of the Tiger spirit of resiliency.

The Columns at the University of Missouri – a symbol of the Tiger spirit of resiliency.

Jesse Hall (built in 1893) is the main administration building for the University of Missouri.

Jesse Hall (built in 1893) is the main administration building for the University of Missouri.

The Bell Tower of Memorial Union on the University of Missouri Campus.

The Bell Tower of Memorial Union on the University of Missouri Campus.

Our site a Lazy Day Campground.

Our site at Lazy Day Campground.

Crossing the Mississippi River, again.

Crossing the Mississippi River, again.