Friends, Fun and Food...LOTS of Food!!! That is how I would describe our latest adventure.
We continued on in our trek to meet up with friends and family. We left KC on our way to Lake of the Ozarks to spend 12 days with Rick's buddies from the Army. We were originally slated to meet up at the 11th ACR Blackhorse reunion in Las Vegas but an unexpected medical issue sidelined one of his friends, so we brought the reunion to him in MO. That's just what troopers do. We try to meet up every year at the Blackhorse reunions to reconnect. Next year is in CO Springs, which we are looking forward to visiting again!
We booked our stay at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, which is a really nice park with a marina and boat rentals. The campground is well kept and the sites are really nice, except some are a bit unlevel. A bit is being kind for our site! Our poor Solitude had to kneel down and even with the front being on the ground, we were still a bit unlevel front to back but we made it work. We had 50 amp hookup and a water spigot behind us, across the road. Mid-week we combined hoses with our friends next door and were able to refill the fresh water tanks. Thankfully we had our portable waste tote, affectionately called "Lucy Loo", to empty tanks. As a full timer, we focus on things like this and fortunately, with having Lucy Loo, we have more flexibility in booking sites without full hookups for longer periods of time. Should Lucy Loo ever take a crap, haha, see what I did there, we have our eye on a fancy "Lula Loo" from Camco Rhino that has beefier wheels and has gotten great reviews.
We enjoyed alot of time relaxing and chatting at the campground...and lots of eating!!! Everyone brought their A game for food! Even the deer wanted to see what we were doing.
We took a day to rent a pontoon from one of the state park locations and get out on the lake. It was a beautiful weekday, in which the lake was a bit quieter from the weekend warriors. Little did we know that we were in for a show near the Ft Leonardwood Lake of the Ozarks Rec Area portion of the lake. They were conducting Engineer Sapper Training , which is water insertion training to clear beach obstacles. They jumped out of a Chinook into the water with a full pack and equipment and swim to shore undetected. It was thrilling to see the Chinook fly low over the lake and hover soo low to the water.
We also took a day trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park which is on the south side of the Lake. This park has several hiking trails with many geologic features such as sinkholes, caves, natural bridge and historic castle remains! This 60 room, european castle was built back in 1905 by a wealthy KC businessman, Robert M. Snyder. The building was halted a year later when Snyder dies in one of the first auto accidents in MO. His son finished the castle in 1922 and was eventually leased as a hotel. In 1942, the castle caught fire by a spark from a chimney and the carriage house also caught fire that day. In 1976 the water tower was set on fire by vandals.
The stone work on the buildings was amazing as he brought masons from Europe to assist in construction. Views from the castle on the rocky bluff, overlooking the lake were stunning. It was really a neat place to visit!
We also took time for a nice dinner out at JB Hooks overlooking the lake. We started early for happy hour out on the patio overlooking the lake but before too long we were back inside as the storms came over the lake. Dinner was amazing and we all left stuffed and happy! If you are ever in the Lake of the Ozarks area, this is a must stop! They have a great bar atmosphere with live music.
On one of our final days, we took a drive to check out the Osceola Cheese Store to get some cheese. Little did we know they had samples of every cheese, which was at least 40 different kinds! They originally started out by making their cheeses on location but after they sold the cows, they gave their recipes to a dairy in WI to make their cheese for them. No wonder the cheese was soo good, it was made in WI!!! Even though we tasted just about every cheese they had, and some wine, we did save room for lunch at the Dam Restaurant and Bar, in Warsaw, MO which was overlooking the Harry Truman Reservoir and next door to a swinging bridge. After again eating some great food (see a trend here for alot of food focus), we decided to check out the bridge to walk off our lunch. It was originally built in the early 1900's and rebuilt in 1924 by the same man after a tornado destroyed it.
One of our final nights, we had a wonderful italian dinner at Kirk and Betsy's house in nearby Jefferson City. Prior to dinner we stopped by the MO capitol building to take in the MO museum inside. Unfortunately the capitol was undergoing some extensive exterior renovations and was completely tarped. The museum is free and was nicely done. One side was MO natural resources and the other was MO history as well as the role MO played in the military engagements and wars throughout the years. They even had a beautiful brass model of the USS MO and the actual bell from the ship.
Dinner was fantastic and again we all enjoyed each other's company and ate too much! We also got pictures of the troopers with their sassy Cavalry stetsons. Thank you Kirk & Betsy for a wonderful evening!!
Our 12 days with friends passed by all too quickly and we are already planning our get together next year in CO Springs and a meet up with Bill and Denise while we are in TX later this year. Up next, making our way across the midwest to family and an upgrade on our rv.
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