There is the easy, yet curvy blacktop. Then there is the road less traveled …the dueling banjos road. When we turn off 64 highway onto the gravel, I get a little lightening bolt of excitement because the roads are gravel, narrow, curvy, washed out and not very populated but they are the most beautiful backroads during the fall! Pictures never do justice but here’s a few I snapped.
The Lead Mine Country Store is packed full of everything you might need to live a clean, healthy Amish, Mennonite, off-the-grid lifestyle. In the back of the store is a small restaurant serving homemade food…cash and check only…no credit cards, no internet signal and no cell phone service. They speak with what I assume is a german-Amish accent which is pleasing to my ear. During the meal, I enjoyed listening to the two girls conversing and singing to themselves but just a little out loud.
Until next time….
In order to save propane. While we have two very large propane tanks to use from, the furnace has been running pretty steady, so I decided this morning when we woke up to 42 degrees at 9 am that we needed to hit Ft Bennett for an electric heater to help with propane conservation. Because quite frankly if we lose the ability to heat the water for showers and dishes when we need it, someone is going to get cranky!
Fort Bennett is a store just outside the park that stocks everything other than fresh fruits and vegetables…..and I’m not kidding. Anything you might need for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and eating will be stuffed on a shelf somewhere in Ft Bennett. I remember the first time we stopped with Brett at the store 15+ years ago, my first thought when we pulled into the narrow gravel drive/parking lot was…..seriously, we are going to find something here ….. then we walked in the door, I thought Oh Holy Mother of God, I could spend a day in here just browsing all of the “stuff” crammed in the space.
Last night on my campground walk, I detoured down to “the bridge”
I took this picture looking toward the confluence of the stream and the Niangua River. My new IPhone 8plus takes some pretty good pictures after dark.
The result looks like a painting. I then spent some time practicing the portrait feature with him as my subject. Feel free to label his thoughts!
Until next time……..
He got in a walk on the trails today but not before he came back to the camper twice for more clothes. We had penciled in a trip to the Heartland Antique Mall just off I44 in Lebanon. But I thought…hmmmm…antiques and primitive stuff is always cheaper at the little antique stores along secondary roads rather than off the interstate highways so we took off south out of Lebanon on highway 5. Think of the difference between highway 5 and I 44 as the difference between wreath ribbon and curly ribbon….after you put the scissors to the narrow curly ribbon. There is nothing on highway 5 south of Lebanon except cows.
After what seemed like a hundred miles with me gripping the safety bar above my window, we decided to go cross country on a road that made highway 5 seem like an expressway. Narrow, curving and culver crossings rather than bridges over waterways….and no bathrooms….so I had him pull over on a gravel next to a field of curious cows so I could get some relief.
Finally made it back on 44 and to the antique mall where we should have gone in the first place but I needed an adventure and I got one……and the curious cows are all now emotionally damaged.
Until next time…..
And the other one…well the other one just stuffs things in any space with an opening as long as the door will close.
Case in point….we have the same cords plugged into our USB chargers…I may have one more than he does. Before we left for our camping trip, I attempted to wrap all of my cords around the charger base the way he does. I had a worse mess than if I would have just followed protocol and stuffed them in my bag. [full disclosure: when he pulled his neatly packed cords out yesterday there was some sniffing and snorting because his were a mess too] and (full disclosure: I turned my back to him and snickered)
After I crammed all of my cords down the side of the dresser in the bedroom.
I looked over at his side
Beautiful day at Bennett Spring today. We took a couple of walks and I Pretty much sat outside under the awning and read most of the day.
He relaxed too but with spurts of getting up and organizing things. If opposites attract we have a perfect marriage ❤️
Until next time
After the flood in May 2017, this bridge was closed for a time so engineers could determine the safety of crossing it. I, personally, could answer that question prior to the flood and I am not an engineer although I can mark “some college” on applications. If that’s not enough, I will tell you that pulling a 30 foot 5th wheel over it is not safe for my mental health….thankfully as a result of the flood it is now only safe for passenger vehicles. 🙄
My thinking has always been that you don’t stick your tongue on a frozen swing set in winter, you don’t stick metal wires in electric outlets and you don’t drive over this bridge unless there is no other way out and someone is chasing you wearing a hockey mask and his name is Jason.
Until next time…..
We’ve been all up into the history of Bennett Spring since I accidentally found some information on the Department of Interior website last night.
Today we attempted to find some of the CCC buildings built in the 30s…there are several of them still here and I love that fact. While creeping around this morning, the fish hatchery manager found us and wow…..he was a plethora of information and he loved sharing it. I’m waiting for him to send me some pictures he has of the building of the new damn in 1960.
The old dam abutments are still there and we could actually see the reinforcements in the water but could not get pictures because of the reflection. He is standing on one end of it.
The stone bridge built by the civilian conservation Corp. Arches turned sideways designating CCC.
Today and then. Then was a hotel. An elderly gentleman who blasted the horn for the beginning of trout season 2017 shared stories of the hotel where he and his wife stayed…rooms went for $2.50 a night
Of course, the lodge which hasn’t changed much.
And this building which has been many things…currently restrooms
So…now he is off to catch some of these
Until next time…..
The brother-in-law and the bestie came for a visit Friday night and Saturday. Obviously ordered by the mental health angels. We began our trip to Bennett Spring feeling loved and centered!
As happens every time we drive down into the park my heart sang with old memories of happiness and making new memories with him. After setting up, we headed to the lodge for dinner at 4:30 …. exactly the way old people are supposed to do it. I have hope every time we are here that the food will improve but I swear they can’t even pull off a tasty hamburger…we are repeat customers mostly because of the ambiance and history. The lodge along with most all of the other buildings and bridges here were built by the CCC in the 30’s.
After dinner we hit the park store to check for off season sales and to scope out my future purchases.
We bought a couple of ball caps which were a necessity because it started raining. After a hot and humid day on the stream, rain brings on the eerie fog which roles from the spring down the stream. Fisherman actually are lost from View by the fog.
…..and when we got back to the campsite…
I had a wonderful extended weekend Minnesota camping trip with him and our niece, Christina as well as a couple visits with his brother and wife which also happens to be the Christina’s father. Escaping the oppressive KC heat and humidity was wonderful…we couldn’t have picked better weather for a visit to Minnesota! One of the best parts of the trip was the non-stop conversation with Christina while traveling to and from. We live in the same metro area but seldom see each other face to face…that needs to change!
…and I’m also finally able to say, yes…I’ve been kayaking. It was one of those things that I really wanted to do but the unknown filled me with anxiety.
We rented kayaks at a conservation area about 10 minutes from our campground. He and I ended up in a double because there were not 3 singles. What we learned was its not like canoe paddling…different technique…and we are incapable of developing an insync rythm. Once we made it through the reeds and into the open water, I loved it. I’m thinking fall might be a great time to buy his and her kayaks…..
We also visited the Minnesota State Public School for dependent and neglected children museum and cemetery in Owatana, MN. – a place I won’t soon forget!
Until next time….
When we got back to Bennett Spring tonight, we took a walk along the stream closest to the actual spring. As frequently happens at dusk after warm, humid days the fog hangs over the stream. We’ve experienced the fog so thick that anglers were totally enveloped…
He picked up a trout tag for tomorrow so there will be fishing! Rex and Diane Hall will be here from Iowa. It will be a perfect day with or without trout.
Counting my blessings!
Until next time….
Finally quit sprinkling in the afternoon. Jax spent the night with us and was up bright and cheerful for his full day of camping. He got to spend some time before the rain with Papa in the campground park. Slides got another full wipe down with towels meaning Gma has some laundry to do when we get home.
Hooved animals today. bisom were more than willing to eat the carrots and apples we provided but the elk missed out. Jax got a kick out of feeding them and attempting to throw the apples over the high fence.
He took an afternoon nap in his own bed, then Brought his mom, dad and little brother to the campground for supper and a campfire with s’mores although he sees no necessity in toasting the marshmallows.
The set up of Lake Jacomo, the campground and Fleming Park is perfect. I will assume the area is very busy in the summer. We will be back!
Home in the morning for some R&R!
Until next time….