So we left out on Monday, plan was to head to Lake of the Ozarks for a few days but the drive Monday was to get us closer. We don't have a strict rule when traveling but do try and keep the drives to around 250 miles.
Day one ended at Chapin, Ill. just west of Springfield. Wendy searches out Passport America parks and found Buena Vista Farms Campground on the list. We pulled in at about 2:30 so time for a few short strolls in the park and then guess what? They have private ponds so a little time to cast a line and relax. I did catch a few small bass and quite a few blue gill but kept nothing. While I did that Wendy spent her time on a couple pine needle baskets- ahhhh!- finally relaxing.
Day two got us into Lake of The Ozarks State Park, we had not made a reservation and asked for a non reservable site. We scored nicely getting a site right on the lake. Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful area and we were hitting it at almost peak fall colors. Not visually as grand as many areas it still boast pretty autumn shades and seeing the leaves drop into the water is a site.
The first bridge over Mill Creek spans 125 feet has had more recent repairs it is covered by corrugated steel panels causing quite a noisy crossing. The second bridge, Au Glaize Bridge at 400 feet still contains the wooden planks, some looking to be in dire need of repair.
Another day we drove about the area and checked out a large outlet mall, we didn't spend much time doing that as the weather was to nice to be inside. I almost forgot we checked out Ozarks Distillery although they only do tours on Saturdays.
Friday we made a trip to nearby Ha Ha Tonka State Park. This is a neat day use park that holds numerous unique geology features including a natural bridge, a steep sinkhole named the Coliseum, a couple caves, and Ha Ha Tonka Spring- discharging 48 million gallons of water daily.
It also boast the remains of a huge castle, this was started in 1905 by wealthy businessman Robert M. Snyder. Construction halted a year later with Snyders untimely death, one of Missouri's first auto fatalities. Eventually his sons completed their fathers dream although not as elaborate as he had planned. The property eventually leased as a hotel until a fire erupted in 1942 from sparks from a chimney. It also destroyed a carriage house nearby, a water tower was later destroyed by a fire caused from vandals. Today only the stone remains are left to be seen.
There are nice trails and boardwalks that make it easy for visitors to explore and views from bluff overlooks that gave awesome fall colors.