On this segment of the trip our roads getting into the campground were MUCH easier than the winery! We had a short drive to just west of St. Louis to Lazy Day Campground in Danville, MO.
Not all campgrounds are created equal and we are learning that what is acceptable to the campground owners might not be our preferred way of camping. Lazy Days is a very cute, kitschy, campground with lots of art work scattered about the pool and between the sites. The biggest issue with this park is that the sites are VERY close together to the point that we had to pull in our awning to let our neighbors pull out and on the other side their pop-up awning was only a few feet from the side of our coach. When the wind picked up we had to ask them to secure it as it was banging into the side of the coach. All of the sites are gravel with small strips of grass so it wasn’t amenable to setting out lawn chairs but we were able to use our grill. The cell service wasn’t the greatest but the park WiFi was excellent so we were able to stream Netfilx to catch up on some of our shows.
Returning to the personality traits you need to have to be a full-timer, one is being resourceful. Having at least one person in the RV that is a good DIY sort of person really is essential. We are fortunate that Jon is such a handy kind of guy! He had to repair the passenger captain’s chair as the latch that releases it to turn came undone. One afternoon’s worth of effort and all was ready again for the road. It’s also fabulous that he understands the electrical system so well. We were under the Mid-West Dome of Fire all week. We had several days over 100° with a heat index of 114°. We had all three A/C units going full blast and if we wanted to use any of the other major appliances one unit would have to be turned off. Jon was able to manage the electrical systems so we only blew the breaker once!
Due to the heat we had to limit our time outside. It was in the 90’s by mid morning so we planned any outdoor activities for early in the day. We trekked over to Graham Cave State Park for a lovely morning walk. Though you cannot go very far into the cave anymore, you can see how great a home it would have been for nomads 10,000 years ago. We tagged this walk the spider walk as we had gone so early in the morning we were the first people on the trails and the spiders had built incredible webs every few feet across the gap in the vegetation.
The pool was our only other above ground outside activity!
Not that we plan to have all of our excursions be caverns, but with the temps so high, it just made sense to go where it would be 58°. Meramec Caverns was about an hour and a half from the campsite but it really was enticing to get out of the heat. Sitting on the Meramec River these caverns are similar to the Ohio Caverns as they are carved out of limestone, though where OH Caverns were incredibly colorful, the Meramec Caverns had to have the most formations in any one cave system we have ever seen.
Each cave system we have been in tries to make their tour unique and Meramec did not disappoint. Near the end of the tour they had a colorful light show on one of their largest curtain formations. One quirky item: They had background music of God Bless America sung by Celine Dion. Now we love Celine but it was odd having a Canadian singing “America, my home sweet home”.
On the way back from the caverns we took the back roads through picturesque farms and wineries up to Hermann, MO. The tourist brochures touted it as a historic German town with lots of German restaurants. We found a quaint small town that pretty much had closed up at 5 pm. We did find an excellent bistro type restaurant Harvest Table that had a bit of German fare.
With the rest of the week in the dangerous heat zone we stayed in the RV with a few quick shopping trips and one other dinner out. One goal we have is to not eat in the national chain restaurants, but more in the local eateries. When it got to hot to cook we went into Montgomery City to
Cafe 19, the perfect hometown restaurant! We knew it would be good when we saw the local constabulary coming in for dinner!
You might have noticed the new US map on the sidebar. A lot of RV’ers keep track of the states they have been in, though each have different requirements for claiming the state on their map. We’ll leave it to your imagination as to what different RV’ers use to determine what qualifies, but for us, it will be whether or not we have spent the night in the state and spent time exploring it. We will have to make it back to Indiana as we drove straight through the state without stopping on our way to the winery in IL.
Up next is more of MO and more time in the Mid-West Dome of Fire.