We recently had the pleasure of visiting one of Missouri’s newer state parks, Echo Bluff, for 5 weeknights in our beloved travel trailer. Echo Bluff, formerly Camp Zoe, is near the town of Eminence where the land is hilly, the roads are curvy, and the trees are aplenty.
The first part of our week was hot, hot, hot. Who would have expected it to be 95 degrees on October 1st? On these days, we did our hiking and walking well before breakfast because by 10 am, it was time for the A/C to come on and the trailer awning to come out. We spent a couple afternoons playing Scrabble (big surprise!), reading, watching the Cardinals, and having our meals.
|at Round Spring|
One of the days, we took a day trip to the Eminence area where we visited Round Spring and Alley Spring. Eminence is about a 35 minute drive from the park. After we saw the 2 springs, we went to a couple shops in Eminence, had dinner at Martin’s Country Cafe, and got gas. Ha ha. No, not that kind of gas. The meal was actually quite good. We needed fuel for our Ford Expedition, as we often do, when pulling our travel trailer.
Fortunately, our last full day there, the weather cooled off, and we had much needed relief. We could be outside!! This day, we really enjoyed the park, and we walked to our heart’s content.
|Can’t you just see the activities of long ago?|
|Painter Ridge Trail|
|Painter Ridge Trail and Dan|
Regardless of the midday temperatures, the mornings were wonderful. Each morning as I stepped out of the trailer, I was met with a nice temperature, the quiet of a new day, the view of the surrounding hills, and the sun making its way above. As I waited for Dan to wake, my diet coke and I took a walk around the campground. Only a few other morning folk were out, usually with a coffee mug in hand, but always with a good morning and a nod. We are the morning tribe, and we love the quiet start of a new day.
|Good Morning, Echo Bluff!|
Our 5 days were over soon enough, and we headed for home, all the way discussing where we’ll go next, and then where, and then where, and then where. You get the idea, but I also write this blog, so you’ll get ideas, hopefully to inspire or give a thought for your travels. Here’s our takeaways from our Echo Bluff State Park trip:
1) On the way there, we took Highway 44. We got off St. James exit for Highway 68 to Salem and then Highway 19 to Echo Bluff. This is a good way to go if you like the combination of roller coasters and go carts. Not us. So going home, we took Highway 19 to Salem but then Highway 72 from Salem to Rolla and Highway 44. Highway 72 is far less curvy. It’s a few more miles, maybe 10 minutes, but for us, a much more enjoyable ride.
2) If you go in the summer, expect it to be very hot. The creek and spring on property do provide cool, clear water to play in for refreshment, but don’t forget your water shoes, like I did.
3) Get your gas near Highway 44 or in Eminence. There are 2 gas stations in Eminence, but there are no gas stations once you get traveling down the road.
4) Don’t expect to see wild horses at Echo Bluff. We were told they’ve been relocated due to issues of being too near to people, too often. Some people did tell us they saw a group of wild horses near Round Spring. Wild horses or not, the area is beautiful, and worth the trip.
|Somebody should paint this!|
5) If you have little ones, the park has a really cool looking playground. There’s also a splash pad for the little ones.
6) Do visit Alley Spring. This is a lovely area with a picturesque old, red mill at the stream ready and posing for painters and photographers. There is also an historic school on site and a small visitor center. There is a picnic pavilion and a number of picnic tables. We sat by the stream, in the shade, and enjoyed a cool breeze . We were quite comfortable even though it was one of the hot days. It was the perfect place to … play Scrabble.
7) I am not sure what caused it, maybe the heat, but one evening, we were out of power from about 6 pm to 11:18 pm. Fortunately, the day’s heat was gone, but we had no power, no lights, no contact with the outside world, no texting, and no news of the Blues home opener. We were also told to conserve water as there is an electric pump which brings the water in. Oh. no.
Fortunately, I remembered we had a torch light, given to us last Christmas by Michael and Allie, which provided our only light. This is a rechargeable light, so we don’t have to worry about keeping batteries on hand for emergencies, like this one. In addition, we can recharge our cell phones with this light, quite a feature when there is not any power.
So, takeaway #7 is to get a torch light like this and visit with your neighbors under the stars while you wait for the power to come back on.
8) Do look up and behold the wonder of the night sky. We could see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, the big dipper, a few planets, a sliver of a bright moon. Perhaps one may ponder the mysteries of the universe on a cool, clear night such as this. We did ponder, just a bit, but more so, we thought about where, God willing, we’re going next for our final RV trip in 2019.
|All we need is gas!|