Springfield, IL to Branson, MO

July 30, 2015

It was a cloudless, cooler morning. The heat and humidity hadn’t arrived yet. We were up and ready to go, leaving at 7:15 after a good night’s sleep. We passed field-upon-field of corn and green beans in Southwest Illinois as we headed for the Mississippi River and St. Louis. As we neared St. Louis, we missed our turn for I-255 around the city, but we only had to go 4 miles and just a couple of minutes out of our way. Back on track as we motored on the beltline around the city, we got near enough to get a good view of the famous St. Louis Arch.

 
 
The traffic got heavy as we neared St. Louis during the end of rush hour. The terrain became hilly with rocky outcroppings as we approached the bridge over the Mississippi River.

 
 
The Mississippi River had many barges working on the river in both directions.

 
 
The river also serves as the boundary between Illinois and Missouri.

 
 
Once we got farther away from St. Louis, the traffic grew lighter and more rocky hills emerged.

 
 
We discovered that I-44 continued to run parallel to the famous Route 66, which was the only major East-West highway in the south at the time, running between Chicago, Illinois and Santa Monica, California.

 
 
We learned that Route 66 opened up portions of America not previously accessible by a modern road system. Route 66 helped to create a redistribution of America’s population during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years. This created an interest in America’s first super highway. Eventually, Route 66 was replaced and bypassed by the Interstate Highway System, I-44. Much of the old road is still in place. Throughout the states where you could find Route 66 , it is designated on maps and roads by the State Highway 66 symbol. “Get your kicks on Route 66”.

 
 
This scenic highway took us through the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozark Mountains. Climbing up and over the Ozark Mountains was quite a treat.

 
 
The truck was down to 30 mph doing some of those very steep climbs. Going downhill was a little nerve-wracking as the truck with the trailer in tow picked up (too much) speed , but the view was spectacular!

 
 
The road to our campground, Table Rock State Park, was off the beaten path, but the view at the overlook of Table Rock Dam and Lake Taneycomo (that is really more like a river) was beautiful.

 
 
 
 
The overlook also gave us a great view of the city itself.

 
 
Once we got to the campground, we had to fill up our water tank before going to our campsite. Our site only had electricity, no water hookup.

 
 
We arrived at our site about 2:00 and set up. It was a pleasant 89 degrees and the campground was half full. Tomorrow begins the weekend and we were told that the place is going to fill up.

 
 
The sites are nicely spaced apart with shade trees. Auggie was loving being outside after the 7 hour, 354 mile drive. We hung out at the campground until it was time for supper. 

 
 
We treated ourselves to steaks on the grill and took our usual evening walk down to the lake and the marina. There was flooding of the piers that made it difficult for people to get out to their boats in the marina. We’ll have to find out what caused all the flooding.

 
 
We walked around the marina checking out the boats and all the activities that the marina has to offer. Auggie got his fill of little girls and boys fawning all over him. He loved all the attention.

 
 
We inquired about renting a boat to get out on Table Rock Lake and see what there is to see. The marina was hustling with activity of people returning from their day out on the water with their water toys. From the marina, we could see Table Rock, from which the area gets it’s name.

 
 
We took a slow walk back to our campsite as more campers arrived. We were all tired from a long drive today, so we turned in early. Tomorrow we’ll go into Branson. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and clear skies.

 
 

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