Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, AL

Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, AL

We spent a week here in July on our way east. As expected, it was hot and humid most days but our site was shady and that helped cut the temperature down by about 10 degrees. This area, including Huntsville and Decatur have played and continue to play a key role in the US space exploration efforts. We were excited to be able to explore some of the activities here.

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Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, TN

Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, TN

We spent the 4th of July week at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee, just 30 miles west of Nashville. Having never been to Tennessee, I was so excited to see the sights. Our first day there turned out to be an unusual one! With an unusually large amount of sheriff’s department, park rangers on foot and on horseback, and a large mobile trailer labeled ‘Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’ we thought maybe we had missed the banjo music or they were raiding stills in the area! Lol. Turns out the annual convention for the “National Solutions Conference” rented out the conference center, inn and restaurant in the state park for the weekend. This is a White Supremacist group and they had the KKK grand wizard, David Duke, as the keynote speaker along with speakers from “Make America White Again” and South African white nationalists. As you can imagine huge protests were expected and the police force was there to keep the peace. Our campground was full and thankfully away from the convention center so we were not involved except for the experience. We were in town shopping, etc. so we were able to miss most of it.

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Canal Campground, Grand Rivers, KY

Canal Campground, Grand Rivers, KY

Grand Rivers is the first of many upcoming stops where we will be adding a new state to the list of places we have camped. The campground here was very nice with lots of large trees, spacious sites for the most part, and plenty of wildlife including squirrels, birds, turkeys and deer. Our site was a short walk away from the Barkley Canal which connects Lake Barkley to Kentucky Lake allowing barge traffic to move up the Cumberland River and into the Tennessee River where it can connect with the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico. We saw big barges and heard many more along with a large number of speed boats as they navigated the canal.

Big barge going through the canal

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Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, Middlebrook, MO

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, Middlebrook, MO

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is nestled in the St. Francois Mountains of eastern Missouri and nearby to the Taum Sauk Mountain which is the highest point in Missouri – a whopping 1,772 feet above sea level! The Shut-Ins is a type of rock formation found in streams where they carve through a mountain range, creating rivulets, rapids and plunge pools. These rock formations resist erosion and are confined to a narrow valley or canyon, with the river valley widening out both above and below. The Johnson’s Shut-In has clear, cool water, deep pools throughout with many waterfalls as the water works its way thru the rocks and a large deep pool area at the end. The river is unnavigable, even by canoe, due to the rapids and narrow channels. It was another rainy day as we walked the trail around the shut-in and watched brave people jumping into the deep pools of water from the high rocks surrounding the river. Even though the water was so clear they were a lot braver than us! The Ozarks are simply beautiful and we were anxious to see more. The trail continued straight up the side of the mountain but because of the very slippery mud we turned around and decided to play it safe stay on the lower trail along the river.

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Ozark Highlands, Springfield, MO

Ozark Highlands, Springfield, MO

We stayed here for two weeks in June of 2019 while visiting Anna’s uncle John. This is a good alternative to the KOA where we have stayed before as it is lower cost and much closer to John’s house. The park has been here since the 1940’s and is primarily designed for mobile homes but they have included sites for short term stays in RV’s and for longer term stays (over a month) you would be placed on a mobile home site. Mobile homes in the park range from very well kept to some being in need of some TLC but overall the park has aged well unlike most mobile home parks.

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