Saturday, Aug 18
Tom spent time last winter planning a summer camping trip to visit various caves – Tom’s Great Cave Caper! Having a theme to plan around made it easy to plot a route through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia, searching out caves. . . and other points of interest. First stop – a visit with Micah and dinner at City Bar-B-Que followed by an overnight at nearby East Fork State Park.
Sunday, Aug 19
After we navigated across Cincinnati into Indiana, we followed Route 50 along the Ohio River and then angled up on familiar roads through Bloomington, Bean Blossom, Yellow Wood, Little Nashville – all popular spots around beautiful Brown County State Park. We crossed into Illinois (time change!) and reached our destination of Lincoln Trails State Park by 1:30. Large trees, clean, grassy campsites and almost totally deserted on a Sunday afternoon! Later we were to find out that there were two campgrounds and we had checked into site #40 of the wrong one. Later, as we walked the dogs, we stumbled on the other campground right next door – deeply wooded, no grass and no bath/shower houses!
Monday, Aug 20
A drippy, rainy morning made us glad that we had not unhooked yesterday - - - quick take-off at 8:00 . . . and a short distance to drive. We slashed through Illinois, crossing the Mississippi River, Passing the St. Louis Arch, and entering Missouri by noon . . . destination Meramec State Park and Meramec Caverns. It was here that we spent our very first night in our TAB teardrop with Caleb 14 years ago on our way to Yellowstone. A photographer was out scouting photos for the new Missouri State Parks pamphlet and website; he decided we were the prime representation of camping and our photos graced the promotional pamphlet for several years!
With schools back in session, the campground was mostly vacant. The Meramec River flows nearby and there are warning signs along the roads about the possibility of flooding as well as a lot of silt build-up from previous flooding.
In the afternoon we drove to the visitor’s center to watch the 20-minute movie about the area, and pick up information to plan our tour of the park. Tom also bought two bundles of wood with an evening fire in mind, which we had after a steak dinner and a bottle of our favorite Lancer’s wine. We didn’t linger around the fire very long as the air stilled and humidity and mosquitoes settled in. Inside we watched two episodes of the Season 1 of Get Smart – a gift from Micah!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown