Friday I rushed home a bit early from work to load up the van and pack a cooler. Then I got pumpkin from school and off we went to the Ozarks. She ate a nacho lunchable on the drive and as we got close to the lake we stopped at Eldon in a drive in greasy burger place and got burgers, onion rings and fries. They were really good and filling but Banana Splits was the specialty and we were excited to start off our weekend so got one.
We tried pretty hard but could not finish it. The rest of the drive was pretty windy and deserted. We eventually got to the state park outpost cabins and got parked. There are 8 cabins, we had cabin 3 and I think only 1 and 2 were also booked. There were 8 other vehicles in the lot when we got there and after looking a bit no carts or anything. We checked out the bathrooms then picked up a load of gear and headed down to the cabin. The key was in a little lock box like real estate folks use, so we got it and let ourselves in.
It was fairly cold outside and since the cabin had been empty for at least a week it was about the same temperature. We turned on the 1 little light inside dug our flashlight out of the gear and headed back for another load of gear. On our 2nd trip the guys in cabin 2 saw us and returned 1 of the 2 carts there and we got the last of our gear down in the cart. First things first I turned our heater on heat high and got a fire going in the little stove.
Pumpkin unpacked our sleeping bags and assembled the loft. I helped her run a string of xmas lights up there that made the whole cabin way brighter. There were 6 outlets in the whole place. 2 for the heater/ac unit, 1 for the microwave, 1 for the refrigerator and 2 for us. I plugged in a surge protector and ran an extension cord to the loft for our xmas lights and my cell phone charger. We plugged in a wifi hot spot for internet and got some music playing on the laptop.
Pumpkin unpacked the cooler and other food and found a good spot for our lantern. We also put some towels up over the windows in the loft. The room started warming up but was still a bit chili. We were too excited for bed so we broke out a game and started playing.
At bedtime we loaded up the stove, dressed warm, opened the microwave as a night light and crawled into our sleeping bags. I read for about 30 minutes then went down and crammed another log into the fire before bed.
I woke up at 4am and the heater was still running but the stove was dark and it was pretty cool. I went down to add some wood and found the stove cool and empty besides a little ash. I decided to go back to bed instead of starting a new fire.
We slept int till almost 8 I think and then it was sunny. Right away I got a new fire going.
(oh yeah warning, I got a fish eye lens for my cell phone for xmas)
So here you see the fridge and microwave between a futon and the stove. The ladder to the loft and just barely on the right of the picture is the box they filled with wood for us.
and here is Izzy in the loft with a bed on each side. These beds are about a foot off the 4 on a 6 inch vinal pad and probably big enough for 2 adults on each if they like to be snuggled in. At the foot of each bed is a little storage box built in.
Down below you have our blue water jug and the kitchen table. The whole place had lots of little hooks and shelves that were really nice.
So we got the stove going and then I got the propane burner going w/ a pot of water on it. It was going slow so we added water to the top of the stove.
Actually we kept that cast iron pan on the stove all the time to add water to the air. We made oatmeal, coffee and hot coco and the cabin really warmed up nice. I turned the heater down to heat low. It was still pretty cool outside and Pumpkin was excited about this months Home Depot workshop so we headed into town to build a valentine box.
The place was packed but we got a spot and had fun. We tried to think of anything else to do “in town” but could not so headed back. The city of Osage Beach was really close but the windy state park ozark roads took us about 20 min to get through.
The cabin was about 3 times this far to the car/shower/water/bathroom.
I picked the farthest away one because we could barely see any other cabins and we were really close to the water. Out front we had 2 benches around a campfire.
I had some work work to do and Izzy had some drawings to get done so we had some work time. We decided to slow cook lunch on the stove while we worked.
The silver pot had noodles in it. Once they were done I diced up some of the sausage and Pumpkin added the cheese and we mixed it all together.
Then we had one of favorite camp meals that seems to come out on every trip.
We had been waiting for the sun to come back or at least for things to warm up but it was not happening. So we built up the stove bundled up and headed out for a hike. We went down to the lake shore and started following it.
We stuck to it mostly and even when there was a trail near it Pumpkin wanted to make our own path.
It was about a 20 min drive to town but it was only 1.5 miles along the lake and through the woods.
When we made it to town we could see several restaurants and bars and stuff but Pumpkin really wanted a break. We went into the first restaurant even though we were stuffed from lunch and they had a 20 min wait for a table but they had nice soft benches in the waiting area so we relaxed and tied her shoes up then went back outside. We went to the closest ice cream shop and picked out what we wanted then found out they were closed when we got to the counter. So we walked to the 2nd closest ice cream shop.
No seating but the Mexican place next door was happy to let us in. We split chips and queso and I had a margarita.
Refueled with sugar and tequila we were excited for the trip back.
When hiking Pumpkin talks pretty non stop and her favorite is to tell me jokes she makes up on the fly. I can only handle 2-3 of these at a time so I try to keep her mind on anything else I can thing to explain.
We took about the same route back but I talked her into the trail for part of it
and we stopped for rests when we found nice spots.
Once back we found the cabin to be nice and toasty. Pumpkin took a feet break and warmed up
I went outside and started another fire.
and had my own feet break.
Pumpkin loves the hammock and headed out to take it from me and read her book. The sun came out also just in time for some nice sunset views.
We moved closer to the fire and cooked burgers and then built up the fire big to stay warm. Once we had room we cooked smores. They were odd and we used oatmeal cookies instead of gram crackers, reeses peanut butter cups instead of chocolate and the marshmallows were little pumpkins.
Then we spread the fire out and went up the hill to brush our teeth and use the bathrooms. Actually we kept a 5 gallon bucket at the cabin for late night bathroom trips too.
When we got in the cabin and it felt like it was 90F. I had kept a big fire in the stove all day and started to suspect Heat low was way warmer then Heat high. It was so uncomfortable I did not load any wood in the fire and I turned the heater off for a while. Just before I went to bed I turned it back on but it was still pretty warm all night.
For breakfast we tried out a different stove and it was way quicker.
Our coffee and hot coco was ready in no time and the sweet potatoes and sausage were not far behind.
Breakfast was great but Pumpkin was in a hurry to eat and get the bikes out.
The cabin was plenty warm and the day was a lot warmer so after building up the fire right after waking I just let it die out. We got the bikes out and hit the road.
It was a really nice morning for it and we rode around and checked out the closed campsites and saw several deer. The Ozarks are really hilly though and Pumpkin was a little bummed on how hard it was to get places.
After a little break….
… we went back to the lake for a hike.
Thats our cabin behind us. We followed the shore the other way and looked for treasures.
and worked on learning to whistle.
We hiked until she got tired of me telling her I was hungry and wanted to go back and make some lunch.
After lunch we took it easy. I ended up taking a shower and doing a little work. The afternoon was really nice and warm. We stopped in town and got her some shoes that fit better and went off for another hike.
I really liked this hike and the rewarding bluff view was right at the 1/2 way point.
The parking lot had a gate out front that said it closed at sunset. We had not seen any other hikers in a while and the sun was setting so the way back I was a little worried.
So we moved to a jog on flat areas that were smooth, walk the down hills and Pumpkin hop on my back for the uphills. We got back in plenty of time for her to do the monkey bars 6 times and give me a chance to catch my breath.
I was also in a little hurry because the super bowl was starting. We had talked about watching it on a laptop by the firepit or at a BBQ place or a few other places but after the hike we really wanted pizza so went to Pappo’s. It was rated the best around on Yelp and they brewed beer. It was perfect.
We got a table right in front of a TV and had cold drinks in no time.
We started with a few chicken wings. Then ended when they were gone got an 8inch Hawaiian pizza. We both engulfed our halves of the pizza so decided to try the cheeseburger because it was so loaded with pickles.
Pumpkin was not as hungry as she thought and ate 1 piece and 1 extra pickle and saved the rest for me. We finished about the same time as the 2nd half and hung out to watch the 1/2 time show. She didn’t think she knew any Lady Gaga songs before hand but sang along with all of them once she heard them.
Somehow she had room for ice cream so after dinner we went back to Andy’s. Then we brushed our teeth and got ready for bed. 3rd times the charm and the room was a great temp. Pumpkin read to me facts about animals while I watched the game.
Then she went to bed and I quietly watched overtime and went to bed.
At midnight she woke up with a tummy ache then barfed in our bucket. We took off her pillow case, cleaned everything up and cleaned out the bucket. She felt better and we went back to bed. At 1am the same thing, at 2am the same thing. At 3am she didn’t get up in time and got her blanket and sleeping bag all messed up.
I took it outside and washed it off as best I could but it was too wet and stinky to bring in. We almost packed up to head home but ended up turning the heater up a bit, opening my bag all the way up and putting towels on top of us. Then we slept through the night. We got up at 8am and she thought she felt better but didn’t want to do much and didn’t want to eat anything. She packed up the upstairs and I packed up the downstairs and we got the room all cleaned out and back to normal. It started sprinkling as we hauled stuff to the van.
We locked our key back in the box and left the cabin.
The rain stopped as we got to the end of the park so we got out and stretched our legs a bit and got ready for the drive. Pumpkin was pretty quiet and didn’t want anything to eat on the drive so we went pretty quick and I just grabbed a sandwich at the gas station. She spent the rest of the day watching movies from tub and felt fine at dinner.