Happy 4th of July from the Lake

I was in a big hurry to get out of town after work Friday. It seemed like we were mostly packed up but it still seemed like forever to get everything in the van. Eventually KK, Chiaki, Pumpkin Heath and I were loaded up and off we went. Traffic and a big construction project slowed us down but eventually we made it to our first stop.

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The Wheel Inn Drive In is in Sedalia, MO and home to the Gubberburger.

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Never heard of a Guberburger? It’s a lot like a normal burger but has soft creamy peanut butter on top of the burger, or in KK and my case between the two patties on a double and between the bacon and burger on Heath’s.
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I think Kevin put it best when he told me “It’s not awesome, just better then expected. Oh, and you may need two…” He was right two singles or two doubles would have been better then just one double and the taste of PB and beef goes together just fine but it didn’t blow our minds or anything.

After dinner we were about 1/2 way and rushed on for another hour and a half to the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. I had reserved a spot so when we pulled up I just told them my name and what spot we had then filled out a little card and off we went. It was getting dark fast so we made a plan to focus on getting the tent up and wood collected first. IMG_0915 Our site was just about the farthest from the front gate as you could get so we got to drive through the entire campground to get it and watch everyone else get set up and check out where everything is. We came to the same park last year and even checked on our old spot. Our new spot was not quite as flat or shaded as the old spot but it was closer to the lake.  IMG_0902
(picture not taken that night but you can kinda see the layout and the lake just past the other row of campers)

We got the tent up and wood collected as quick as we could then we fired up some lanterns, started the fire, cracked some beers and unpacked and set up for the weekend. Everything went pretty quick and once we were settled my stomach reminded me of the small burger we had for dinner so we broke out some hot dogs.

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I cut them in half and opened a package of biscuits and made some little pigs in blankets.

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We put them on sticks and slowly grilled them over the fire. The biscuits got fluffy and crispy and the hot dogs plump.

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We dipped them in catsup and mustard and they were really good. We had a box of wine so switched to wine as we snacked and around 11 the campground got quiet and we all went to bed. Pumpkin had a great night and got us up around 8 or so as she was eager to explore the tent and campsite.  IMG_0755

We started off the morning by lighting a small fire and boiling up some coffee on a backpacker camp stove. IMG_0757

I had already made some really good bacon so we just warmed it on the fire, toasted some bagels and fried up a bunch of eggs.

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We had a bunch of fruit and some Irish cream in our coffee. The bacon egg sandwiches were really good but mine squired me when I took a bite.

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After breakfast we cleaned up a bit and put away everything. I looked at the map and picked out a trail that was in the wild area.

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I didn’t really know anything about it but it sounded cool so we drove there and got some water and prepared for a hike. We found the trail and discovered it would be a 6 mile loop. We were not sure if we wanted to go that far but figured we could always turn around if we ran out of water or got too hot.

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Heath took the lead and set a quick pace right from the start. It was a great trail with some thick woods around it and a lot of changing scenery.  IMG_0768

We hiked for about 45min strait before coming across what looked like a small cold spring coming out from some rocks. We wet down our faces and decided to hike the rest of the way around.  IMG_0772

We hiked and hiked and talked about taking another break but never really saw a good spot to sit down. Pumpkin slept in the pack most of the hike and I feared a stop would wake her. Eventually we got into a more open area and Pumpkin woke up and we found tons of blackberry bushes.  IMG_0774

We ate several delicious berries then continued on. Once we reached the end of the loop and the van KK and I went back down the trail a few feet and grabbed a bunch of logs. We put them in the van for firewood. Then we all sat on a wood fence and had an ice cold natty to cool off with.

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Pumpkin was a bit restless from all the riding around so she got down and walked around holding the fence for balance.  IMG_0785

We headed back to camp and grabbed our swimming gear then went strait to the beach for more cooling off. The beach was really unique with big black rock stairs and a gravely bottom but somehow I didn’t take any pictures.

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(here is KK and I swiming in a different spot later on)

We thought about grilling at the beach and going back and forth from the water to the grill but Pumpkin was getting tired again so after cooling off we went back to camp. I started a fire and loaded it up with corn, burgers and brauts.  IMG_0793

Pumpkin had some peaches and felt much better. Once she was done eating we had our brauts, corn and some really tasty burgers covered in bacon, cilantro, onions and cheddar.  IMG_0798

We ate everything and it was all ready good. We had some coals in the fire still so tried to get a start on dinner by lining the dutch oven with foil and then biscuits all squished together into a deep dish pizza crust.
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We sealed it up and added some dieing coals hoping that the dough would expand and cook and be ready for a pizza at dinner. However we checked it a short time later and everything was burnt to a crisp. I tried to cut away some of the burnt part and discovered the bottom was even worse.

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After dinner was kind of ruined, KK and I went to look for good swimming spots besides the beach. The beach was close but we had to get in the car and drive there and you could not have cans and bottles on the actual beach. The first spot we went was kind of muddy and you had to wade halfway across the lake before the water got deep. Then we went around the corner and found it was flat and rocky. We got the girls and a cooler and all went for a swim just a few feet from our campsite.  IMG_0805

It was a pretty nice spot and we all had fun playing around and staying cool.

Then we headed back to our campsite and laid out a big sleeping bag outside and made a make shift baby jail. Pumpkin will put anything in her mouth so we didn’t really let her crawl around because in no time she would be full of rocks, bugs, grass, and sticks. IMG_0823

She crawled around and we had a few bottles of freestate beer. We had some wheat and some stout and it was all really good. Pumpkin was ready to explore and was totally a monkey trying to climb over everything.  IMG_0819

It started to cool off a bit so we went for a walk. We wanted to get a good look at all the campsites and RVs and other campers. We walked around close to 200 campsites and made our way all the way to the front gate and back. Pumpkin was worn out from the swimming and climbing and passed out in the front pack on the walk.
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When she woke up her neck was pretty stiff and we gave her some Motrin and Heath massaged her till she was normal again. We decided to postpone our deep dish pizza plans and have our other dinner. I cut up some chicken breast and stuck them in the pot and added some onion and green pepper while they cooked. Then I added two packets of rice and some water. Once the rice absorbed most of the water I added a bunch of fresh broccoli and some diced bacon and then topped it all with cheese. It was ready really quick and we were hungry and dug in.

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We ate the whole pot then cleaned up and walked over to the amphitheater to watch some show about snakes. Pumpkin was really tired and instead of falling asleep she got fussy so I walked her back to the campsite and put her in bed while everyone else watched the show. I built up the fire and started the lanterns after Pumpkin was sleeping.  Every night we had deer come within about 10 yards of our tent. They were super tame and didn’t seem to mind us being there at all. When everyone got back from the show we put together a strawberry cobbler.

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We were a little hungry but mostly tired so we tried to make it cook quick and put lots of heat on it.

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As soon as it was cooked we ate up the whole thing then got ready for bed. Pumpkin got up at 4 and needed to eat and acted like she may not go back to sleep for a while but luckily she did and then slept in the next morning. KK, Chiaki and I went to the store first thing in the morning for more ice. On our way back it started to rain. We packed up the tent tight and put our wood under the table and anything we would need in the car then we left our campsite for the day. We drove down the road and all took showers. We ate some fruit and peanut butter and bagels for breakfast in the parking lot then drove around to the other side of the lake. We got to Ozark Caverns and signed up for the 11:00 tour. We put on our warm clothes and joined our guide for a cave tour.  IMG_0863

Heath and I had been there last year but it was a totally new experience for everyone else.

Our guide was really good and pointed out lots of neat things I don’t think we saw last time like bats, salamanders and old writing on the cave from the late 1800s.

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The coolest part of the cave was the shower/tub they call angel falls.

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the tub
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After the cave tour we were a little cool and KK, Chiaki and I did a little hike to warm up while Heath fed Pumpkin.
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The rest of us were also hungry so drove a long way to a restaurant I found on the internet. We got off the highway and drove down a a bunch of gravel and windy roads just following signs. Then we pulled into a gravel parking lot with a bunch of cars and canoes in it. There was a little shelter and a sign that said wait at shelter for shuttle. We we got out and headed over. There was a big group already there and the shuttle was an old minivan that could only seat 6. The driver said it was a 10 min walk or he would be right back. We decided to walk. It was a cool hike with lots of old cabins and stuff to look at but it was almost strait up a mountain. Eventually we got to some tall bluffs and a structure.

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(we were on the road below looking up)

There was no obvious way up. We saw stairs but they were locked and said for emergency or staff only. We didn’t know what to do at first but eventually a minivan showed up and showed us the door with the elevator in it. We climbed in and rode up the bluffs a ways and entered the cave restaurant.  IMG_0872

The cave restaurant can seat 250 people and is really cool. Some guy climbed up there and decided to make a restaurant a long time ago. It has AC and heat and little ponds and waterfalls and everything is rock. Ohh and KK and I were sitting right under a cougar.

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Here is a little video of the rest of the cave.

The food was all really good and not that expensive especially considering all the elevator and minivan and other weird costs and the hard to find location. There was a bit of a wait for a ride out so we looked around a while and were really impressed by the whole thing.  IMG_0874

Eventually we decided to walk out and drive back. With full bellies everyone but me fell asleep in the van. I drove us most of the way back then turned off and we headed to the Seven Springs Winery.  IMG_0877

We each paid $7 and got a souvenir glass and a taste of all 10 wines they make.

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(Pumpkin was on the house)

After tasting everything we got a couple of bottles for the road and an icy pitcher of sangria. We headed outside to check out the view, the band and talk about the wine.  IMG_0880

It was super hot and sunny out but was not bad on their porch.

Once our sangria was gone we went to a huge outdoor outlet shopping center and split up boys and girls. KK and I went into some tools and cooking stores and Nike and Adidas then decided we were done shopping and hit the bar to watch some soccer. The girls went all over the place and got a decent amount of stuff then met us in the bar. We went to Walmart for more pizza crust and a few other things then back to the campsite. We were getting hungry again. We built the fire and got coals going. We fed the baby and got the crust ready, put the baby in bed, then cooked it a little slower.

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First we cooked the top of the crust, then we added sauce and cheese and sausage and veggies in layers. We had a bit more biscuit left and tossed that on top then cooked the top. We checked on it a while later and it looked great. We checked and the bottom was raw. We had not put any coals or anything on the bottom yet so we gave it a little more on top and several below. A little bit later it was great.   IMG_0892

We plopped it on the table and dug in.  IMG_0893

I expected it to be way to big but we ate the whole thing in no time. We relaxed and had a few drinks and planned to make smores but got to tired and went to bed.

Pumpkin’s 3rd night was not great. She got up at 5 to eat and then thought she was up for the day. Heath and I formed a big circle and let her run around between us but we were unable to fall asleep as she was laughing and pulling hair and stepping on groins. Around 6 she fell asleep between us and things were good for a little while but by 7 she was up again and super playful. I gave up and got up with her even though I was tired and no one else was awake from any campsite.  IMG_0897
I had an orange soda and we actually had some coals left so I just added some sticks and we had a fire. Then I cleaned up a mess raccoons had made  IMG_0905

and had a natty and started working on stuff around the campsite and feeding the baby. I was feeling better in no time.

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Pumpkin was enjoying her mangos and watching me work and watching the fire grow.

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KK and Chiaki got up and we made some more coffee then Heath got up and I tossed a bunch of sausage, green peppers,  onions, cilantro and eggs in a pan.  IMG_0907

I cooked and stirred then added cheese and we had a nice spread of fruit and scrambled eggs for breakfast.  IMG_0911

We packed up the campsite and packed up the van and the girls organized the tent and got it all packed up.

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Once all our stuff was put away we took one last picture then left.  IMG_0914

Thanks for reading the whole thing if you made it this far. Sorry it was late today but it was huge and I was kinda busy with other things. Also COME OVER TOMROROW ANY TIME FOR A BURGER AND A NATTY or send me a picture of you eating one tomorow.

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