We wake up this morning around 6:30, as usual. Everyone gets dressed and I
bring some clothes in that we had set outside wet, to dry. We gather the dirty
clothes together in bags, so we can take them into town to launder today. It is
to be an adventure day today, with spontaneous activities instead of planned
ones. Well, except for the pony ride. That comes after breakfast.
So we head down to breakfast at our usual 8am. I go for two sausage patties, a
scoop of scrambled eggs, two biscuits (one covered with gravy) some OJ and
milk. Yummilicious. Then, it's off to the Triangle-Y Ranch for Calliope's pony
ride. Whee! Fun! Done.
After the ride, the plan is to head out to the Berryman Trail to see if we can
find Heather's old Lakewood stamping grounds, in particular a stretch of creek
that she used to stop at during horse overnights, and a general store they used
to go to as well when she was a little camper herself. As we were about to
leave the ranch, Heather spots Ashley with his camp group, playing in a stream
over the hill from the ranch. We park the van and run across the road to hide
behind a line of trees and watch him to see if he's having fun. I bring the
They are playing a game where one of the counselors is apparently a monster
called "Crawdad," who like to kidnap children and take them down- or
upstream. To quell his hunger for child flesh, they must all band together and
beat him silly with pool noodles, while he throatily chants "Crawdad,
Crawdad, Crawdad!" Ash is having fun. He's wearing his camouflage jammies
for some reason, but he's smiling and having a good time. It makes me happy,
but makes me miss him even more. I can't wait to see him again tomorrow. He's
gonna be so grown up. Hope he doesn't greet us carrying a cigar and a snifter
of brandy: "Hello mother. Good to see you again, father. How've you
So we go for a drive, kinda blindly, through Mark Twain National Forest,
looking for a specific but unnamed creek. It's kinda like looking for a needle
in a needle stack. A good hour later, the immediate goal becomes getting out of
the park and figuring out how to get back to Potosi so we can do our laundry
and grab some lunch. By 1:00 or so, we make it back to town and stop at the
laundromat to get some clothes in the wash.
Leaving the clothes there to launder, we run to Taco Hell for lunch, hoping it
will be better than it is in Illinois. Not really any different. Oh well.
Haven't had it in ages, so it was still kinda nice even though it was sucky. So
we go back to put our stuff in dryers, then leave it there again & run to
Walmart to return a shitty watch Heather got me a couple days ago.
Once we get back to the laundromat, of course only half of it is dry, so we
pull out what's done, restart the rest, and run to gas up the van, cuz it's
only $3.49 per gallon here. After the gas, we are able to retrieve the rest of the
laundry and try one more time for the creek and general store.
We do find a general store that may or may not have been the right one, but
Heather talks to the attendant and is told that the creek she's looking for is
probably right up the road. She tells Heather as she leaves the store, "I
hope you find your memories."
We drive down the gravel road she directs us to, and we find a kickass stream.
Brandon, Calliope, Heather & I climb down the bank and hop in up to our
ankles. We make our way along with the current and find an honest-to-gosh
swimmin' hole, rope swing and all. Calliope has her bathing suit on, but the
rest of us give in to the urge and hop in wearing our clothes. Wow. What a
memorable experience. I am sooooooo glad we did this today.
Brandon swings out a few times and plops in the stream. Heather and Brandon
float on their backs and have a race downstream. Calliope and I chuck rocks
into the creek and swim around in the shallower bits. This may not be the right
stream, or at least not the right area of the right stream, but it's definitely
a fantastic find. It's hard to say how long we stay there, but it's at least an
I feel the urge to take off, so we can get back for dinner, so we take off just
as another family is showing up to our "secret swimming hole." Ten
minutes after we leave, the rain starts. We get back to our room & unpack
the clean clothes in enough time for dinner. I get chicken pot pie and green
beans, lots of water again, and celery with peanut butter for dessert. After
eating, we manage to beat the storm back to the Arts & Crafts building,
where Heather plans to finish her mug. However, they are closed, so we decide
to go to a barn dance instead.
The dance is fun. Heather & I do the Electric Slide & three or four other
country line dances, the kids join in for the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken
Dance, and we finish with the Cha-Cha Slide. When we leave, it's about 8:30 and
the storm is in full force. Instead of going right to our room, we grab a
couple of games at the front desk and take them to a lounge for all of us to
Calliope, Brandon & I play "Lucky Ducks" while Heather runs to
the room to get our snacks. Upon her return, Heather, Brandon & I play
Boggle for six rounds while Calliope draws a picture. I win. 54 to 43 to 21.
Finally, back to the room for beddy-bye. And here I am, last one standing, at
11:30 pm, wrapping up this chapter of my blog for you. Done now til Part IV.
Talk to you tomorrow.