Well today we actually bid adieu to Branson and headed toward St. Louis. We left around 10:00 a.m., and at 10:20 we got a call from Garland and Marilyn who were in the Branson area for a family funeral. They were going to invite us to Fat Daddy’s for breakfast, but alas, we left a little too early. Marilyn also had another package of genealogy data for Diana which she will mail to her instead.
We stopped at the AAA office in Springfield to stock up on maps. We parked right in front of the office, and of course when we got to the desk, the nice woman waiting on us was intrigued by our teardrop so we gave her the 25 cent tour. She then gave us the VIP treatment with maps, camping and restaurant suggestions and lots of insight on the route we are traveling. We left having made a new friend and learning much more about the route ahead.
We saw a campground near Sullivan, Meramec State Park, with nice sites along the Meramec river and thought we’d give it a try. We stocked up on supplies in Sullivan and then told the GPS to take us to the campground. We were directed through several nice residential neighborhoods and then to a road running along a ridge with nicer homes perched along either side. The road got smaller and the houses spaced further apart. Then the road turned into dirt/gravel and the trees eased closer until they were leaning over each edge. Finally we came to a dead end with no campground in sight! I called the park and they were well aware of our plight — they said dozens of people every month end up at the dead end — and gave us proper directions. When we arrived at the park it was just after 4:00 their closing time, but the doors to the visitor’s center were still open, and the nice lady there gave us a campground map, told us to pick a spot and pay the camp host.
As we left the parking lot, we pulled in behind a ranger’s vehicle and followed it toward the campground. After a mile or so, he turned to the right and revealed a large barricade on the road ahead and a sign saying, “Campground Closed Due To Flooding”.
The ranger came over and told us they wouldn’t be open for a week or two. He also acknowledged the GPS problem and said he had contacted all the major GPS makers as well as Map Quest and other companies. Most of them either said they would update their information (but didn’t) or weren’t that interested in doing anything, even after he explained that 3,000+ people a year were being inconvenienced by their misinformation. I intend to add my comments to Garmin about the problem. If you have been reading our blog you know we had a similar experience in the wilds of Oklahoma as well.
The ranger was as nonplused as we were about why the lady at the visitor’s center invited us in. That’s a mystery we won’t be able to solve because when he called the center, she had already left.
The ranger did advise us of another campground about 24 miles further east and that it was open and not near any water, so we hopped back on Hwy 44 and headed that way.
We found Robertsville State Park easily and grabbed a nice space (#7) in the almost empty campground and set up camp. Soon the camp hosts, Billy and Lynn ?? came by to collect the fee, and we had a great conversation with them, found out we had a lot in common, and when they left, we had acquired some new friends.
As we got ready to turn in, Diana mentioned that she had a sore throat. We’re hoping that isn’t a harbinger of bad things to come. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.