We made our way out of Seneca, Missouri after washing the Motorhome. Took quite a bit of time to clean it thoroughly as it had been almost 2 months since getting a wash and wax job while still in Arizona. And we had been doing some desert camping with winds and red dust; the motorhome really needed a cleaning. After checking our iPhone app “Allstays RV”, we noticed there were quite a few Corp of Engineer parks in Missouri so we picked out a park near Stockton, which would take us about 1/3 of the way across Missouri. The campground wasn’t officially open until April 15th, and there was no attendant. The outhouse type bathrooms were open, as well as the dump station. We filled up our water tank, and decided to stay for several days. Got a real bargain with our senior discount, as well as the early camping discount which brought the rate down to $4.50 per night for electric sites!
We had a mishap while driving a county round to the CORP park near Stockton. Work was being done on a bridge, which was down to a single lane. A county truck had parked on the bridge, taking up over half the width of the bridge. David thought there was enough room to take our wide-body motorhome across; unfortunately, there wasn’t! Our passenger mirror caught the edge of a mirror on the side of the county truck. It damaged our mirror head, and a trooper had to be called to evaluate the accident. Fortunately, he determined that we were not at fault and we were soon on our way with the help of some duct tape. We called Velvac, the company who manufactures this model of RV mirror and ordered a new mirror head. Luckily the mirror arm and the wiring were not damaged and we could do the repair ourselves. We were shocked at the almost $300 cost of just the mirror head, but couldn’t drive safely without it.
We stayed at Stockton Lake until the mirror head arrived at a UPS store in Springfield, Missouri several days later. Velvac would not ship to a post office; any orders had to be shipped to a home or business address. The closest UPS store was in Springfield Missouri, about a 45 minute drive from Stockton. They did not charge for delivery to their store, but would charge $5 per day if they had to hold the package for us; we decided to use this store for the shipping address. Thanks to UPS tracking, we could keep an eye on the status of our package and knew when to pick it up.
The couple camping next to us at Stockton Lake lived only an hour away; they had camped at this park for 6 weeks each spring and fall for many years. Mary showed us a cell phone booster they had found at Radio Shack which worked almost everywhere to get them better cell phone service. We hadn’t been able to use our cell phones or WiFi hotspot in some of the state and county parks, or in most CORPS parks we have stayed; they are usually located near lakes and rivers in rural areas, where there often is no cell phone coverage. While in Springfield, we stopped at a Radio Shack store and got the Wilson car kit along with a DC to AC adapter so we could use the kit either with electric or 12volt power. Using this kit, it boosted the signal from one bar to three bars which is enough to make phone calls, check emails, or browse many web sites; it bogs down with video clips and we can’t post photos but it meets our needs. There are still spotty areas where we don’t get service; but it does help tremendously as we now have cell phone coverage almost everywhere we go. And the kit with adapter was around $100 which is quite reasonable.
One of our first nights at the Stockton Lake park, we experienced some very stormy weather. There had been thunderstorms earlier in the day, and by late afternoon there were tornado warnings, with possible hail and very high winds for much of northwest Missouri. We kept a close eye on the weather, and checked the iPhone NOAA radar app at least every 15 minutes. We were very glad we had bought the cell phone booster so we had weather information on a continuous basis. We decided to stay in our motor home instead of heading for a shelter in the campground; there were some scary moments as the wind was very strong, and the camper was rocking. But the weather app on our phone showed that the more severe weather was to our north and would miss us. It turned out to be very correct as to current conditions and warnings.
While camping at Stockton Lake, we made a few trips into several small towns in this area. There wasn’t much we wanted to see along the route we would take into Iowa; no tourist attractions or activities, mainly rolling hills and farms/ranches. Some of the more interesting areas of Missouri were in other parts of the state; to the south towards Branson, around Lake of the Ozarks, St. Louis; we didn’t have much extra time for sightseeing. The weather was cool, in the 50s and low 60s most days and down into the 40s at night. We spent most of our time just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet in this beautiful park, which we had almost to ourselves.
We left Stockton Lake April 15th, and heading east and north. We were both getting rather anxious to get into Iowa by the 3rd week of April. We made it as far as the Jefferson City area in northeast Missouri. By this time Smoke had had enough of traveling (he gets very restless if we go more than 150 miles at a time) and we had been on the road for several hours. Even with a walk at a rest area along the way, Smoke was getting upset. We found a nice county park, Binder Park, on the edge of Jefferson City. The facilities were top notch; sites had cement pads and there was even a laundry room in the bath house. It was a small park with only about 15 sites, but they had a camp host and the nightly rate was only $15 for electric. Each site had a covered picnic table, fire ring and barbecue grill and a lantern hook. We only stayed for one night, but were able to do our laundry. It had been many years since we paid only $1 to wash and 50 cents to dry.
We were so close to Iowa the next morning that we decided to leave Missouri and camp in southern Iowa even if it meant driving longer than usual. We were a little concerned about the weather forecast for the Dubuque, Iowa area, so we decided to head for the Coralville Lake area south of Cedar Rapids/Iowa City.