Day 45 – Thursday, July 11
Willow Springs to Roaring River State Park
95° Sunny, Hot & Humid
Got on the road around 10 a.m. Continued on Highway 60 West, but knew I would have to jump off before Springfield. Traffic increased as I got closer. Springfield is a metro area.
I got off in the town of Seymour which has a McDonalds, so I went inside to plot my way out of Missouri on county roads. While there, a motorcyclist named Bob stopped by to ask about my journey. He’s a retired motorcycle police officer specializing in accident investigation. He’s owned many bikes over the years but is now getting interested in scooters. He was driving a Burgman 650. He was enthusiastic and fun to talk to.
I plotted a way southwest heading to the Oklahoma border. M to U to A to 413 to D to TT to 39 to Z to W to C. That’s Burner, Sparta, Ozark, Nixa, Crane, and Purdy. It all went smoothly until W. The road turned out to be VV – two Vs. The little farm town of Crane had a very nicely appointed park with many dozens of electrical outlets for campers. Its grass was thick and full. There was no litter. I went in and rested for 45 minutes, then decided to go find out if I could camp there for a night. I found City Hall and the police station on Main Street. The police chief said, “No, that would be camping.” “Right,” I responded, “It looks like it’s set up for campers.” “Only for special events,” he said. Well, my being in town was not special enough I reckon.
I arrived in the overly patriotic town of Purdy. Every home and telephone pole has an American flag. There is a Navy jet fighter on display in the park. On the side of a commercial garage was painted, “Home of the Free Because They Are Brave.” There is a large memorial with waterfalls on Main Street. Sadly, the town looks as poor and destitute as many others I passed through. I could not account for the patriotism.
Rounding a turn in Purdy I saw in the distance the word Diner in big letters. I drove toward it. It was open. A hand made sign on the door said “New Hours.” I immediately decided I would camp close by and have breakfast here in the morning. Two men stood outside. I commented to them that the sign says new hours, but doesn’t say what the hours are. One man laughed and said he hadn’t gotten around to posting them yet. He was the owner. I said I’d like to camp close by and have breakfast there in the morning. He suggested I drive down to Roaring Brook State Park to camp. He said it was 12 miles south.
Fireworks went off and it wasn’t part of Purdy’s patriotism. I camped in Roaring Brook State Park last year and had a very good time. I was suddenly excited to go back again. The drive turned out to be 17 miles. I got one of the last campsites with shade. It is also right next to the river. In this heat, it’s ideal.
So this is a milestone. Last year’s motorbike trip – The Coulee – and this year’s trip – Le Voyageur – cross paths here. It feels right. The river certainly felt right when I dunked myself in its coolness. I’ll stay two days.