May 16 Mississippi River to Kansas

Across Missouri route

Location: Morning: N 39.38859, W 90.94822
Evening: N 39.84643, W 95.37791

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Started on the banks of the Mississippi River and had planned on finishing on the banks of the Missouri River. Had an uneventful drive across Missouri. 300 miles of mostly the same scenery that also looks like Indiana and Illinois and most of Ohio and large portions of probably a dozen other states. The one highlight though was stopping at Mark Twain State Park. No one else was at any of the recreation areas I stopped at so I pretty much had the place to myself.

Mark Twain Lake

Tried to make a side trip to Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge after turning off the main road at the sign that pointed towards it I drove down various small country lanes and dirt roads. Found a section of the refuge but not the main unit. Took a couple photos there but didn’t want to waste anymore time searching for the main entrance. After a few more hours of driving I got to the area I had bookmarked on the GPS. The map above doesn’t show the search for a camping spot on the Missouri side of the river. The coordinates from sent me on a nice levee top drive. I don’t think that was planned. The one place that sort of looked like a camp spot was already occupied and I couldn’t really tell if they were camping or just left the vehicle there.  Either way it looked sketchy. Drove around the area some hoping to find another close spot. Found some but the signs were unclear on whether or not camping was allowed so I decided to try another spot on the Kansas side. The drive through western Missouri was rough though. One route was listed as a State Route but it was a dirt road with some very deep potholes and ruts. After a quick stop in St Joseph to top off my power steering fluid and a check of my tires to see if the pot holes did any damage I crossed over into Kansas. Found a state managed fishing lake that allowed overnight stays.

Brown State Fishing Lake

A few people were parked in various pullouts fishing or just relaxing. By dusk they had all left except for one camper on the opposite side so once again I had a place to myself. After dark just had the sounds of frogs, birds, and fish flopping on the surface. After watching the moonrise I went to bed and heard the first coyote howls of the trip. I had planned on logging my daily miles driven but I keep forgetting to write it down. Did learn one valuable lesson; don’t turn on the interior lights with the doors open. It took me an hour to get rid of all the mosquitos that flooded into the vehicle.