Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gasconade River and Archway Coachmen Weekend

We had parked Baby in front of the house Thursday evening and so were able to make it out of Quincy by 9am on Friday morning. It was another milestone for me as I drove Baby from home for the first 60 miles of the trip. This included Quincy, four lane highways, the Hannibal bridge, Hannibal interchanges, and two lanes on Route 19.

Ken was right about the adjustment on the air ride. It is very easy to drive the motorhome now and it requires very little steering to track straight with no noticeable sway.

Ken took over after an hour because the traffic even on the two lane wanted to be going more than 55 mph and that is my max while ‘in training’.

The trip through middle Missouri was pretty, especially as we got into the Ozarks in the last half of the trek. I’m it would be gorgeous in the autumn.

We arrived in Newberg, Mo, at about 1pm.

Pat and Bruce who had told us about the Arlington River Resort had also cautioned about not letting initial impressions set the tone for our opinion of the place. The drive in is on old road in bad need of repair and the resort is actually behind what appear to be an old deserted town of Arlington.

The campground is now operated by a young couple who purchased it when they returned from their army deployment in the Middle East. They are very accommodating and keep the area very nice once you are back in the park.

They gave the Coachmen group an comfortable grassy area with some shade in the middle of the campground.

Here’s Baby once again amid her fellow Coachmen buddies. We were at first surprised not to have real drives to park on but in the end it actually made the campground prettier with less gravel and more green.

We said our hellos to the Coachmen Club members and took some time for lunch.

Bruce and Pat don’t have a Coachmen so weren’t here as part of the club. Instead they bring their Damon Challenger down for the entire month of July. It is too bad that this park is so far away from Quincy because they are only paying $150 to set the RV here and use it on weekends. That pays for itself quickly when you consider gas prices and works well for St. Louis folks who are only about 90 minutes away.

Mid-afternoon we took the dogs for a long walk down by the Gasconade River which borders the campground.

Sox loves the water!

The group got together for hot dogs and carry-ins at dinner.

We took another walk, this time up to the front office to check on getting a ride the next day for a float trip on the Gasconade. They provide shuttle service to a point 5 miles up river for $10 so see signed up to head out at noon on Saturday.

Bill and Don, were grill masters for Saturday morning pancakes and sausage.

After breakfast we participated in our first official meeting of the Archway Coachmen club at members

Ken’s younger brother, Alan, who lives in Springfield, Mo. was taken into the hospital and ended up having triple bypass surgery on Saturday. He’s only 49 years old and Ken was very concerned and glad for check-ins from his wife that all was going well.

Bill Petty was kind enough to transport us in his truck up to the front office so we could catch our noon shuttle. As it turned out there were actually 3 van loads of people headed to the river. We were amazed that it seemed to take about 30 miles of driving through hills and hollers to get five miles up river. The $10 for the shuttle service was definitely worth it, especially since all of the area along the Gasconade is privately held so having the canoe rental company shuttle us meant we also had a put-in spot.

It took very little time to air up ‘Marge’ and we had on her on the river before some of the folks had even gotten in that were renting. I think she got a lot of attention because of how she went from such a compact package to a full size boat so quickly.

The Gasconade was the perfect first outing for Ken and me. It didn’t really require any skill so we could mess around, paddle when we wanted to and float when we didn’t. We jumped into the water now and then to stay cool and usually could see the bottom it was so clear.

The bluffs along the river were very lush and green. There were plenty of turtles basking in the sun and…

The heron even allowed us to get very close for a picture before making a very majestic take off over our boat.

We didn’t risk taking the good camera on our first outing but we know now it should really be a problem. The SeaEagle Paddleski 395PS is very stable with no problems jumping in and out of the boat and still having it stay very level. My little ole’ Fuji camera didn’t do bad though.

As you can see here though, I did the paddling while Ken took most of the pictures! Actually I liked it that way since I could sort of get the hang of the paddles and steering on my own.

Sorority girls get themselves stuck
Of course, Ken’s idea of ‘wild life’ photography included the sorority sisters who had ridden over with us from the RV park.

We stopped on a gravel bar after a few miles for a snack.

It was about 4pm when we floated around the bend to see the Arlington take-out area.

We enjoyed a comfortable evening meal with lots of good conversation. We were amazed how tired we were and were in bed by 10pm.

We woke to the sound of thunder Sunday morning but the threatened rains never materialized.

Pat and Bruce joined the rest of us for a contintental breakfast and we took our time packing up after.

We decided since Ken was now very comfortable with the motorhome handling to try a different route home and heading back on I-44 and Hwy 47 around St. Louis. Hwy 47 is not Ken's favorite now that he's seen the narrow bridge at Washington and how narrow the road is for most of the drive. It was worth checking out though since now we know going down through Jeff City to Arlington RV Park is the better route.
Another nice weekend that ended far too quickly!!
Hugs, C

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