Sunday, April 25, 2021

Hunting the Secret State Parks

We continued our road trip to Arkansas and used the opportunity to hit some of the southernmost Missouri state parks.

Grand Gulf State Park is home to a forked canyon that is the remnant of an ancient collapsed dolomite cave system. Water entering the cave here emerges 1-4 days later at Mammoth Spring, AR 9 miles away. 

I couldn't resist peeking through the window of this tiny single train car museum sitting in a McDonald's parking lot in Thayer, Missouri.

The sandwich I had here was pretty terrible but I would come back just for this appetizer. Bacon wrapped smoked poppers: fresh sliced jalapenos, hand stuffed with cream cheese and bbq seasoning, wrapped in bacon, side of buttermilk ranch.

All religion is assential in my book.

So... the thing with our most holy mission to dominate all of Missouri's state parks and historic sites is that about 10% of them are closed. Some were open and are now in hibernation due to damage, but another group are still waiting to open. The state bought land for a few parks but then subsequent administrations changed their mind about the projects, and now the parks have sat unopened for years.

I figured since we'd come this far we might as well visit the closed parks as well. That turned out to be easier said than done.

The thing about parks that don't exist is that they also do not exist in Google Maps and so are difficult to "locate". We did a pass by on our own looking for Eleven Point State Park attempting to use the latitude and longitude provided on its Wikipedia page, but we failed. I chatted up a park employee at Grand Gulf State Park and got some more intel on where to go and then gave it another try. He helpfully informed us that we probably would not get arrested for walking around in a state park that was not technically "open for visitors".

Eventually we hit pay dirt. I have to assume that my perseverance in the face of adversity when completely near pointless tasks that I myself have invented is an inspiration to others.

I’m under development too, Eleven Point State Park. It was announced in 2016, Gov. Greitens closed it, then there was some lawsuit drama. Park haters gonna park hate. On the brighter side the Beatles played cowboy here in 1964.

Bryant Creek State Park near Ava, Missouri is another park where the land was purchased but it now sits waiting for development. We took a short stroll around looking for the official park sign and then left before we were arrested.

Springfield, Illinois' evil nemesis, Springfield, Missouri

We took a nostalgic stroll around our old stomping grounds in Neosho, MO.

Our apartment was in back of a building so we drove through this alley everyday to get to the street. I fondly remember the dumpster being right next to our front door and so there were a ton of flies in our apartment during the summer. Good good times.

It looked as though just about everything and everyone were right where we left them.

I remember getting into an argument with the charming lady who worked at this DMV because she kept asking what county something was registered in and we kept saying St. Louis City and she kept repeating St. Louis County. It's a free city lady, look it up.

Finally we made it to our new Airbnb office, situated amongst the beautiful views of Bella Vista, Arkansas.

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