Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Missouri part two - Elden


We moved to Elden, MO on July 20, 2016. What should have been a short two hour drive turned into five. We made a stop at Camping World for some supplies and also at Redmon's Gift Shop and Candy Factory off of Hwy 44 in Conway. They claim to be the largest gift shop in the world, don't know about that but they are pretty big with everything from candy to clothes to trinkets and housewares. 
We stayed at the Majestic Oaks CampgroundElden is the mailing address but we were much closer to Lake Ozark. This is such a beautiful area.The campground is nice, the sites are gravel and sand, very level. They are wider than normal and most have bushes and flower gardens in between each one, along with a picnic table and a fire pit. There were a lot of permanent trailers, but all were kept up very well. We paid $24.60 a night with our Paceport America discount. Once again we forgot to get a picture of the site.
They have a really nice fenced dog park, and hiking trails through the woods. There is a small playground and a good sized pool, which with the horrible heat was a welcome relief. The laundry room is small with just two of each machine, but it is right next to the pool so that made it handy to cool off in between loads.
The trail is used for Halloween,
or at least we hope so!
With it being so hot we laid pretty low this stop. We did go to Lark Ozark, you cross over the Bagnell Dam to get there. It is a strip of stores, mostly tourist shops and restaurants. 
The best place was The Collectors ? Paradise. It is a large flea market type store and it had stuff everywhere, all over the floor, the shelves, the counters and even hanging from the ceiling. It was so fun going through it and looking at all of it. Two things that brought back lots of memories for Nancy was a slew of Barbies and a hanging oil lamp with a lady in the center. One hung in her childhood home and is still in the family.

We did venture out in the heat to two state parks, all of the state parks are free, which is really nice. First up was Swinging Bridge State Park, we went here to see the actual swinging bridges. There are two. They, along with a number of others, were built by Joseph A. Dice in the early '20's. He did not engineer his bridges nor did he draw out plans, he just eyeballed the spot and decided how much materiel would be needed.
The first was Mill Creek Bridge, it is 135-feet long with a span of 95-feet. This one is not very high off the water and the metal base is in very good shape. 

The second one, Grand Auglaize, is much higher and doesn't look like it is in as good of shape. The boards are warping and due to the flexibility needed, the deck could not be rigid, so the planks are placed loosely, and it really makes some noise when you drive over it, which of course thrilled Nancy. As we approached the bridge a truck was coming our way, so we had to back up and let him come off.

We took a side road in the park and at one point we thought we might get stuck, the road was so rutted we were wishing we were on an ATV and not in our car. It did take us to a pretty little spot right on the river. 

The road out was just as bad with water running across it.

Guessing the lake wasn't so
busy back in the early 1900's

Second park was the Ha Ha Tonka State Park, if it hadn't been so hot we would have explored more. The name is thought to mean "laughing waters". Along with caves, sinkholes and beautiful views of Lake Ozark are the ruins of Snyder Castle
Robert McClure Snyder, a Kansas City businessman purchased the property in 1905 and started construction of the castle. He was killed in an auto accident in 1906 and the castle sat empty until the late 1920's when his three sons finished it.

It was used as a summer and weekend home till the late 30's when it was then used as a hotel.

In the 1940's it caught fire and burned, sparks from the castle set the carriage house on fire and it was lost as well. 

The first four floors of the water-tower were the living quarters for the caretaker's family, the large water tank was on the 5th floor. In 1976 vandals set a fire that destroyed the inside, it was re-roofed and stabilized in 1999.

The state purchased the castle and grounds in 1978

After the 1/4-mile hike to the ruins we were pretty wiped out from the heat, but did manage to do another 300-feet or so to the natural bridge. 

Nancy's birthday was celebrated here. The day was spent being lazy and relaxing. Birthday dinner was at the Jolly Roger Grub and Pub
A really cool place. It is a large open dining room that over looks the lake. They have a marina, and most of the customers arrive by boat. The bar is made out of a cabin cruiser and your drinks are served by a pirate! The food was very good, we stuffed our selves silly. 
 A pirate ship arrived while we were eating, and both Captain's joined us for dinner. 

Next on the trail is Springfield, IL. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way
~ Quiet Please!
When driving down the road everything, and we mean everything rattles and makes noise. One of the reason Mielikki is always on Nancy's lap while we are moving. We have shared other ways to keep the noise down. In July of 2015 we shared how we secure our dishes and artwork. 
One of the biggest noise makers is our side door, metal upon metal is not pretty. We use a piece of foam rolled up and placed inside the handle cover. Close it up and no more noise. A rolled towel would work as well. 


  1. Love reading your journey to Elden and nearby places. I hope you had a great time there which I am assuming you definitely had as your taken pictures say it all.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a informative information with us. Keep on sharing the blog like this.

  3. Thank you so much for the compliment - we are still traveling and still posting - working on the blog from our Alaskan trip right now. Thanks for following our adventures.