Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Missouri

State 23:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is


Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821. The capital is Jefferson City.

From the Mississippi River to the Lake of the Ozarks and many places in between, we had great adventures while in Missouri.

High on our bucket list of things to see in Missouri was the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. Henry rode the elevator up to the top of the arch while I strolled along outside. We hopped on the MetroLink to explore some of the other sights in the city.

What fun it was to explore Hannibal and see so many places where Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer had their adventures.

Harry Truman State Park was a great place for camping and taking a walk on a nature trail.

Our home base for visiting Branson was Table Rock State Park.

One fall we planned a trip to Missouri to attend a football game at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition to enjoying a football weekend we also camped beside the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park, enjoyed the spectacular fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks and went shopping at the first Bass Pro Shop in Springfield.

Moon rising over the Mississippi River
Moon rising over the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park
Barge going down the river at sunset
A barge went by right before sunset at Trail of Tears State Park
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
University of Missouri Logo in the grass at the Mizzou Stadium
University of Missouri Logo in the grass at the Mizzou Stadium
Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks
Fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks
The original and largest Bass Pro Shops

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi

Tourist Attractions in Springfield, Missouri

There were 2 “must see” attractions for us in Springfield, Missouri. The first was the original Bass Pro Shops which is as large as 7 football fields and takes up an entire city block. In addition to all of the sporting goods for sale, inside this Bass Pro are waterfalls, aquariums, exhibits, a restaurant, and 2 museums – the Archery Hall of Fame and the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum.

Our second stop was dinner was at Lambert’s Cafe – the Home of Throwed Rolls. Lambert’s has been featured on TV shows and yes, they really do throw the rolls to you! The roll thrower was a young man who would stand at one end of the restaurant and announce “Hot rolls!”. When someone holds up his hands, he tosses them a hot roll. He told us a lot of people miss the catch.

When one little boy asked him “Why do you throw the rolls?” he answered “I don’t really know.”

The rolls were warm and yeasty and delicious. We both had a pork special with barbeque ribs, pulled pork and pork tenderloin served with cole slaw and a sweet BBQ sauce. Servers walk through the restaurant with large stainless steel bowls of pass alongs to offer to each table. We tried them all – black eyed peas, fried okra, fried potatoes, and macaroni and tomatoes. We had so much food we brought enough home for a second meal!

Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest state park in Missouri. The park has many miles of shoreline as well as many trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding. The rain followed us from Columbia and our hopes of hiking were rained out.

We chose not to pull our fifth wheel on the narrow, winding roads  to  one of the beautiful waterfront sites in the campground. Instead, we stayed in a big site with a view of the woods. We enjoyed watching four deer come out at dusk.

Rock cliffs line the shoreline at Lake of the Ozarks and although we were too early for the fall colors to be at their peak the trees were starting to display the beautiful orange and yellow of autumn.


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Are you ready for some football?

Our next destination in Missouri was Columbia for the SEC East showdown between the Georgia Bulldogs and Missouri Tigers. Rain poured down on us most of the day Thursday as we drove on back roads through the middle of the state. I was happy to see some early fall colors as we drove along.

As we pulled into Cottonwoods RV Park just north of I-70 we saw a few Georgia fans scattered among the Missouri fans. Many sites were decorated with the red and black of Georgia or the black and gold of Missouri.

The rain continued on Friday but didn’t stop us from exploring Columbia and meeting friends for dinner at the Stadium Grill next to their hotel.

With the rain letting up on Saturday it was a beautiful day for college football. We left early to be sure to find a parking place before the 11:00 am kickoff. The Stadium Grill had plenty of space and it was a perfect place to meet our friends and walk to the stadium. Black and gold tents were set up all around the stadium for tailgating before the game. There were quite a few Georgia fans dressed in red and black.

The Missouri fans were friendly and thanked us for coming. Some even went out of their way to tell us how much they appreciated us being there and to please come back. People were  amazed that we drove all the way from Georgia.

With apologizes to Missouri fans everywhere, it was a great day to be a Georgia Bulldog! The Dawgs won 34-0.


Good Friends, Full Moon and the Mississippi River

Our journey continued on I-24 West through Nashville, Kentucky, and Illinois before we crossed the Mississippi River into Cape Giradeau, Missouri.  Our home for the next 2 nights was about 15 miles north of Cape Giradeau in Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri and our campsite was right on the Mississippi River.

The state park is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and commemorates the tragic relocation of five Native American tribes from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma. The visitor’s center in the park features exhibits that interpret the forced relocation.

We enjoyed watching barges going up and down the river and the trains which passed by on the tracks along the river.

The highlight of our stay was visiting with one of my best friends from elementary school. She and her husband drove down from St. Louis to spend the day. We had a lot of catching up to do – the last time we saw each other was in the 6th grade about 50 years ago! She looks just like she did back then! We drove down to Cape Giradeau for lunch at Port Cape Giradeau and a little sight seeing along the river. After lunch we enjoyed the murals on the flood wall beside the river.

After emotional good byes my friend and her husband returned home and we returned to the campground. We enjoyed watching the trains and barges and had front row seats for the Blood Moon rising over the river.