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Old 07-30-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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1st solo trip with 3 year old a Success

First off I want to say we had a blast. It was so nice to get away from reality…no cartoons, ipad games, Disney movies, work emails, phone calls and so on. We went to Cuvier River State park about 45 minutes North West of St. Louis. The campsite itself has about 50 full hook up sites and a handful of electric sites and the majority are basic. With the exception of the full hookup sites, most sites are well shaded and spread apart. Our site #001 was literally right next to the playground…obviously this was a big hit with Sam. It was also very well shaded and set back a ways from the neighboring sites. The only negative was that the trees were so close….Deploying the awing was not possible.
One of the biggest things I realized….it’s a lot of work. It rained early Sunday morning and due to the current drought while it was welcome it was a huge mess. The dirt had become a fine powder making the otherwise friendly earth into a slip and slide of fine slurry. Everything that was outside became so dirty that it was banned from the inside of the camper and thrown in the back of the truck for cleaning at a later date. Sam did great during the set up and tear down. This was the time that I was most concerned about… how I would get it done without him melting down. I left him strapped into his seat (Truck running and A/C on of course) and he didn’t make a peep.
I have become a big fan of the Missouri state park system. Every park we have visited has been very nice and well kept. There are some things that you do need to account for at most of the parks….very few of them have full hookups so water conservation is key. The website www.mostateparks.com is very nice and easy to navigate. They even show photos of the actual camp site to get a better feel for what you are after.
All in all we had a great time and I look forward to the next trip.
Photos from the trip and campsite can be found at my blog BBQ, Sales, Kids and Things
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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First off I want to say we had a blast. It was so nice to get away from reality…no cartoons, ipad games, Disney movies, work emails, phone calls and so on. We went to Cuvier River State park about 45 minutes North West of St. Louis. The campsite itself has about 50 full hook up sites and a handful of electric sites and the majority are basic. With the exception of the full hookup sites, most sites are well shaded and spread apart. Our site #001 was literally right next to the playground…obviously this was a big hit with Sam. It was also very well shaded and set back a ways from the neighboring sites. The only negative was that the trees were so close….Deploying the awing was not possible.
One of the biggest things I realized….it’s a lot of work. It rained early Sunday morning and due to the current drought while it was welcome it was a huge mess. The dirt had become a fine powder making the otherwise friendly earth into a slip and slide of fine slurry. Everything that was outside became so dirty that it was banned from the inside of the camper and thrown in the back of the truck for cleaning at a later date. Sam did great during the set up and tear down. This was the time that I was most concerned about… how I would get it done without him melting down. I left him strapped into his seat (Truck running and A/C on of course) and he didn’t make a peep.
I have become a big fan of the Missouri state park system. Every park we have visited has been very nice and well kept. There are some things that you do need to account for at most of the parks….very few of them have full hookups so water conservation is key. The website www.mostateparks.com is very nice and easy to navigate. They even show photos of the actual camp site to get a better feel for what you are after.
All in all we had a great time and I look forward to the next trip.
Photos from the trip and campsite can be found at my blog BBQ, Sales, Kids and Things
I'm glad you had a great time, that's what everybody is after, I live around KC, and glad that you put what park you was at, thinkin of heading that way first of next yr.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:40 AM   #3
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Your welcome....Cuiver River Park is a bit out of place for the area. The terrain is very much like the ozarks and unique in Lincoln County. For us its great....45 minutes from home and it feels like you are in a diffrent world. Be advised some very steep hills leading into the park. We stayed at Lake ozark state park last year and it too was very clean and well kept. I would reccomend campground 4 if you are thinking about that park...most sites have water views and some are on the water.
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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We live just south of STL. Cuvier River SP is on the list of parks for us to do. We did Onondaga earlier, and have reservations to go again in September. Hawn is good, but i'd give Washington a pass. Not a horrible campsite, but nothing to see or do in that area.

BTW, I looked at your blog. Dude, I gotta have some of your BBQ!

Tim
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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Have you been to meramac? I have heard good things.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:16 PM   #6
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It sounds like you had a great time at Cuvier River State park. As Sam gets older, assign simple tasks for him to do as part of your trailer set up routine. It will give him a sense of responsibility and he will feel like he has an important role in your camping experience.

Since you’re in the St. Louis area, you might consider the Dam West campground on Carlyle Lake in IL. It’s a Corps of Engineers park with a beautiful swimming beach and the campsites are spaced out nicely. The park has some full hookups sites but they are hard to get. You can reserve your site online and there isn’t a reservation fee like MO state parks have. It’s a very popular campground so getting reservations on weekends can be problematic at times.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryand
Your welcome....Cuiver River Park is a bit out of place for the area. The terrain is very much like the ozarks and unique in Lincoln County. For us its great....45 minutes from home and it feels like you are in a diffrent world. Be advised some very steep hills leading into the park. We stayed at Lake ozark state park last year and it too was very clean and well kept. I would reccomend campground 4 if you are thinking about that park...most sites have water views and some are on the water.
You throw out some good advise, very new to all of this, and if we can stay in MO, for some close stays that would be awesome, We really like Watkins SP, it's very close to home. But want to try other places too.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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Have you been to meramac? I have heard good things.
Yep. Meremec is on the list of ones to try. Kinda thinking about Johnson's shut-ins too, but I heard there ain't a lick of shade at the campground

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Old 07-30-2012, 09:46 PM   #9
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Your little guy is adorable! And how nice for Mom to get a quiet weekend with your new little one. Well, we can only hope it was quiet lol!
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:14 PM   #10
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Since you’re in the St. Louis area, you might consider the Dam West campground on Carlyle Lake in IL. It’s a Corps of Engineers park with a beautiful swimming beach and the campsites are spaced out nicely. The park has some full hookups sites but they are hard to get. You can reserve your site online and there isn’t a reservation fee like MO state parks have. It’s a very popular campground so getting reservations on weekends can be problematic at times.
Holy cow...you were not kidding. Just looked at October and every reservable site was booked every weekend. Thats going to be on our list to hit next year. Any other COE parks within a few hours of STL worth looking at?
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:15 PM   #11
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Your little guy is adorable! And how nice for Mom to get a quiet weekend with your new little one. Well, we can only hope it was quiet lol!
Yea it was nice for everyone....Mom and the baby actually came out for a good part of the day on Saturday. Weather was great and everyone got some time outdoors! Much needed for everyone.
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
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Holy cow...you were not kidding. Just looked at October and every reservable site was booked every weekend. Thats going to be on our list to hit next year. Any other COE parks within a few hours of STL worth looking at?
I think Dam West is so popular because it offers a great camping experience and yet it is close to town and the Walmart is almost a walkable distance from the campground. The only sites I wouldn't bother with are 102 thru 133. They're across the road from the main campground and too close together.

It might be a bit farther than you want to travel but Mark Twain Lake has some nice campgrounds too. All three of the COE campgrounds are good but I like the Indian Creek Campground because it has a swimming beach. If you go to Indian Creek be sure to go on a walk right at dusk, there are a ton of deer in the area. The marina has a little store and a small restaurant with some outside tables where you can watch the boaters come in. Also there are those gumball type machines on the dock where you can buy fish food and feed the huge carp and bluegill that hang out around the marina. I'm sure Sam would like that.

Meramec State Park is nice and offers some full hookup sites. Your son is still small so I don't know if he would like to go into a cave or not, but Fisher Cave is worth seeing. Kids under 5 are free and 8 bucks for adults. Unless things have changed, the cave is natural so everyone is issued their own lantern for the tour.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:14 PM   #13
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Well.....the downside to spending time in the woods has now become apparent. Ticks! Found one on Sam's Head and a few on the dog. Wife not happy. I would assume they all rode in on the dog and migrated to the couch pillow where sam picked his up. Yuck.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:57 PM   #14
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Holy cow...you were not kidding. Just looked at October and every reservable site was booked every weekend. Thats going to be on our list to hit next year. Any other COE parks within a few hours of STL worth looking at?
There are some excellent COE campgrounds at Rend Lake in Southern Illinois. Gun Creek is our favorite. South Sandusky and North Sandusky are also great. Check recreation. gov for reservation info.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:46 AM   #15
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Well.....the downside to spending time in the woods has now become apparent. Ticks! Found one on Sam's Head and a few on the dog. Wife not happy. I would assume they all rode in on the dog and migrated to the couch pillow where sam picked his up. Yuck.
That sucks, that's one of the down falls to spending time in the woods, I hope the wife will understand.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:43 PM   #16
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Glad you had a great trip!

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Have you been to meramac? I have heard good things.
We've been to Meremac several times and we really like it. It's generally fairly easy to get reservations, and they have some full hook up sites (which are smaller), some with water/electricity, and some electric sites as well.

We want to try Johnson Shut Ins, but can't seem to get in. Maybe next year.

My absolute favorite park is Montauk SP near Salem. There are no water or full hook up sites, but the park is excellent! Big sites, perfectly flat and great for walks and bike rides with the kids. We love it, but it is almost impossible to get reservations!

Another great one is Bennett Spring, but campgrounds 2, 3, and 4 are on a hill. Campground 1 has full hookups and decent room, but hard to get reservations.

I just wish MO SPs had more full hookup sites because that's what my wife prefers. Having 3 kids all under 10, it's much easier with full hookups too.
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