Our next stop on our eastward journey was back through Missouri to another state park. We'd stayed at a couple of nice MO state parks in the summer, but this one was a new one for us, Long Branch, near the small city of Macon.
The park's only campground has 70 sites, most of which are reservable, so it's not exceptionally large, but the park itself is on a very large site with Long Branch Lake as its centerpiece. There are also hiking trails through the Chariton River Hills prairie.
We arrived on a Thursday without reservations but did not need them this late in the season. We were able to select our own site and had a wide array of choices. There are electric-only (30 or 50 amp) and primitive sites here. We chose a 30-amp site that backed up to the lake (through woods) and was very private and farther from other sites than most. We had our loop to ourselves on our first night, though it partially filled up over the weekend. Our site wasn't very level, and it took some work and boards under our tires to get Pearl level, but the extra work was worth it for the privacy and serenity of the site. It was very dark here at night, and we slept well.
There are no individual water hookups, but there are spigots scattered around the campground for filling your tank or water jugs, and there is a dump station. We picked up no over-the-air TV stations, but the Verizon 4G LTE signal was strong (4 bars).
Here is our wooded site with the lake behind us.
A Bubbling Battery
As we were getting settled into our site after arriving at the park, we smelled something funny coming from the engine compartment. RVs can have funny smells at times, but this was definitely out of the ordinary. Barry took a look, and the water in our wet-cell starter battery was boiling! This was not a good thing. We had no idea how old the battery was and figured it was probably time to replace it anyway. Barry was able to disconnect it from our battery charger to stop the boiling, but he knew that would likely mean a dead battery when we went to leave the park in a few days. It was certainly worrisome as we had never tried to start Pearl off the house batteries. That is supposed to work, but if you've never done it, it's a bit scary. Worst case, we'd have to call our Good Sam Roadside Assistance for help.
And a Bike Ride (but of course!)
In the meantime, we tried not to worry too much about the battery, assuming things would probably work out in the end. We took a bike ride in the park and beyond. I was happy to see that they are restoring the prairie in the park. I guess all those Little House books when I was growing up gave me a special affinity for the prairie landscape.
There are bikeable roads in the park (though they had the usual bone-jarring cracks) and nearby towns to cycle to on nice, rural roads.
Our bike ride took us to Bevier nearby. It had some real small-town charm.
This gorgeous old church captivated me and required an immediate stop for photos. I hope it is not neglected to the point that it falls down, but even in its paint-peeling and neglected state, it is beautiful.
I did some research after the ride and found out that this was formerly the Bevier English Congregational Church. The building now houses the Bevier Black Diamond Historical Preservation Organization (black diamond because of the area's coal heritage). Here's a photo on Facebook of how the church used to look. Wow!
We next pedaled east to the slightly larger city of Macon. I liked this house, all decorated for fall with colorful mums at the front stairway.
And this beautiful old gate. Obviously the home behind it used to be something important in the city.
Still beautiful, it was in somewhat derelict condition and with no sign, appeared to be a private residence now. I do hope that the owners are in the process of restoring this gem. As it is now, it looks a bit like a Halloween haunted house. Pretty but a little spooky!
Stay tuned for the next chapter in our battery saga and for a visit to a very specially named town!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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