Friday, May 29, 2015

Tour of Missouri: Weston Bend State Park Area

Unofficially, summer has arrived. School has ended. Memorial Day has passed us. Let the daylight linger as the days stay longer.

On the heels of my near 800 mile road we headed out to Weston Bend State Park just outside of lovely Weston, Missouri.Luckily for us, it is only about a half hour from our home.  The weather forecasted rain all weekend but we still went out in search of our weekend getaway. Our camping spot was perfect! Friday night we were serenaded by owls all night long. The dog did not like it but we loved it!

Weston Bend State Park is a fairly small park. I think there are only 34 camping spots. We made our reservations about six months prior to ensure we would have a space. I am happy to say this is the first state park on our attempt to earn the Missouri Camper Award for the second year.  After breakfast on Saturday a small group of us headed out to enjoy Weston, Missouri. 

Small shops line both sides of the street. The men folk spent time in the Tobacco Shop and the Hardware store. We women checked out every other shop available!  We popped into the Main Street Galleria for cold drinks. 

The Galleria has an old fashioned soda fountain as well as hand-dipped ice cream.  Each of pondered the menu board before we each ordered either a phosphate soda, a limeade, or a lemonade.  I ended up having one of their specialties: a Lavender Lemonade. They claim it is the hottest thing in Weston! I don't know all about that, but I have been researching how to make my own Lavender Infused Simple Syrup. 

Weston was a beautiful town full of nice people. We enjoyed chatting with the salesman at the McCormick Vodka store. Did you know that McCormick Vodka is distilled in Weston? I did not.  You know what else you may not know, for a quarter you can sample any beverage they sell in the store. I should also put a plug in for Weston Tobacco Company. A longtime friend of mine owns and operates the store. He learned to hand roll cigars and turned a passion into thriving company. We were not able to catch up with Corey at his shop but he was nice enough to stop by the campsite and meet everyone. I almost wish I smoked cigars. But since I don't I will do the next best thing and tell you all about his place. Check them out when you visit Weston.

The rain did catch up to us. Saturday evening an hour or two before forecasted the rain came down.  And it kept coming down all night. 

Sunday morning, after the rain cleared we got out the dutch oven and tried a new breakfast pizza. The pizza tasted great and was so easy to make. Wanna try? Here is the recipe:
  • Line the bottom of a dutch oven with a tube of crescent rolls. I used two tubes in a 12 inch dutch oven. It was a little think, sorta like deep dish pizza.
  • Top the crescent rolls with 1 pound browned sausage, 1 cup thawed frozen hash-browns, and 1 sliced green onion,  and a cup of shredded cheese.  
  • Mix together 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon of flour or baking mix, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the crust.
  • Place 12 briquettes  on top of the dutch oven and 8 on the bottom.  Cook for about 20 minutes until the egg mixture is set. 
We placed this meal on our "do-over" list!

Besides visiting the small town of Weston, we experienced another really cool thing during our visit to Weston Bend State Park. Every year in Missouri we experience locust. This is a year of the 17 year cicada and we were able to first hand experience their hatching. The still shelled cicada emerge from tiny holes in the ground. They then crawl to a spot where they hang until they hatch. 

Call me a nerd, but I became fascinated with the hatching locust. When you first look at the tree, or the plants, the weeds, or even the ground you do not see any evidence of the cicada. But if you stop and look beyond the obvious you would see them EVERYWHERE! The ground was littered with little wholes. The trees were covered with empty shells; some discarded some still hatching. The plants were dotted with hatched locust in various stages of drying out. I personally don't love cicadas. I can appreciate their matching call until it gets so loud I can't hear myself think, but I loved studying them up close as they hatched. 

Our weekend was quiet and relaxing. We enjoyed good food, good company, we made some new memories. Sorry, Allen but some of those might have been at your expense. And we were able for a few days to slow the world down and just enjoy the small things. I hope your Memorial Day Weekend was just as rewarding! 

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