Travelogue -- Day Four, To the Lake
After pie for breakfast we reluctanty said good-bye to Kathy. It would probably be a long time before we returned but we were taking a bit of Quincy with us. I had two moss-covered rocks from South Park Creek in the trunk of the car to put in my garden, plus seedpods from Kathy's passionflower. Both would remind me of Quincy. There was more we would have liked to see, but it was Tuesday morning and time to cross the mile-wide river into Missouri and head toward the Lake of the Ozarks where more adventure awaited. We decided to cross at Quincy this time so we could drive through downtown and stop to get a picture of the old library, a grand historic building that we had missed the day before. The town square with Washington Park in the middle is just across the street so we took a walk around the familar landmark, as well.
It was rather nice driving on country roads to get to the highway that would take us to the lake. The leaves weren't changing yet, save for a thicket of red sumac here and there. We even spotted at least four wild turkeys at the side of the road. Alas, we were not quick enough to get photographs.
Chris had wanted to find a split-rail fence to take our picture on since it is a family tradition, but the only one we found on the whole trip that day was along a stretch of road with no shoulder and a ditch that I was leery of. I vetoed the photo op, and I'm not sure Chris quite forgave me. I promised we'd find another before the trip was over. I was sure hoping they still had a few split-rail fences in the Ozarks.
We ate at a fast food restaurant after we got to Osage Beach, then because we had a little time to kill before check-in time at our cottages, we took the road into the Lake of the Ozarks State Park to see if we could find the place we swam when we were on vacation as kids. Public Beach Road sounded promising, but our map was a bit out of date and at one point we had to walk on foot when the road was closed to traffic. We did find a swimming beach, but nothing about it looked right except children playing at the water's edge. We wondered if we had found the right place whether it would have changed so much as to be unrecognizable. The scenery in the state park was pretty, though, and we enjoyed our little side trip.
Allowing plenty of time to get lost, we finally followed our map to the cottages. There was more than a little trepidation as the road got rockier and rockier. We took the wrong road once and had to turn around, but still found Copper Moon Cottages about a half hour earlier than our two o'clock check in time. I've never been on a worse driveway, and the landscaping was non-existent, but the cottages themselves were charming. One of the daughters of our host greeted us and said the cottages were not quite ready. It seems the sheets were being ironed. We waited for a while on the porch overlooking the lake. I called Jill's cell and found out they were about five minutes away. We went up to the sharp turn onto Steep Lane as we talked. I stayed on the phone with her until they got there to show them the drive. We had missed it the first time.
After hugs all around we toured both cottages. They were new and some of the details like cabinet pulls were yet to be installed, but the kitchens were cute and between them, well equipped for the cooking we intended to do. There were plenty of nice touches and the bedrooms were great. Chris and I were sleeping in the Chanticleer, the biggest cottage with two bedrooms where we would be doing the cooking. Erik and Jill were taking the smaller Bordeaux. It had one bedroom with two beds. It would be used primarily for sleeping and we would spend most of our time together in the larger cottage. I had found the cottages online and had negotiated a wonderful deal, trading some of my artwork as part of the agreement. Splitting the cost of the rental four ways would save us all a bunch. We were a bit disappointed that the hot tub at the dock was not operational, but it proved to be a minor thing. I don't think any of us were anxious to be seen in our swim suits, anyway.
Our host, Yvonne, finally made it down to the cottages and stayed about a half hour to visit. After the several emails spanning several months getting everything set up for our visit, I almost felt like I knew Yvonne. We settled up and I gave her the serigraphs I had promised. She is a very nice lady, and seemed genuinely pleased we were there, and happy with the artwork and our arrangement.
After we unpacked our bags in our separate cottages and bedrooms we all got together around the ample table in the Chanticleer, finished off the vinegar pie that Kathy insisted we take, and discussed our expectations for our visit at the lake. Everyone seemed to be on the same page. We wanted to relax primarily, play games, and see some of the nearby scenic attractions, but not go so far that we couldn't return to the cottages for meals. After a discussion about menus, too, we all went to the grocery store in Osage Beach and bought groceries, each of us paying our share of the expense. Chris and I had brought along quite a few staple items plus some herbs so we wouldn't have to buy a bunch of something we just needed a bit of.
I think we must have been hungry when we made our grocery list, because we bought ingredients for another pie and cinnamon rolls, too. We also stopped at Ozark Maid Candies because Chris wanted some of the white chocolate cashew clusters that we always got from there when we were kids. The place was a hit and everyone bought candy. It wouldn't be the last time we would go there. There was always candy on the dining table that we all shared.
There was laughter and conversation while we cooked our supper, a chicken dish for which Chris had brought the recipe.
All four of us helped, though we soon decided that the Chanticleer had only a two-butt kitchen. Our relaxed meal of chicken, salad and garlic bread was tasty and the easy camaraderie that evening promised amenable company for the rest of our stay. That evening Jill baked some chicken in enchilada sauce for the next day's Mexican dinner and I made a cherry cheesecake pie and put it in the frig. There was so much candy and other food around that the pie was superfluous, but now and then for the remainder of our visit another piece would disappear.
Darkness fell quickly on the lake, before we had time to really check out the dock area or take a paddleboat ride. There was time to sit on the porch and talk, though, and play with a friendly cat that would hang around our entire visit. I believe we got in at least one scrabble game, too. At bedtime, we retired to our separate cottages and slept blissfully in our amazingly comfortable beds. Jill was so taken with her bed that she took a picture of the mattress label in the hopes of finding one for herself.