Roaring River State Park, MO

09/26/12 – Wednesday

Well, I did have one leak this morning, discovered at 4:30 am when the thunder woke me up. It’s the missing microwave rivet again, the gray putty that the previous owner had put around the screw on the top cracked to the point where water could get underneath it. At least it was an easy fix and first thing in the morning it got taken care of. While there was a good chance for rain again today it held off until I left the park around 2, that makes getting everything put away and ready to roll again so much easier.

Since I plan on staying at Roaring River over the weekend, I decide to make a reservation. I’d hate to have a repeat of Big Sioux where the entire park booked up. The fellow I talk to on the phone has a very difficult time looking me up in the system, apparently the guy who put all of my information in at Harry Truman did something wrong, but I don’t mind waiting, it’s not like there’s somewhere I need to be.

I arrive in Springfield, MO in the afternoon and decide it’s as good a place as any to stop. My phone’s GPS tells me there is a library near the Walmart where I plan to spend the night so I head on over to check it out.

I’ve never seen a library like it before. There’s a gift shop near the entrance, a hallway with displays for various upcoming events on one side and public conference and meeting rooms on the other side. Near the actually library entrance itself is a cafe and coffee joint, and there is a whole room dedicated to magazines and newspapers that has a lot of comfy chairs with outlets nearby for people with laptops. Very cool, I highly recommend it.

09/27/12 – Thursday


Once again I am woken in the wee hours of the morning by a thunderstorm, but hey, no leaks this time! Otherwise my stay at Walmart is uneventful. I do a bit of grocery shopping and go back to the library for a while, then it’s off to Roaring River.

This is probably my first true ‘back road’ experience with the Casita – I’ve been traveling on Interstates and big highways when possible, but south of Springfield it’s all smaller 2 lane roads. Very curvy ones.

I drive up and around into wooded hills, then glide back down into pastures where cattle – mostly raised for beef in this area – graze. The towns I pass through are small and quaint, and quickly gone. Missouri is also prettier than I expected, and a few maples along the way are already hinting at fall color. I can’t stop grinning, it’s been a long couple years getting ready for this, and now I’m reaping the fruits of my labors.

Getting into the park takes me by surprise. Just before I enter there is a sign clearly posted: ‘Trucks use lower gear’ which I unwisely ignore. I look all around me, I don’t see any hills and nothing up to this point has been a steep grade at all, it can’t be that bad, right?

That was pretty foolish of me. By the bottom, there’s a bit of smoke coming out from around my front wheels and an faint but unpleasant smell. I stop at the first pull-over I find and get out to inspect the damage. The smoke stops quickly. I carefully put my hand on all the tires – truck and trailer. None of them feel unusually hot or appear to be damaged so I’m guessing the smoke was from the brakes. Satisfied that nothing is about to blow up or catch fire, I actually take a look around at where I am.

Roaring River is located in a deep valley. To look at it from the bottom you’d think you were surrounded by small mountains, but really you come off of a plateau down into a much lower elevation, it just looks like mountains. That’s why I didn’t think I’d need to use a lower gear, I hadn’t gone up at all so I didn’t think there would be so much down. I’ve learned my lesson now and hopefully you’ll take my advice and if you see a similar sign, pay attention to it.

The pull off I took quite by chance was for a portion of Roaring River that is set aside for fishing, and while I wait for things to cool off I take a peek. It’s amazingly clear and has a bluish cast. I haven’t seen water this clear in a long time. The pull-off winds along the side of the river (I later learn just how close to the source this area is though, it’s more of a creek than a river here) and fisherman can pay at the park office for a permit to fish for rainbow trout that are stocked along this area.

I gape at the fish which are quite visible in the pristine water for a while before remembering that I still need to check in and get the Casita in my site.

Luckily the function of my brakes doesn’t seem to be diminished. I test them on the way to the campground area, which was actually quite close to where I stopped. Also luckily the site that I reserved for the weekend sight unseen is a good one, with a forested view from my big back window and has a good view of the pseudo-mountains in front.

The rest of the day I spend getting setup and then I take a walk back to the fishing area and snap some more pictures of the river. Just before sundown I make it up to the fish hatchery that produced the trout that go into the river. Right next to that is the source of Roaring River, but pictures of that have to wait as it gets too dark.

9/28/12 – Friday

I’m up before the sun, and hurry to eat breakfast and get ready. I want to get back to the spring that spawns Roaring River before my fellow campers and fisherman all arrive to gawk at it and make taking pictures difficult.

Absolutely gorgeous, and definitely worth some gawking. These pictures still don’t really do it justice, just how high up the limestone cliff face goes and how blue that water is, there’s even a smaller spring above it that sends a trickle of water down that cliff. The pool that you see goes quite a ways back into the side of the hill, there’s a pocket of air trapped under there that forms a cavern, you need to swim through the water to get to it.

That pool is only 3-12 feet wide, but it’s the depth that makes it amazing – 224 feet. No wonder the color is so deep. The spring pushes out just over 20 million gallons of water per day on average and feeds both the river and the rainbow trout hatchery next door. That may sound like a lot of water and it is, but the Ozarks area of Missouri has a lot of springs like this, and this particular one is only the 20th largest in the state.

Once I’m able to tear myself away from the spring it’s time for more hiking, and today I’ve got on the shoes I’m going to be wearing at Amazon to break them in. Today’s project: the Fire tower trail, 3.5 miles up and down the side of the valley. There is indeed a fire tower along the trail, but the trees have grown so much since it was built that it doesn’t offer a view which is sad.

The trail is also not a loop, and it spits me out along the side of a road, leaving me confused about how to get back to Bertha. I could pull out my iPhone and use the GPS to figure out where I am, but it’s still early and there’s no rush, so I just starting walking. I proceed to walk to the edge of the park. Oops, guess I went the wrong way.

I still make it back to the truck before noon, if I had to guess I’d say I did at least 5 miles of walking. My New Balance shoes still feel good and my feet don’t hurt, so I figure that’s a good omen for my upcoming stint at Amazon.

After lunch I plop myself down at my campsite and alternate between reading and and doing stuff on the internet, it’s a hard job but somebody’s got to do it.

* * *

Yet again I’ve got too much to write about so I’ll be doing another post for the second half of my time at Roaring River. For any who are concerned: Bertha’s brakes have continued working normally but now that I’m stationary at Coffeyville for a while I will be taking her in to get them looked at to make sure all is well.

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16 Responses to Roaring River State Park, MO

  1. MARVIN October 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm #


    Becky ,

    The smell from the front brakes was probably the front brake pads . If they were not worn badly , they could still be glazed from the heat . Front brake pads are not expensive and if glazed should be replaced .

    When driving offroad , I always use a lower gear ( even in the desert ) , as the transmission will run cooler in a lower gear .

    The picture of the spring invites a swim just looking at it ! How big was the two fish that were in the photo – they look big ?

    Did you see sites any that would work for a taller RV ? The area looks really neat .

    Be Safe


    • Becky October 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Hello Marvin! Thanks for writing in.

      I’ve got a place lined up to take Bertha next week to get the brakes looked at, so we’ll know soon enough if it was the pads or not. They still seem to be working just fine but I’m being careful just in case. I’ll keep what you said in mind about driving off-road, haven’t done anything like that yet but hopefully later this winter when I head SW.

      That water is a constant 57 degrees year-round, bit chilly for swimming but if it was hot enough outside I’d definitely try! Those are rainbow trout in the picture, I’m not good at judging a fish in inches by looking at it in the water, but they’re definitely a good size, the kind you’d keep if you were fishing for them.

      How tall of a RV are we talking about? I don’t think it would be an issue, I didn’t go under any low bridges on the way there and there are plenty of sites that don’t have trees nearby to worry about branches hanging down. Most sites are back-ins but there were a few pull-through. Just about all could accommodate a long rig.

  2. Gary October 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Hi Becky,
    Wonderful pictures of the Roaring River. I went there about 5 years ago with a friend and had a wonderful time. Amazing how those minnow trout always swim in one direction. I’ve been following your site for about a month now and am impressed, and envious at the way you live your life on your own terms. I hope to someday do the same and am making steps toward that goal. By-the-way, I live in Lawrence, Ks which is west of Kansas City about 20 miles and north of where you’ll be working. Maybe someday we’ll meet. I enjoy your stories of life on the road (such a good writer) and love your pics too. Take care.

    • Becky October 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Thank you Gary, I always like hearing that the stuff I write helps people out and is appreciated. Roaring River is such a beautiful place and I am so happy I went there.

      Good for you! If you’ve already made the decision to go full-timing and are taking steps to get there then the biggest part of the battle is already won, the rest is just logistics which you figure out as you go along. if you have any specific questions about the lifestyle though you’re always welcome to send me an e-mail. That goes for anyone else who may be reading this too. 🙂

      If you ever find yourself down in the Coffeyville area give me a holler, I’ll be here until December 23rd. Or perhaps once we’ll meet on the road somewhere, that would be nice too.

      • Sherry October 6, 2012 at 9:15 am #

        Hope you won’t take full timing discussions to email. Everyone can learn something even if they have been on the road a long time. Keep the discussions on the blog – Please!

        Great post. It’s wonderful to see your dreams coming true. Very inspiring for everyone!!
        Sherry recently posted..Wow is all I can say!My Profile

      • Gary October 8, 2012 at 1:39 am #

        Thanks Becky, I will. Same to you if you make it to Lawrence…I’ll show you around. It’s the home of Kansas University (which you will hear quite a bit about at your job) and has an awesome downtown area with lots of coffee shops and eateries, stores, museums, historical places. Probably the most liberal, laid-back and best place to live in Ks. Any info about the day-to-day routine of living in an rv, especially in colder weather would be greatly appreciated Becky. You’re very inspiring.

        • Becky October 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

          Lawrence sounds like a fun place!

          The day-to-day living in a RV isn’t that much different for me than it was being stationary, unless it’s a travel day.

          Whatever you liked to spend most of your free time doing before RVing will still be the same afterwards. For me, I spend a lot of my free time on the internet. If I’m not here I’m playing computer games, surfing the web, streaming videos, that hasn’t changed. In my apartment, I only really used my bed and my computer desk often, since I didn’t own a TV I hardly ever used the living room at all. That makes living in a RV easier, because I never used all that extra space to begin with. I liked doing stuff outdoors, but there was a limit to what I could get to within a hour or so of driving in Bluffton. RVing has been great for that because I just stay in a park with stuff I like to do outside nearby.

          Living in a RV in a cold climate I’m still learning about myself. When things start getting cold around here I’ll post more about it.

  3. Fireman Steve October 5, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Please be careful with those brakes. I agree with Marvin regarding them. Your stories and photos are great. Keep ’em coming. Many thanks

  4. Becky October 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Ayup, I will. Thanks for reading Steve. 🙂 More pictures of Roaring River are coming shortly, still have the second two days to talk about.

    • Fireman Steve October 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Awesome. I look forward to seeing your pics and hearing about your adventures…. 🙂

  5. Kim and Jerry Portelli October 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    You’ve arrived in Coffeyville!? Do you start this coming week? Hope you getting settled in at Big Chief!!
    Kim and Jerry Portelli recently posted..The Dangling CarrotMy Profile

    • Becky October 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Yep! Orientation was Thurs/Friday, my first real day starts Monday. There’ll be more about that coming up!

      • Kim and Jerry Portelli October 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

        What shift are you working and what position did you get?
        Kim and Jerry Portelli recently posted..The Dangling CarrotMy Profile

        • Becky October 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

          8th and Inbound. I’m going to see if I can get cross-trained as a Picker though, that’s still what I wanted to do most.

  6. Kim October 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Cool! Keep grinning!

    • Becky October 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm #


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