Our friends (and the most musical “Driving in…” submissions), the Clausings, have taught us many wise and astute things since the beginning of our friendship. But perhaps one of the best suggestions they ever gave us was to take our kids to Cuivre River State Park in Troy, MO.
It took us a while to take them up on their advice, but eventually it became the site of Clarence and Anders’s first ever camping trip. We’ve mentioned taking your kids camping in previous articles and here’s some proof. Clarence was so excited to be in the great outdoors that several times throughout the weekend he would run up the hill yelling “WE’RE CAMPING!!!” Another favorite quote from that trip happened about 4 o’clock in the morning. Clarence had rolled half way across the tent and at one point he and I switched places without him noticing. When he finally woke up he said “I AM OVER HERE!?” in a very confused tone. Priceless…
But this post isn’t about that camping trip, it’s about a more recent trip on a Sunday afternoon. I have a confession to make… I’m terrible at judging time and distance. So I’ll pull open my map and see an interesting spot only about 12″ from our home and decide “Hey! We can make it there!” Well what those 12″ don’t tell you is what the speed limit is, whether or not it will rain, what traffic is like, and how long those red lights are. So often what seems like a leisurely Sunday Drive turns into a late bedtime. And this was one of those instances… but I still maintain that it was worth it.
Cuivre River is a great river for recreation. There isn’t any barge traffic, not a whole lot of boat traffic, and there are plenty of inlets that provide a safe place to take the boys swimming. So after nearly giving up (because I misjudged things) we finally arrived at the park and put on our swim suits. Both of the boys were excited to get in the water. Although when we got our feet wet their different personalities began to show.
Clarence is… how do I put this lightly? A bit cautious. Always wanting to stay near the shallow water, usually clinging to your side quite closely. Anders, on the other hand, is a fish… but one that doesn’t quite understand how swimming works. They’d splash each other, splash us, and try to run away. But their little feet would trip on a rock and fall into the water. Anders would get a mouth full of water and his eyes would go wide as he tried to figure out what just happened. Then without skipping a beat he’d go right back into splashing. (This gives us hope for our upcoming trip to Gulf Shores) Cuivre River was a perfect place to take the boys swimming because it stays shallow quite a ways out from the sandy beach.
It turns out that it’s a favorite spot for other home schooling families. I overheard a young girl, maybe about 7 years old, talking to a man about the upcoming school year. He asked “So where do you go to school?” And she proudly responded, “I go to Homeschool!” He chuckled because he had never heard of anyone “Going to home school.”
Off in the distance I saw a rack of canoes and kayaks and several lock boxes so I went to go read the signs. That family told me that they had enjoyed renting one of those canoes. It’s $10 for 2 hours or $20 for the whole day and you can easily paddle your way up and down the gently flowing stream. The shaded banks made it a perfect way to take your kids out on the water and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately for us, bed time was rapidly approaching and we didn’t have time to rent one… but we made it a plan for next time.
On the way home, we decided to pick something up to eat and noticed that their was a Kroger’s Grocery store. Now what do you come to this blog for but to discover obscure things. Kroger is the only seller of the brand new “Swedish Fish” flavored Oreo cookies. So obviously we HAD to get a pack. Don’t worry, we did also get something substantial. But Oreos are more interesting than a Little Ceasar’s Hot-n-Ready pizza or a side of mashed potatoes from KFC (Kezia’s pregnant… she has cravings.) Here’s a bit of a PSA. Don’t waste your money, they are quite gross. We have an idea how the pitch meeting went but I’ll share that in the newsletter.
The point of all of this is that even though we MAY have driven a little too far… and MAYBE Swedish Fish are terrible. We came home with some great stories, some great memories, and some great pictures. Do you have a favorite swimming hole? Tell us about it in the comments! Until next time, thanks for driving with us!