This day started early. We were awakened by a massive crack of thunder and rain pouring into our roof vent at 1:30AM. We were in the middle of the strongest storm we’ve experienced yet in the RV, in a Wal Mart parking lot. The rain was coming down heavy, but the wind wasn’t at too crazy a speed. Katie immediately took out her phone to make sure there were no tornadoes forecast for the area (even though we had checked this ahead of time, too), which much to our relief there were not. It passed over us in a half hour, and we were able to go back to sleep.
The next time we awoke was closer to 8AM. We had one mission, to find somewhere to stay for the night, and hopefully a little more. Our first lead that we were hopeful for the previous day came up dry, and we got 2 other negative responses from campgrounds that were fully booked. Finally, we were able to find a campground with some availability, and full hookups! It had been a while since we could take a full shower in our own campsite, so this excited us a great deal. We headed out to Smith’s Fork RV Park, which was near Smithville Lake, only about 25 minutes from Kansas City.
As we arrived at the campground, we were pleasantly surprised by how nice everything was! The lake was much larger than we were expecting, and everything was very clean and green! The camp host we checked in with was very friendly and helpful as well, offering to give us a checklist of important RV things to remember (further proof that fellow RV’ers are eager to help!). We set up our campsite, which continues to get quicker and smoother each time. We’re still improving, but I think we’re going to hit the point of near complete mastery by the 2 month mark. Until then, there will certainly be minor struggles, such as my difficulty in getting the sewer hose to angle down correctly to the drain today.
After we were all set up, we spoke with my cousin, Medea, who gave us some great recommendations on things to do before we met up with them later in the evening. Our first stop was the Shatto Dairy, a popular organic dairy in the area. We weren’t too sure what to expect, but she mentioned they had root beer milk, so we were very intrigued.
We pulled up to a white country store with a large front porch surrounded by silos and other buildings for the farm. Inside, they had a large soda fountain counter, dairy merchandise, and a fridge full of specialty milks, with flavors including Cookies and Cream, Cotton Candy, Banana, and our choice: Root Beer Milk.
It came in a quart sized glass bottle and we headed out to sit on the front porch to drink it. The milk was so creamy and tasted just like a root beer float. We were already strategizing whether we could come back before we had finished it! As we were drinking the milk, a majestic looking Collie came up to us. I’ve never seen a dog so well groomed, his fur was so puffy and soft. And he was so calm and well-behaved, giving us plenty of opportunities to snap a few photos. This scene almost felt like something out of another time – overlooking the rolling farmland, bonding with our fluffy friend and drinking the delicious freshly produced milk – it felt like a dairy is really supposed to feel.
After the Shatto dairy, we met up with my cousin David and his wife, Medea, who took us out to a terrific vineyard called Windy Winery. It was great to meet David and Medea, whom we had never met due to living so far from each other, but who had found out about our honeymoon via social media and generously offered to show us around the Kansas City area. It was great to be able to catch up with family over a plentiful sampling of wine, as well as local beers, meat and cheese. Our favorite wine was a deliciously dry red blend called Tyrannosaurus red, maybe because we just saw the largest intact T Rex at the Field Museum in Chicago, but most likely because it really was THAT good! We are told Missouri is really becoming known for their many vineyards, and if this is any indication, we can see why!
Following the winery, David and Medea invited us to their home for dinner. While there, David and Medea’s daughter Madalyn showed us around a nearby town called Hamilton, Missouri, a town of approximately 1800 residents, and where the entire downtown industry is devoted to quilting. Yes, an entire downtown devoted to quilting. I’m not too into quilting, but it was really cool to see how a town could be built up that way, especially considering the quilting business only started less than 10 years ago and was essentially revitalized solely by one family who bought up all of the shops because their matron was a fantastic quilter, named Jenny Doane. Quilters from near and far visit, and that was very apparent!