My Late Summer Holiday at the Lake of the Ozarks

It’s been a long summer. Heck, it’s been a long pandemic, during which time both my older daughter’s boyfriend and my younger daughter (who lives with me full time) both tested positive for Covid. He had an easy go of it, but my girl had a rough weekend of flu-like symptoms, followed by a loss of taste and smell for a few weeks. It’s also been a year of very little travel for me when I usually head out on adventures – or trade shows – every few months.

Our family’s usual July 4th routine every summer is to head to a place we have [well, I say “we”, but it’s a bit more complicated. Hold on a sec and I’ll explain] at the Lake of the Ozarks, smack dab in the middle of Missouri. That might sound very redneck – and it kind of is – but it’s also a beautiful area and a great house with plenty of room for everyone and all our stuff.

Note: The locals pronounce it “miz-or-uh” not “miz-or-ee”.

Turns out that it’s my ex’s house, but since we have so much family history at the Lake of the Ozarks having gone there as a family every summer for almost 20 years, she generously opens up the house to me too. Like an Airbnb that you know really, really well. Our strategy is to simply ensure that we don’t overlap, with her having priority on scheduling since, well, it’s her house after all. 🙂

map of - lake of the ozarks, missouri

The Lake of the Ozarks is pretty interesting, actually, a completely man-made water feature created by the construction of the Bagnall Dam in 1931 (part of the post-Depression Works Progress Administration). Somewhere under the lake are submerged towns, though since the water is so murky diving would be pointless. As the water backed up from the dam and filled in the surrounding valleys and flat areas, it created a long, skinny dragon of a lake with over 1,000 miles of shoreline. It’s about 85 square miles of water surface at the optimal water level and has a main channel that’s over 100 miles long (winding around, bend by bend).

Linda’s Dad bought his lake cabin property early in the development of the area and has a prime spot. It’s on a point, sort of a pie-shaped property with the wide part facing into one of the main bends on the Lake. This means that it has an expansive view of everything going on. It’s a busy spot so there are always boats zipping by day or night. Some of ’em are super-fast “cigarette” boats, a few are small luxury yachts more like you would see in an ocean harbor, but most are more modest pontoon boats or skiffs with fishermen trying to catch the early fish.

AND SO, ON TO THE LAKE…

While I was unable to join the family for the July 4th Lake mayhem this year, the stars did align for a family trip and rendezvous the last few weeks of August. We were really coalescing from all over, however; I headed there from Boulder, CO, my girls drove from Sanibel Island, Florida, and my son and his girlfriend, a few weeks later, drove from Burlington, Vermont. Also in the mix with the girls: Ashley’s cat and our family pupsters, all experienced road-trippers. Gareth and his girlfriend were traveling with her dog Maple too, so it was poised to be a lot of critters!

dad, girls and pets, all in a van

I headed to Kansas City and then on to the Lake on a beautiful day of intense sun and heat. For those of you that haven’t driven across the Midwest, there’s no nice way to put it, the drive is boring. Miles and miles of farmland with barely a building in sight.

Ever the entrepreneur, I planned ahead because the drive was a perfect opportunity to test out a radar detector! Escort Radar sent me one to check out – The Escort Max360c – and it worked great! Did I also mention that I drove a 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid that Honda loaned me for the road trip? I’ll be writing about that separately but I found it a comfortable, peppy little car with splendid (39mpg) fuel efficiency for the long haul.

The girls and I managed to rendezvous en route to the Lake (you can see it was a full vehicle when I shared the last leg with them in the van, above) and it was great to see them: They’d been in Florida for a few weeks as part of their summer adventures, far, far away from Colorado. The house itself was as beautiful as always, and that view! I can’t say I’m a huge fan of rural Missouri and its endless Trump flags and signs, but I do enjoy being on the water.

sunrise over the dock, lake of the ozarks mo missouri

There’s a nice boat on the dock – on a hydro-hoist to keep it out of the water when not in use – but we were lazy and didn’t take it out once in the week leading up to Gareth’s arrival. Instead, we just chilled out, watching some movies and admiring my youngests’ mad crocheting skills. She’s not only figured out how to make cardigans, but now she can modify the patterns as she goes to make them more stylish. Darn impressive. Ready for Etsy.

SCHEDULES. WE GOT SCHEDULES.

The original schedule had my son and his girlfriend showing up the day after I headed back, but I was able to tweak my schedule to add a few days to the trip (thanks for the loaner extension, Honda!). It was with delight that I watched them pull into the driveway after he’d spent his entire summer far, far away in Burlington. They were a welcome addition, especially when everyone got into mad team meal prep in the kitchen:

all the kids in the kitchen, missouri

The dogs all met up and quickly figured out their pecking order and hierarchy, which was a definite relief. We weren’t entirely sure how Maple (show in the pic above) would react to Cosmo the cat, however, so we sequestered the cat for his safety. That seemed to work out fine as he basically sleeps 20+ hours/day anyway, as do most indoor cats.

The morning after Gareth arrived I headed back to Colorado, the long haul home. I left Kansas City during a deluge but soon drove out of the weather, just to encounter fog at one point in mid-Kansas and a brief burst of rain near Limon, Colorado. At least it was more interesting than endless sunshine. Finally, I pulled up to my home, and collapsed into my own bed. One of the best things post-vacation, in my book. A lovely holiday, very relaxing, but oh, did my front lawn need trimming!

And now, back to work. I have a new class I’m signed up to develop for the University of Denver on entrepreneurship and am teaching a graduate course on digital marketing too, along with everything else happening this autumn. The kids are all back in school within the week too, so it’s all going to be quite a bit different soon enough. Should be fun…

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