Day #64 – Camping along the Mighty Mississippi

LOCATION:  Cape Girardeau, in SE Missouri.
CAMPGROUND:  Trail of Tears State Park.  This is a small, very quiet loop with 20 sites.  There is another loop, farther away, with tent-camping.  Long, paved, level site. Picnic table, fire pit, and electricity.  Some sites have water.  Central water and dump station.  Decent bathrooms and showers.  Many sites have Mississippi River views.  $21/night.  4 stars out of 5. 
WEATHER:  Very spring-like.  High 66 with full sun

A blog reader asked me whether we have been affected  by gas shortages.  We have not.  We have not seen any long lines, or heard anyone talking about shortages.  Prices have remained about the same.  Here it is $2.69/gallon, always varying state-by-state.   If we experience any shortages, I will write about them.

Speaking of gas – George was driving and insisted we could wait until our next stop to refill.  By the time we found a gas station, we were on empty…….again   🙂 

At last night’s winery, we had absolutely no cell phone connection, so could not get any map directions on our phone.  We left the winery, following country roads, just hoping that we were going in the right direction, heading north.  Finally, we came to a town and could connect.  It was a bit scary.  It makes you realize how dependent we have become on our devices. 

We stopped on our way to refill one of our propane tanks.  Each tank lasts a long while, it seems. 

This campground has a cool registration set-up.  You reserve your site online or via telephone.  Then, upon arrival, you scan the QRC code located on your site’s post which notifies the host that you have arrived.  Then, later the host drops by and puts your daily tag on your post.  This is efficient and means that no one has to man an entrance gate.  It is also helpful with Covid precautions, requiring no face-to-face contact.

After setting up, we drove into Cape Girardeau, about 15 miles away.  It is a very nice river town with a branch of the university.  It seems quite prosperous, as we passed a lot of mansions on our way in.  The downtown remains vibrant….We had 2 brewpubs from which to choose!  🙂  We selected one called Minglewood, located in an old, restored brick building where we enjoyed some beer and shared a quesadilla. 

We spent a fun afternoon (not!) in a laundromat catching up with bags and bags of dirty laundry.  It always fun to people-watch in laundromats.  Some had staggering amounts of laundry!  It is always a good feeling to complete the task.

Back at the campground, we enjoyed this view from our picnic table.  We are RIGHT on the river.

From time to time, a train whizzes by, right in front of us – between our campsite and the river.

Also, barges floated by….

DINNER:  I am always looking for different types of healthy grains.  I bought some farro a long time ago, and wanted to use the rest up.  It is a grain that looks like long-grained brown rice.  It has a nutty flavor, made even nuttier if you roast it.  I had grabbed this recipe from a TV cooking show which didn’t specify the amounts, so I just guessed at everything for enough for 2 people.  It turned out great, and is quite easy….

Cherry tomatoes
Pepper flakes
Chicken or veg broth
White wine
Protein – Shrimp or chicken or tofu (I used shrimp tonight)
olive oil
Feta cheese

First, make the farro.  I roasted it, then soaked it for 3 hours, boiled it for 40 minutes, and then fluffed it up.   Some farro is more polished and takes less time to cook – follow the directions on your label.

Saute each of these ingredients separately in olive oil, then mix together:  Kale, garlic, onion, tomatoes, and protein.  Boil wine and broth until reduced.  Add pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Mix everything together – farro, liquid, and sauteed ingredients.  Press in a Pyrex dish and sprinkle the feta liberally on top.  (I used goat cheese that we bought at one of our Harvest Host farms).  Bake until warm and until cheese melts a bit. 

Speaking of food…..I belong to a Facebook group called Gourmet Camping.  They used my photo of a recipe I made the other night for their cover photo.  What an honor!  It is for grilled steak rollups with a Vietnamese dipping sauce.

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