Bob Woodall's home page
Missouri: Lake of the Ozarks, Bagnell Dam, Ozark State Park, Town of
Osage Beach-Randy's Custard
Bagnell-Bagnell Fish & Steak House
2003 Travelogue# 7 Lake Ozark, MO
Monday, August 25, 2003
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Mileage: 40592 Traveled 56 miles
Osage Beach RV Park, 3949 Campground Lane 573-348-3445
Full Hookups, 50-amps, gravel pads, CATV, pool, store, and very clean, $20
Lake of the Ozarks, located in the heart of Missouri, is one of the
lakes in the State with over 17,203 acres of water and 1,150 miles of
shoreline. There's more shoreline in the 75 miles of this lake than there
is coastline for the State of California. This lake was formed when the
Union Electric Company of St. Louis, Missouri began the construction of
Bagnell Dam on August 6, 1929. The Great Osage River Project was
considered one of the greatest engineering and construction feats of the
time. This project kept this part of the State prospering during the
depression and brought jobs to over 20,000 laborers from all over the
The drive from Jefferson City was pleasant on divided highway US 54 but
we entered the Osage River Valley we encountered major road construction.
Our first choice of RV Parks was Riverside right along the River but the
heavy machinery and work crews discouraged us from crossing the two-lane
highway, so we continued trucking on down the road. Peggy had to fumble
quickly with the RV books to find another Park. Just before we reached
Hwy 42 South she found Osage Beach RV and I was able to maneuver and make
the left turn. The Park, a quarter of a mile down the road, was close to
many of the attractions.
Since it was another hot afternoon, when we finished setting up the
campsite, we were ready to cool off, have some lunch followed by a little
"siesta". After napping, we took the Saturn for sightseeing tour with our
first stop being a mail drop at the Osage Beach Post Office. There appears
to be one major drag through the area and that is US 54 and Business US
54. The old highway, Business US 54, crosses Bagnell Dam and runs through
the older section of Lake Ozark. The area reminded me of something out of
the 50's, old tourist courts, curio shops, tattoo parlors, and fudge
shops, just a conglomeration of stuff. The newer more up-to- date places
were on the US 54.
After dinner we found Randy's Custard, with the help of our waiter at the
Pasta House. He said their "Ozark Turtle" was to "die for". That's all
Peggy had to hear. That's a cup of cold vanilla custard, with hot fudge,
caramel, and pecan halves, similar to the candy "Turtles". It seems that
Missourians prefer custard to ice cream, so, this next stop, was sitting
outside on wooden benches, watching the people go by, and eating Randy's
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
We usually start each morning with a walk. This morning was no different
except instead of a road we decided to hike the trails behind the RV Park.
Somewhere along the way we lost the trail, and had to cut back through the
woods to find the main trail. When we returned to the motor home and
started taking off our shoes and socks, we noticed our white socks were
covered with small red ticks, alive and crawling. Not being inclined to
get Lymes Disease, we spent the rest of the morning having a tick removal
party, "just another day in paradise". The rest of the day we coasted.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
We drove to Ozark State Park this morning; parked near the Marina and had
our morning walk on the pavement, NO trails today! We stopped to watch two
men pull; I call them "cigar boats", high performance "Miami Vice" type
boats out of the water. I asked how much the boat weighed and he said 9000
pounds. Now, that's a "bunch" of boat.
On our way back to the motor home we stopped at Panera Bread Company for
pecan roll and a cup of hot chocolate. This is a very nice franchise store
with many different types of bread, pastries, and coffee.
The afternoon was spent being tourists, as we drove out State Hwy 42 to
main entrance of Ozark State Park, to inspect the available camping
facilities. This Park was established in the 30's following the damming of
the Osage River and is the largest in the state park system with over
17,200 acres. From the highway entrance, it is 6 miles back to the
camping area. Being Labor Day weekend nearly every site had already been
reserved. The Park is well maintained and the camping areas have concrete
pads with only electric hookups.
Leaving the Park, we drove the old highway, which is Business US 54,
stopping at the Arrowhead Lodge. It was the first lodge built on the lake
in 1935 and sits atop a mountain overlooking the lake. The main lodge is
of rough-hewn timber construction with a large stone fireplace in the
lobby. When visiting the lodge, Bess Truman enjoyed setting up her bridge
table in front of the fireplace and playing cards while overlooking the
lake. Pictures hang in the lobby of special visiting guests, including one
of Ronald Reagan when he was host of the television program "General
Electric Theater". Peggy remembered the Lodge as a small child and wanted
to stop to wander through.
From there we drove across Bagnell Dam to a scenic overlook, which
encompassed the Dam, the Osage River, and Lake of the Ozarks, truly a
stunning view. Directly across from the scenic overlook turnoff was the
road up to Willmore Lodge. This Lodge, built in 1930 is a 6,700 square
foot log cabin, which has been restored. Originally, each of its logs was
cut, assembled into a lodge in Oregon before being dismantled, numbered,
and transported to Missouri. It now houses a museum that tells the story
of life on the Osage River and the creation of the Lake of the Ozarks.
Our next stop was the old town of Bagnell, below the Dam on the Osage
Here is another capital. Bagnell was considered to be the Railroad-Tie
Capital of the World. The Ozark farmers harvested their timber, hued the
logs, transported the timber to a collection point on the River, and then
floated the logs down river to Bagnell where they were loaded on the
Missouri Pacific Railroad to be shipped across the nation. It took
approximately 3000 ties for one mile of track. This activity took place
after the Civil War through the 1920's as the railroads were expanding.
Bagnell, once a bustling little town with stores, hotels, etc. now has
one business establishment, a restaurant, which could have been the
general store. This was our next and final stop for the day, the "Old
Bagnell Fish & Steakhouse" located at the end of Hwy V. We ordered their
specialties. I had the catfish fillets and Peg ordered their Signature
steak, called " Jack Black", a fillet that had been marinated, topped with
pepper corns, sautéed mushrooms, and a Jack Daniels sauce. I made the
wrong decision, that's for sure!
We returned to the coach and spent the remainder of the evening with new
friends we had met at Osage Beach RV, Jim and Sally Niekamp. They have two
homes, one in Florida and the other in Ohio, and they were on their way to
Branson for a few shows, as they made their way to Florida. They invited
us to their coach for coffee and pastries and we enjoyed the visit.
We are returning to Marshfield, MO for a few days. Then we will go to
Branson, MO and see several shows and tour the area. Our plans are to
return to Marshfield as the clan gathers to go to the Cardinal game in St.
Louis. Then we are off to Cuba, MO, Peggy's home as a child. We will then
head toward St. Louis and St.Genevieve, MO.
Bob & Peggy Woodall
Lake Ozark, MO
write these travelogues as a way for us to keep track of where we went and
what we did. Many times a word picture is better than photograph. We enjoy
sharing them with family and friends.
If you would rather not receive this travelogue just email me and I will
remove you from the distribution list. If you happen to know the area we
are visiting, we would appreciate any comments regarding interesting
attractions or good places to eat.:)