Crystal Creek Ranch in Missouri Ozarks
I couldn't relax until I reached someone on the phone and had reservations in place!
Built for Real Sheepherders!
This was not a playhouse on wheels. This was mad (then modified) by an actual shepherd. We were happy that our cozy home for the night had electricity, so we could use the small air conditioner and refrigerator. But we had to hike up the dirt road for running water and restroom. No problem, since we're used to that in campgrounds.
There were even sheep grazing on the hillside!
And Real Farm Critters!
We checked in with our gracious host, Bill, who told us we would be the only guests on the ranch that evening.
I'm not sure where he and his wife live, but he gave us a good welcoming before he headed home in his truck. But we weren't alone. There were 3 precious kitties, at least one llama and one cow. There were horses and a peacock, some guinea hens, chickens and about a million ducks who all went into a quacking and clucking frenzy at about 6:00. (I think Bill came back to feed them)
I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. This is one of the prettiest parts of Missouri and we were hitting it on a balmy October afternoon. Bill told us to feel free to explore since there were no other guests. We went up to enjoy a spectacular view from a hilltop cottage and we sat on the porch of a lakeside cabin.
And we fished! We had heard before starting our 22-day road trip, that the ranch had a fishing lake.
Don was prepared, with a rod and some tackle. He caught a few bass and blue gill in a matter of minutes.
I however wanted to fish the way I remembered fishing as a kid, so I used a bamboo stick and bread for bait. I did manage to catch a couple!
It got dark before we could use the canoe or rowboat that was available. But we were excited to use the fire pit, even though a light drizzle started up after sundown. The clouds made the night sky even darker and the nighttime sounds even eerier.
While a soft rain hit the canvas cover of our wagon, we had a light dinner of cheese, crackers, nuts and vino in paper cups. Since we had no neighbors to annoy, we brought out the ukuleles, That seemed like a pretty good instrument for a sheepherder.
We played some Yahtzee and then I read some exciting bits from some of the books on the shelf. I particularly loved the illustrations in Sheepherder Family! What a hoot!
The cats were pretty amused by the puddle. One stopped on the fence post, encouraging me to notice the windmill and a garden with cornstalks and pumpkins.
Don joined me after a bit and we played a game of ping pong before packing up.
So many things we didn't have time for, like tether ball and archery and studying the huge collection of work and farm tools. Next time!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!