October 5, 2008
Be a Tourist in Our Mid-Mo Backyard
By KEN MIDKIF
With gasoline prices hovering around $3.50 per gallon, there has been much talk of "staycations" vacationing at home.
While staying at home, sleeping in your own bed and visiting local events and exhibitions might be appealing, there's nothing quite like going somewhere and seeing different things.
It is not necessary to travel to faraway places and spend a bundle on fuel. Right here in Boone County there are enticing places to spend a few days without contributing to the oil companies' profits.
For the past few weeks, I have visited Katfish Katy's and Cooper's Landing here in Boone County. Both are on the Missouri River but cater to different crowds.
Katfish Katy's is located a few miles west of Columbia, right on the Katy Trail. There is a convenience store and camping spots that range from primitive to all amenities.
Since I have a pop-up camper that is self-contained, I chose the least expensive alternative, and found myself in essentially a grassy field with a bush for shelter. If, however, your campmobile requires water, electric and sewer, these are available.
The attraction at Katfish Katy's is fishing in the Missouri River. There is a concrete boat launch and, for a reasonable fee, you and your boat have access to the Big Muddy. Recently, live music has been added to the events - give a call to determine when the bands will appear.
Cooper's Landing, also on the Missouri River, has all the offerings of Katfish Katy's, plus a few more (if somewhat noisy) activities. The pitch at Cooper's Landing - also located on the Katy Trail - is live entertainment, which reaches its peak on Friday and Saturday nights. While the liquor license has been a subject of some dispute, beer is by the bottle or can. There's a Thai restaurant next to the convenience store.
Missouri state parks, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Mark Twain National Forest also offer spots for camping, boating, hiking and sightseeing. Prices per night range from nothing to about $8, depending on amenities.
I have limited my travels to areas no more than 21/2 hours away. That's about half a tank of fuel in my mini-SUV, pulling a pop-up camper.
Two and a half hours of driving opens up all sorts of possibilities, from the Forest Service's Paddy Creek Wilderness Area to several conservation areas along the Gasconade, Maries and Courtois rivers.
There are many private campgrounds and scenic attractions. Solitude ranges from complete to non-existent.
Columbia resident Ken Midkiff travels extensively in the United States. He is planning trips to Colorado, South Carolina and Utah this fall. When he's not on the road, Midkiff is on the trail, biking along the MKT and Katy.
Originally published by KEN MIDKIF Special to the Tribune.
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