Day 17: Mark Twain Cave Campground to Stealth Camping near Anderson Conservation Area, 22 miles

I woke up a bit before 7AM, and got an early start to the morning. Given the stated price of $19/night, I wanted to make full use of the facilities: warm shower, wash clothes, etc. I also tried using the Trangia Alcohol stove for bacon & potatoes because it’s lower heat output makes frying bacon & potatoes less of an excercise in nano-second-level timing. It was cold enough that I couldn’t get the remaining isopropyl alcohol to light, so I forfeited my planned quasi-scientific comparison of isopropyl vs methyl alcohols as fuels, and  topped it up with yellow bottle “Heet”. Wow, what a difference! It lit with the first match, burned hotter and with much less soot; wish I’d tried this weeks ago!

When I rolled out about 11:30AM, I found the office again locked and deserted, same as last night. Not seeing any other way to leave payment, I just left.

Having just one day left on my old dental insurance, I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to get an appointment for a cleaning at Hannibal Dental Group, and even more pleased when they confirmed that insurance would pay the entire fee. The staff were super friendly and cleaning seemed to go quicker than I remembered.

After that, I spent a fruitless half-hour searching for an open restaurant at 3:45PMon a Monday. The “Rumor Has It” bar & grill was the only option, and I had a bacon-blue-cheese burger with fries, featuring coleslaw in addition to the blue cheese, and tried a couple of local brews: Schlafly “APA” (American Pale Ale), a somewhat hoppy pale ale and an O’Fallon “Hemp Hop Rye” Amber Ale. While neither would be mistaken for the deliciously-slap-you-silly Surly Furious, they were both pretty good.

After applying ibuprofen to my aching left knee twice today, we’re now on speaking terms, so I filled up my 4L MSR DromLite and headed for the free camping at the Anderson Conservation Area parking lot.

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