Harry S. Truman Lake and Dam

written Saturday, November 1, 2008 -- Thibaut Point COE Campground near Warsaw, MO.

I got off to a slow start on Friday and it was just after noon before we headed off to explore more of the big lake we're camped on. We had a surprise rain shower that lasted a couple hours in the morning but by the time we left camp the sky was mostly clear and the sun was out in earnest.

The Harry S. Truman Lake (or Reservoir) was created along the Osage River as the result of a large Army Corps of Engineers project that was authorized in the 1950's and wasn't completed until the late 1970's. It primary purpose is flood control, but electric power generation and recreation are among the other benefits. It took a long time to build as numerous roads, bridges, cemeterys, and complete towns had to be relocated above the new lake level. I wonder if a project of this scale could ever be done again in our litigous modern society. And where would the money come from?

On our loop around the lake we stumbled into a town named Tightwad. The unusual name is said by some to stem from an episode where a store owner cheated a customer somehow on the sale of a watermellon. As we drove into town I wondered out loud if they might have a bank and if that bank might be called the Tightwad Bank. We were still laughing about the thought when, around the next bend, there it was... The real Tightwad Bank! I couldn't believe it.

Tightwad Bank Sign

As we drove around Tightwad, we found the Tightwad Fire Department, the Tightwad General Store, the Tightwad Motel, and the Tightwad Bar & Grill. Whenever I settle down again, after this life of exploration, I'd give extra consideration to a town that had an unusual name... like Tightwad.

On down the road we came to the Truman Dam that created the lake. It's about 5000 feet of earthen dam and another 1000 feet or so of concrete gravity dam. The concrete part includes the spillway and the powerhouse. There's a very nice visitors center on a bluff overlooking the dam and lake where the vistas, especially with all the fall color still bright, are incredible.

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Today, Saturday, we're going to hang around the bus-house, working, reading, enjoying the 70f degree temps, and getting ready for our move tomorrow. Never having been to Branson before, I'm not sure what to expect. I've heard about congestion, traffic headaches, lines, and more. It'll probably be a stark contrast to our campsite here along the lake.

Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to remember to turn my clock back tonight. Now, if I can just remember where I put it. Hmmm.

T
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