Great River Road 21 - Trail of Tears State Park, Jackson, MO

A learning experience that made us feel a bit less proud to be Americans.

Chasing Fall

We’ve been chasing fall all the way down the river on this trip. Many times we’ve contacted campgrounds only to find that they had just closed, were in the process of shutting down, or would be soon.

Such was the case at the Trail of Tears State Park. We checked in on Halloween Night and enjoyed about the quietest Halloween we can remember (we’ve never been big fans of this particular holiday).

Two nights later the camp-host packed up and we had the park to ourselves.

Shower House Closed

Which was great, until the park staff came and shut off most of the water in the park and locked the shower house.

We had been budgeting our fresh water supply based on taking showers in the park shower house, so our only recourse was to lug water from the only open spigot (at the dump station) to put in our fresh water tank. We put every available pot and pan into use to maximize our efficiency.

That was a small inconvienince, however - especially in light of what the park is named after.

Looking downstream on the Mississippi from the lookout point.

Looking downstream on the Mississippi from the lookout point.

A river tow visible off in the distance from the park lookout point.

A river tow visible off in the distance from the park lookout point.

We keep bumping into Pere Marquette.

We keep bumping into Pere Marquette.

The Trail of Tears sign.

The Trail of Tears sign.

Our water-running arsenal.

Our water-running arsenal.

The Missouri version of the GRR sign.

The Missouri version of the GRR sign.

Trail of Tears

Somehow in our education and in educating our kids and also in all of our travels we had not taken notice of the Trail of Tears.

You can read the Wikipedia entry here but basically the Trail of Tears describes some horrific treatment of Native Indians by European “White” Americans in the 1800’s. Our lust for gold and land got the better of us and we forced Indians to go through uprooting and a long march to a new “home”.

It reminded me a lot of what I have read about the Batann Death March only this time we were the aggressors.

We left the visitors center having to reframe what “American Pride” is all about - it seems like the more we learn of our country’s history the less proud we are of it.

A Peaceful Stay - Sorta

Most of our stay here we had the place to ourselves and it was quite peaceful - we got a lot of work and schooling done.

Peaceful except for the frequent trains and river tows. The latter usually just have a deep throbbing sound while they pass the park out on the Mississippi River. The former screams through the park at 50MPH with some engineers doing pull-ups from their whistle-pull.

Your School

Did your school teach about the Trail of Tears?

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