Millstone Lodge, as I remember it, is gone. Too bad. In its day, the lodge provided one of the hotspots that kept the Lake of the Ozarks steaming. Of course, that’s a bygone era, before you could scarab from the dam to dang near anywhere in minutes.
Millstone exuded charm. Through billboard-sized picture windows, diners feasted on a panorama of sailboats skimming across the broad channel to The Barge floating restaurant. The Barge sank a few years ago, a grim reminder that we all have a date with Davy Jones, in one fashion or another.
Speaking of fashion, most folks around Millstone kept their clothes on, at least outdoors. But across the channel, swimsuit shucking was en vogue at a new phenomenon called Party Cove.
Well, it’s not a new phenomenon that imbibers in the heady mixture of sun and water want to expose their largest organ (the skin). But Party Cove had become the latest collective for dermal delight.
The year was 1984. Much of the free love generation had sold out and taken jobs in some obscure corner of the Reagan Revolution. But most of ’em will now admit they sneaked a peek at Party Cove. I remember my first time. One glorious Sunday, after a Saturday night gig at Millstone, our band loaded onto a pontoon boat and plowed across the channel to become the first band to play at Party Cove. Sandwiched in the cleavage formed between two giant cabin cruisers, we plugged into those two bookends of power, and provided background music for a whole new breed of water nymphs. Through 25 years of stretch marks and sea changes, Party Cove has evolved into the world’s largest floating trailer park. Today, in the wake of battalions of seagoing monster trucks, most sailboats have fled the Lake of the Ozarks to safer harbors like Stockton Lake and Pomme de Terre, two gorgeous bodies often overlooked by Missouri vacationers.
And Millstone Lodge is a long gone memory.
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