You are the king of long, slogging, driving days. Averaging almost 700 miles/day over 8 days is rough. I couldn't do what you did. I'm planning smaller 3-day road trips to tackle MS, AL, FL, and GA, and then another to hit KY, VA, WV, MD. That really sucks about IL, doesn't it?
Thanks! At least you are close enough to get to IL on one of the designated days...I used an old guidebook which suggested calling for permission and the owner didn't appreciate my having come all the way from Vegas and merely stated when the appropriate days were.
The driving alone seems to be the most difficult part, I would think. One thing though, if I read your report correctly, you might not have reached the highpoint of Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain. The highpoint is on a boulder and is surveyed and marked as the highpoint of Missouri. You reach it via a nice trail through the woods maybe a 1/4 mile. I stopped at both the tower and the highpoint and they are not the same place.
I took a hike through the woods looking for the highpoint using my highpoint guide as a resource, but didn't note the boulder. I started near the end of the parking area after passing the tower on my right and headed straight at the end of the pavement initially...then headed more to the left on some trails. There was some kind of boy scout camping area out there, but as I said, I didn't actually see a boulder with a survey marker on it if that is anywhere in the area. After casting about looking for something that looked higher, I returned to the car and spotted the tower and climbed part way up to where further access was blocked.