Don’t Mess With The Fritos, and other horror stories…

Another corn field?!

Another corn field?!

Day 30    July 9

Dax and Trixie went off to a local St. Charles dog groomer today. They were past due for baths and haircuts, and the space shuttle was starting to get just a hint of dogginess to it.

With the pups away, Mark and I were free to play for a couple hours, so we went for a bike ride on the Katy Trail.  I noticed that nobody on this trail says hello to fellow cyclists. Quite a contrast to riding on the bike trail in Boise, Idaho, where everyone said hello to the point of annoyance! After getting dissed by at least 10 other cyclists, I decided to embrace the fact that I didn’t have to be social, and I could just enjoy my ride.

In the early afternoon, after picking up the pups, we went to the service appointment we’d made at Mercedes Benz of St. Charles. Nothing was wrong, we were just due for our “Service A,” which was basically an oil change. The guys there took good care of us, and we enjoyed having a good internet connection for a couple hours.

We hit the road again, with a bag of Chili Fritos in our laps. Didn’t really dig those so much. You shouldn’t mess with Fritos. There’s just no justification or need to mess with regular Fritos. If you need some flavored junky chip snacks, try Doritos. They come in all kinds of flavors. But leave the Fritos alone!

Crossing another state line. Always thrilling. Never boring!

Crossing another state line. Always thrilling. Never boring!

Mark said we were heading to Carbondale, Illinois. I told him I didn’t want to go there. He told me that when he mentioned it before, that I’d said, “OK.”  No, I had to set him straight.

“I did not! I said, I don’t want to freakin’ go to Carbondale. That’s me. Saying “OK,” that’s so not me. I would never just say “OK.” But saying F-No…that would have been me”

And so it went. And so did we…to Carbondale, via Rt 3, The Great River Road. We never saw a river though. Just lots of nice countryside and corn fields and cows.

Turn left! Turn Left!

Turn left! Turn Left!

I spotted some beautiful white cows in a field, and I wondered…If I was going to buy a couple cows, would I buy two white ones, two black ones, or one of each? Don’t even get me started about the multi-colored ones.

As we drove, a song came on the radio that I decided was the perfect travel song. Don’t know who sang it or what it was called, but the words were, “Roll in to town, Step off the bus, Wipe off the “where you came from” dust.” Perfect!

And, we rolled right into Carbondale, Illinois and then parked ourselves for the night at the Crab Orchard Campground.

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

St Charles to St Louis…An All-Saints Kind of Day

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Day 29    July 8

We had a fine morning exploring Frenchtown, in St. Charles, MO. Pioneer Park, brunch at the Bike Stop Cafe, and coffee at Picasso’s. In one of the little shops, I found a great birthday present for our friend, Banjo Bob. It’s now July 23rd (it was when I wrote this post), and I have yet to ship it off to him.

The Bike Stop Cafe. Obviously, a bike shop and cafe in St Charles

The Bike Stop Cafe. Obviously, a bike shop and cafe in St Charles

Trixie doggie. Another roll in the grass. St Charles, MO

Trixie Doggie. Another roll in the grass. St Charles

 

Mark and Dax. Checking out the river front. St Charles, MO

Mark and Dax. Checking out the river front. St Charles

Frenchtown. St Charles, MO

Frenchtown. St Charles

Original state capitol building. Frenchtown. St Charles, MO

Original state capitol building. Frenchtown. St Charles

Frenchtown. St Charles, MO

Frenchtown. St Charles

Lewis & Clark & their dog Seaman. St Charles

Lewis & Clark & their dog Seaman. St Charles

We drove to St. Louis in the afternoon to have a look at the Gateway Arch. I’d seen it from the highway many years ago. It’s much more interesting up close!  So many cool angles from which to take photos, although, in a square photo format, it was impossible to fit the whole thing in one shot.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Daxie Doggie. Hangin' out by the Gateway Arch

Daxie Doggie. Hangin’ out by the Gateway Arch

I had no desire to go up to the top of the Arch. Mark’s done that before, many many years ago, and he had no desire to do it again either! Apparently it’s super claustrophobic! And honestly, that thing was built back around 1964 or 1965. It’s like a freakin’ antique. Would you really want to be riding up in that contraption??!!

It was still 95 degrees outside, but the humidity had subsided, which made for much more comfortable sightseeing. Even the dogs seemed comfortable.

We had a nice look around, the dogs had a good roll-a-round in the grass, and we called it a day!

Skeeters and Heat, Oh My!!

That's us!

That’s us!

Day 28      July 7

Another hot and buggy morning. We walked the dogs and got the heck out of the campground at Jacomo Lake, before the skeeters hauled us away.

Mark and Dax on  a very quick morning walk @ Jacomo Lake

Mark and Dax on a very quick morning walk @ Jacomo Lake

Jacomo Lake Campground

Jacomo Lake Campground

We took Rt 50 east, towards Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri. We would have enjoyed walking around, as it looked like a nice old city, but alas, it was too freakin’ hot and humid. It was 96 degrees out, and felt like it was 126 degrees (just my estimation, based on the amount of sweat I was producing!).

Jefferson City. Where all the governmental magic happens

Jefferson City. Where all the governmental magic happens

On the road

On the road

Corn...on the road

Corn…on the road

We took Rt 19, and detoured over to Hermann. Hermann was a cute old town, and, again, we would have enjoyed walking around, had it not been sweltering hot outside. The place looked almost like a ghost town, due to the lack of anyone out on the streets. Too darn HOT!!

Hermann

Hermann

Hermann

Hermann

Hermann

Hermann

Not to sound too whiney about the heat, because we still thoroughly enjoyed driving about and having a look at all of these nice places. But, when it gets that hot and humid, we also have to be super mindful of the dogs. After all, they’re 9.5 years old, and are wearing black fur coats. So, it’s a double whammy. They can’t be out in the hot sun very long, and it’s too hot to leave them in the RV. Just the nature of the beast when travelling with our best friends!

A highway sighting..

A highway sighting..

St. Charles, MO was our final destination of the day. We pulled in to the Sundermeier RV Park just as it started to drizzle, and just as the temperatures began to drop…finally!! By time we went to sleep, it was a nice cool 83 degrees. Everything is relative!

Uh-Oh, Toto! We’re In Kansas!

Performing Arts Center. Kansas City, MO

Performing Arts Center. Kansas City, MO

Day 27    July 6

Who knew, but Kansas City, Missouri is a fantastic city! Between the fabulous old buildings, the modern new ones, the arts district, the hills, and the food, this was looking like a fun place!

We had a great lunch at Fiorella’s BBQ. Now Mark could check that off of his “must do while in Kansas City” list. The food was really good, and, OMG…. the carrot cake was to die for. A gourmet version of what is one of my favorite desserts!

Lunch in Kansas City

Lunch in Kansas City

Lunch!

Lunch!

Since it was a Sunday, almost all of the shops and galleries in the arts district were closed, but we still enjoyed looking around and taking pictures.

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center.

Performing Arts Center.

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center

Yep, I found it. It's in Kansas City!

Yep, I found it. It’s in Kansas City!

It was getting hotter and more humid by the minute. Following our visit to the WWI Memorial, we turned on our generator so that we could run the a/c for an hour or so. We, and the dogs, had hit our heat threshold.

WW I Memorial

WW II Memorial

WW I Memorial

WW I Memorial

Mark, trying to cool off by putting a bag of frozen vegetables on his forehead.

Mark, trying to cool off by putting a bag of frozen vegetables on his forehead.

On our way out of the city at the end of the day, we missed our exit, and ended up in Kansas. Yippeee!! Another new state! And, one that I didn’t think we’d make it to at all.

We're in freakin' Kansas!

We’re in freakin’ Kansas!

Due to some road construction and a closed exit, we had to stay on the highway for a couple of exits before turning around. Driving more than one exit’s worth, constitutes a full-blown visit to a state. And so, I checked Kansas off of my list of states I needed to visit!

Safely back in Missouri, we landed for the night at Lake Jacomo Campground. It looked beautiful, until we realized that the mosquitos were as big as birds and were surrounding the space shuttle.

There was no bug swatter big enough or fast enough to take on the skeeters, nor bottles of toxic bug spray large enough, and so we holed up inside the RV until we could make our escape in the morning.

Nebraska

Big Pig. Downtown Omaha, NE

Big Pig. Downtown Omaha, NE

Day 26      July 5

Nebraska (another Springsteen reference)

It had rained in the very wee hours of the morning. Miraculously, the rain had washed away all evidence of fireworks in the streets from the night before.

We spent the afternoon hanging out in downtown Omaha. Made a visit to Hollywood Candy, and then walked around a bit.

Omaha, NE

Omaha, NE

Fiona in downtown Omaha, NE

Fiona in downtown Omaha, NE

Slides. Downtown Omaha, NE

Slides. Downtown Omaha, NE

Omaha has a nice mix of old buildings, new stuff, and river walks. Omaha also had what was to be the start of our foray into hot, humid weather.

We bid farewell to Rick and Jane’s family, and headed across the bridge into Iowa. Yippeee! Another new state that we hadn’t ever visited!

Our drive south on Rt 29, through part of Iowa, was uneventful, and we eventually crossed into Missouri. By now the heat and humidity had turned into a full blown rain, thunder and lightening storm.

IMG_2696

Arriving in Missouri

IMG_2698

By time we arrived in Kansas City, MO, the storm had turned into just a light drizzle. It was a Saturday night, but the downtown corridor of the city was pretty much empty. It was quite beautiful to drive through the city, with it’s wet streets reflecting the city lights, and without worry of other traffic and pedestrians.

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

We found a place to park on the edge of the city, on a street where we figured nobody would bother us for the night. Seemed like a great idea until about midnight, when 3 people came out to work on a car parked across from us. Then, while two of them were working on the car, one of them was walking around our rig, checking it out and smoking a cigarette.

Freaked us out!! We were peeking out our window, keeping our eyes on them, trying not to be seen, wondering, “Who the hell works on a car at midnight?”

I guess they were legit. They got their car running, and they left. And so did we. We drove to the parking lot at the nearby Harrah’s Casino, where we tucked in for the night near to some truckers and other thrifty RV-ers.