St. Louis Attractions

Current Location: Stanton/Meramec KOA, Stanton, Missouri

This morning after breakfast, we headed up the interstate to St. Louis and our first stop – the Arch. Malcolm bought the ticket to ride to the top and got some pictures. Val stayed down below to pick up postcards and a t-shirt for our yearly t-shirt quilt. Since Malcolm was alone, he got to go up with the very next group instead of waiting more than an hour. It was a fun visit. We could have probably done more in the area, but we headed out to go to our next destination. Here are pictures from the arch visit.

View of town from the top

View of town from the top

The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River

Malcolm in front of the side of the arch

Malcolm in front of the side of the arch

Artsy view of the arch

Artsy view of the arch

What you ride to the top in

What you ride to the top in

We left the arch and were heading to Grant’s Farm. We chose to leave as people were arriving for a Cubs/Cardinals game downtown. With local construction, it turned out we had to drive right by the stadium to get on the interstate. Fun times. The GPS kept wanting us to head to the interstate, but there was no way to get on. We finally winged it and found a place to turn to get on.

Grant’s Farm is an area of the Busch estate (of Anheuser-Busch) set aside with animals and attractions. It is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year. The Busch family opened it up to share various animals with the public. A tram ride took us around the estate at the start where we saw various animals grazing on the grounds. Bison, longhorn cattle, various deer and elk among other animals grazed around the place. Here are a few pictures from around the park.

Beer wagon

Beer wagon

Us

Us

Goats in the petting area

Goats in the petting area

One of several eagles. They've suffered various injuries and were given homes here

One of several eagles. They’ve suffered various injuries and were given homes here

One of the parrots

One of the parrots

Carousel horse

Carousel horse

Weather vane

Weather vane

Adjacent to the estate is where the Budweiser Clydesdales are trained for pulling the famous wagon. You can walk through one of the stables and down a path where you can interact with a few of the horses, if they happen to be close to the fence, like two of them were.

Sign in barn

Sign in barn

Outside

Outside

A youngster grazing

A youngster grazing

These two were hanging around the fence

These two were hanging around the fence

Rub our noses!

Rub our noses!

After Grant’s Farm, we stopped by next door to visit President Ulysses S. Grant’s home. The “Grant” in Grant’s Farm refers to the former president. The Busch family purchased it in the early 1900’s. The National Park Service takes care of the home and has provided a very nice interactive exhibit in the old barn.

Grant's Home - Whitehaven

Grant’s Home – Whitehaven

On to Missouri

Current Location: Stanton/Meramec KOA, Stanton, Missouri

Today was a relatively quiet travel day from Salina, Kansas to Stanton, Missouri. Stanton is on I-44, southwest of St. Louis. We wanted to do a little sight-seeing in St. Louis and this was the closest KOA that wasn’t full for the holiday weekend. It’s about an hour drive to St. Louis from here. This is a nice little campground in a quiet area near Meramec Caverns. We may do the cavern tour tomorrow if it gets too rainy to sightsee up in St. Louis. Stay tuned for actual activities.

Our site

Our site

Sunset this evening

Sunset this evening

More sunset

More sunset

In other news, our son is now a Private Airman First Class in the Air Force. As expected, we’re still awfully proud of him.

PFC stripes

PFC stripes

License plate states today – 28 of them.

License plates

License plates

Back in Salina

Current Location: Salina KOA, Salina, Kansas

We left Colorado Springs this morning and headed up US24 to I-70, then east out of Colorado and into Kansas. We stopped for the night at the Salina KOA, which we stayed in on the way out about a month ago. Since the rest of our trip back to Nashville is taking a different route than we took getting here, our route will be a figure eight. Salina is the crossover point.

It was pretty much a quiet travel day today. The wind picked up about the last hour and a half of the trip. A preponderance of wind turbines bore out the fact that wind is pretty typical in this area. We must have passed dozens of wind farms with dozens of turbines in each one.

A couple other factoids:

  • We passed the 35,000 mile mark today, about 50 miles west of Salina.
  • Malcolm looked in his grandparents’ travel log that he compiled and found that they stayed at this same KOA at least twice – in 1984 and 1987.

Just a couple pics from today.

Typical Kansas

Typical Kansas

Our site

Our site

Great day for license plates today. Traveling across I-70 and it being almost a holiday weekend (and end of the summer travel season) helped, I’m sure. Total states spotted: 33

License plates

License plates

Sightseeing in Colorado

Current Location: Colorado Springs KOA, Colorado Springs, Colorado

This morning, we had breakfast in the trailer then got together water bottles and drinks to stay hydrated in this thin atmosphere and headed out the door to Manitou Springs. It’s a pretty nice little town up on the hill and the location of the cog railway that goes up to Pikes Peak. We drove up to figure out where we were going later for the railway ride, then headed back down into town and found a parking space.

Seems most businesses in Manitou Springs open at 10:00, 11:00 or noon. Since we were there around 9:30, we walked around for a while, checking out what various shops were around and reading various historical markers. As we strolled up and down the street, various places starting opening up so we browsed a few shops. We picked up t-shirts for our quilt and a few other souvenirs. Around 11:00, we headed back to the truck and up the hill for our cog railway ride.

Once parked, we picked up our tickets and headed down to the snack bar to get a bite to eat. We had pretty good sandwiches brought in from a local cafe. We sat on a bench and ate lunch while waiting for our railway car to arrive. We boarded a little before noon and headed up the mountains to Pikes Peak. We took pictures, shopped the gift shop, grabbed a snack for the ride back down and rode to the bottom. The ride each way is a little over an hour. By the time we got back to the bottom, it was a little after 3.

We hopped in the truck and drove around a bit and ended up driving the loops at the Garden of the Gods. We stopped here and there and took pictures. We also, of course, stopped at the gift shop (which was huge) and found a few items for gifts, as well as post cards.

After Garden of the Gods, we drove aimlessly in the general direction of Colorado Springs and found a Hobby Lobby. Val remembered she needed a couple things from there, so we stopped in. Malcolm walked next door to Office Depot to pick up something we needed from there.

While in Hobby Lobby, we heard from our friends Tracey and Roger Ellmers and figured out a place to meet for dinner. We had a great Mexican meal at Jose Muldoons. We chatted and caught up for a while before saying our goodbyes after pictures on the front porch of the restaurant.

Once we got back to the trailer, it was time to start putting things away and prepare for travel. Tomorrow, we head generally east across I-70 and will probably end up somewhere in Kansas tomorrow evening.

Here are a bunch of pictures from today.

Sign in Manitou Springs

Sign in Manitou Springs

Tracey and Roger

Tracey and Roger

Sign at the Cog Railway Station advising conditions on Pikes Peak

Sign at the Cog Railway Station advising conditions on Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

Stop to switch tracks to let other trains pass us

Stop to switch tracks to let other trains pass us

Wildlife

Wildlife

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

Made it to the top

Made it to the top

Our ride

Our ride

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

On the way back down, the train car in front of us

On the way back down, the train car in front of us

More scenery on the way down

More scenery on the way down

Bighorns at the top of a hill in Garden of the Gods

Bighorns at the top of a hill in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

 

Colorado Springs

Current Location: Colorado Springs KOA, Colorado Springs, Colorado

We headed out a little later this morning, closer to 9:00 AM, but we had a shorter travel day planned – about 320 miles. However, much of it was on I-70 up and over the Continental Divide. Vail Pass was our lunch stop, after climbing to 10,662 feet above sea level. The Eisenhower Tunnel was the other peak, at the Continental Divide, at around 11,000 feet. There was a lot of slower climbing in many places, typically around 42 – 48 mph.

Lunch at Vail Pass

Lunch at Vail Pass

When we got into the Denver area, we took the E-470 around the southwest side of town to I-25, then south to and through Colorado Springs to the KOA here just south of town on I-25. Our site is a deluxe site with patio, firepit, table and chairs. Just across from the front of our trailer is a row of trees next to a creek. There is a waterfall in the creek that sounds relaxing. We’re opening the bedroom slide windows tonight so it can lull us to sleep.

Our site

Our site

Once we arrived and set up, we headed just up the road to Camping World to buy a replacement adjustable water pressure regulator with the PSI gauge to replace the one Malcolm forgot in Utah. He has a note on the side of his water box to remember to check for it now. Camping World was sold out of the one we wanted, so we just picked up a couple other small items we’ve needed and headed on up the road to find some dinner and groceries.

We ate at a burger joint called Culver’s. The burger reminded Malcolm of Steak and Shake. They had excellent crinkle fries (Malcolm’s favorite) and Val had a pumpkin spice milkshake that was awesome. After dinner, we picked up a few items at Safeway and headed back to the trailer to put the groceries away. We walked over to the camp store and picked up some postcards. Once back at the trailer, Malcolm headed back to the camp store to pay for a bundle of firewood so we could sit around the fire in the fireplace provided with the site.

Sittin' by the fire, writin' post cards

Sittin’ by the fire, writin’ post cards

Malcolm made reservations for us to ride the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway tomorrow at noon. We decided to do that rather than drive up and down in the dually.

Here are pictures from today:

Tunnels

Tunnels

Scenery

Scenery

More scenery

More scenery

Rest Area at "No Name"

Rest Area at “No Name”

River alongside road

River alongside road

Lunch at Vail Pass

Lunch at Vail Pass

Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels

Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels

Tunnel widening. We bypassed our tunnel.

Tunnel widening. We bypassed our tunnel.

Today’s license plate sighting count – 35. I-70 has a lot more diverse traffic mix.

License plates

License plates