Say Cheese

Current Location: Country Gardens RV Park, Odessa, Missouri

Another day in the life of moving cross-country. We took I-29 all the way south to Kansas City, Missouri then picked up I-70 east to Odessa (about 30 miles east of Kansas City). We pulled in here about 3:00. Malcolm went into the store to check in. The store is really nice. They have a lot of cheese and other food items. We decided after we got set up we would walk back over and check it out.

Our site

Our site

We ended up picking up several items at the store. The cheese was great. They had samples of pretty much everything they make. They also had several other food items primarily from different Amish areas of the country. It was almost like being back in Shipshewana, Indiana.

Cheese selection

Cheese selection

After shopping, we grilled dinner outside. This evening, Malcolm sat outside with his camera and photographed the lunar eclipse. We’ll put some of those pictures up in the future once he gets them loaded on to the computer.

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

Truck Fixed

Current Location: Branson KOA, Branson, Missouri

Malcolm got up early and headed out the door about 6:45 am to take the truck over to Brian’s Truck Shop in Lead Hill, Arkansas to have the transmission fixed. He took his time driving over, stopping to fill up the tank on the way. It was about a 45-50 minute drive.

When Malcolm arrived, Brian and all the employees were already in. They pulled the truck in just after 8:00 am and Malcolm was back on the road on the way back to Branson with a fixed truck before 9:00 am. There was no charge for the repair, which involved replacing the faulty shift solenoid pack. We’re excited to have it running like new again.

Malcolm got back in time to help with laundry, so we spent the rest of the morning at the really nice and clean laundry facility here at the KOA. The various workkampers were running around today cleaning up leaves and dead branches and generally tidying the place up for the spring crowds. If we’re back in the area again, we’ll be sure to stay here again.

After the laundry was done, we ate lunch then decided to drive down into Branson to check out the shopping. Our favorite was Dick’s 5 and 10. It was literally packed with all kinds of things, and not just junk. We had a great time looking around. If you are ever in Branson, definitely check it out.

We didn’t ride the train, but there’s a really nice scenic railroad trip around Branson and the lake area. We were at a Starbucks when the train rolled in across the street. We also walked down by the lake (looks like a river at this point). They have a really nice walking mall and outdoor area along the water.

Lake side walk.

Lake side walk.

Train station

Train station

Train arrived at station

Train arrived at station

We spent a couple hours walking around downtown before heading back to the truck and hitting the road north towards Springfield to eat at Lambert’s Cafe – home of the “throwed rolls”. You’d have to check out their website to fully understand.

Malcolm heading into Lambert's Cafe for some good home cookin'

Malcolm heading into Lambert’s Cafe for some good home cookin’

Once back at the trailer, we took it easy the rest of the evening, preparing things to travel tomorrow. We’ll had back towards home, probably stopping somewhere along the way tomorrow night. From here to home is a good 13 hour drive (or more). No use pushing it.

The Truck Pulls Through

Current Location: Branson KOA, Branson, Missouri

The truck made it to Branson pulling the trailer. There are some really steep hills on US 65 from Springfield, Missouri south to Branson. A few of them we dipped down to around 40 mph on the climb. This would have been regardless of the transmission woes. We’re just happy to have made it “close enough”.

Our site at the Branson KOA.

Our site at the Branson KOA.

Malcolm heads over to Lead Hill, Arkansas (a little under an hour drive) tomorrow to have the transmission repaired. Val plans on doing laundry and a few other things around the trailer. At least the weather has been nice. It was in the 70’s today (and should be for the next couple of days). We actually ran the air conditioners for the first time in a while today.

While traveling down I-44 through Missouri, it is evident that it follows pretty much the same path as US Route 66 did. There are still parts and pieces of old US 66 through various towns along the way. We stopped at one rest area that was totally themed for Route 66. Even the picnic table shelters were made up to look like old Route 66 businesses.

Route 66 Welcome Rest Area

Route 66 Welcome Rest Area

Route 66 themed picnic area

Route 66 themed picnic area

Part of the floor in the rest area.

Part of the floor in the rest area.

After we pulled in to Branson and got the trailer set up, we ate lunch in the trailer. We then headed back to town to pick up some groceries. We found a shopping center with all the big box stores and settled for Super WalMart for grocery purposes. After putting away groceries, we took it easy for a while in the trailer before dinner. After dinner, we walked around the park to find the laundry and to pick up some post cards at the camp store. This is a really nice park.

We went out for a drive after dinner to check out the local scenery. We stopped at a scenic overlook along SR 165 and a couple that was already there took turns with us taking pictures of each other.

At the scenic overlook.

At the scenic overlook.

One quick catch-up picture. Here is the St. Louis arch taken as we drove across the Mississippi River.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch