Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 22, 2009

Move in to Escapade

Forty minute drive north to Sedalia to Missouri State Fairgrounds.  Large fairgrounds which we have yet to walk.  Massive grassy parking areas around it and much of it plumbed and wired for full RV hookups.  Very nice considering some rally parking we have been to has been in sloped paved lots with massive, noisy, generator trucks imported for electricity.  Noisy and smelly even if you weren’t near them.  Supposed to have thundershowers later this week but now it is clear and mild.

May 21, 2009

Travel Day

Not much to report.  About five hours driving through some pretty country.  Everything is very green.  Vegetation, especially on the eastern half of the state is very thick.  Would not want to get lost in these forests.  All the roads have wide grassy sides.  Don’t know if the grass is natural or planted but it grows constantly.   There is constant mowing everywhere.  Roads, yards, parks, driveways(often long).  Sure looks nice though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 20, 2009

Mark Twain and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Hannibal.  Mark Twain.  A number of buildings including the Clemens family home are preserved as they were in Samuels’ time.  There is an excellent museum and a visitor center both filled with information on Mark Twain.  The town still has a small mid-west feel and the river is right there with boats and barges going by.

Mark Twain’s boyhood home (for real).  The infamous white fence on the right.


This is a hoot.  Across the street from Twain’s house is a house they call the Becky Thatcher house.  It is the house of a girl Sam Clemens had a crush on who would be the model for Becky Thatcher.  The house is undergoing some restoration.  Guess what the guy in the picture below is doing.  He is painting fence boards.  He is not a plant.  He really was painting white fence boards.  He offered to let us help for a dollar a board.  :)

The Mississippi River from Hannibal levy.

A couple more hours of driving and we are at another Missouri state park.  Same result.  Wish we had time to stay longer.  We will know better next time.  After parking the carbus we headed east in the GV to St. Louis.  This is a large city with BIG freeways.  The one we needed was closed and required a major detour.  I was a little worried about this because we needed to reach our goal before it closed for the day.  No problem.  Got there, parked, walked through the park, went through security, bought our tickets, and fifteen minutes later we were on top of the Gateway Arch.  Indescribably cool. 

Shadow of arch from guess where.

Busch Stadium


St. Louis

Mississippi River and Illinois

Lagoon at base of arch

Inside observation area at top.

Inside actual pod we rode to top and down.  Five people to a pod, nine pods to the train.  Trains go every ten minutes.  Picture on right is dummy pod for photo purposes.

We spent 15-20 minutes looking and taking pictures and then went back down to tour the museum.  Everything(except the arch) is under ground.  Museum, tickets, security, store, two theaters, tram stations, and NPS information desk are all below ground.  Above ground is all grass.  We spent another 20 minutes above ground taking pictures of arch and surroundings. 


This is sort of an optical illusion.  Shiny half is actually farthest away.

This composite needs some work but you get the idea.


The park is on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Today, the river is three feet above flood level.  Several shoreline tourist sites and parking lots are under water. 

Makes one BIG river.

Proof that we made it as far east as the Mississippi River and touched it  :)


May 19, 2009

Homestead NM and Dreaming Tree

Headed east again.  First stop was Homestead National Monument.  This spot is a historical tribute to the homesteaders who settled much of the United States.  It is situated on the site of the very first homestead filed under the homestead act.  The visitors center has displays on homesteading all over the US and the hardships those people faced.  Well done museum.

From there we went to Beatrice, NE to visit a bakery that had achieved internet recognition.  The donuts were OK but nothing extraordinary.

Still eastward, near the border we went through Auburn  :) – Nebraska.  Seemed like a nice place.  Even has a stoplight.

Across the Missouri River and into another state.  Special goal on this segment.  Walt Disney spent his boyhood in Marceline, MO.  There is a museum there of his early years.  We skipped it for time.  The draw for me was the site of the Disney farm.  The house is gone but there is a replica of the barn (Walt built another replica in California – more later) and Walt’s ‘Dreaming Tree’ is still there.  It is very old and not in good health but still standing.  As a boy Walt would sit against the tree and dream.  Many of his thoughts would later show up in his cartoons.  


This is “Son of Dreaming Tree’.  It was raised from a seed from the old tree.  Sapling was planted using soil and water from special places in Disneyland.

  20090519 wilber to Macon-171

Walt built a replica of the barn in California.  It had a number of uses but one was as a sort of retreat where Walt would go to think on how to approach problems and projects.  It has been called the birthplace of Disney Imagineering. 

20090519 wilber to Macon-181 The replica in Marceline has a fun thing.  Touching or defacing the outside is verboten but people are invited to write messages to or about Walt on the inside.  Every flat space inside is written on.  Nothing nasty here.  All messages of fun and love

We placed a proxy notation for our favorite Disney fans.  Ken, Julie, Amanda, and Nicholas, if you ever do get to this place look  in the northwest corner of the barn on the north wall.  Just to the left of the window, down low near the ground you will find your notation.

From Marceline down the road to a Missouri state park.  Missouri does know how to do parks.  We could have stayed a couple of days and relaxed.  Took a walk around the campground tonight and saw something I haven’t seen in over 40 years – fireflys, Cool!

May 18, 2009

SAC Air and Space Museum

We drove back to Lincoln in the morning.  Several things to do.  Find Sams and get gas,  get some food items, and since we were there get some verification on Breta Park.  We went to the Nebraska State Archives but it was closed for remodeling.  Then checked the city library but the reference person was way off base and their reference materials were scarce. 

We decided to get on with our planned day.  Left Lincoln and drove toward Omaha.  About half way between is the Strategic Air Command Air and Space museum.   The museum houses many of the planes that were in SAC’s arsenal. There are several missiles in front (no Titan II)


SAC is gone now.  Its’ job was done.    It was quite interesting to tour.


On the way back toward Lincoln Sue had a thought.  Perhaps the parks department would have info on the park.  She made a call on her cell phone.  Was transferred to a lady who took some information and said she would call back in a few minutes.  Five minutes later she called.  Park was named for Breta Bills whose’ father donated land to the city.  She had some paperwork she could copy for us if we wanted to come by.  So, back to the middle of Lincoln.  Very nice lady gave us a copy of the deed of trust transferring land to city and copy of plans for renovation years later.  Pretty cool.

Back to Sams to finish our shopping and finally back to Wilber and carbus.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009

Visiting Relatives in Lincoln

We drove to Wilber, NE this morning.  On the way we stopped in Hastings to see where Sue’s dad went to college.  We saw a number of red brick buildings but none that looked like they had been there for 70 years.  If they still exist they are probably deep inside the campus.  We were in the carbus so didn’t investigate much.

 20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-2 20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-14 20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-25   

Got to Wilber about 11:30 and parked in American Legion Park.  Park complex has ball fields, tennis courts, and lots of RV parking.  There must be 20 acres of parking and we are the only RV (or any vehicle)here.

  20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-97

After setting up carbus we headed north to Lincoln.  First stop Breta Park.  Probably the smallest in Lincoln.  A block long green strip in the middle of a street.  Sue talked to a man across the street and asked if he knew anything about the park.  His thought was that it was built by the man who developed the area surrounding it in the early 1900’s.  There used to be a very large house/mansion nearby where the family lived  That man was probably my great grandfather and the park is named for his daughter, my grandmother.

20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-107

After taking in the park we did a geocache and then navigated to Sue’s cousins house to meet and have lunch.  She hasn’t seen him in 40 years or more.  We met his wife, his daughter, and her husband and son.  Nice visit.  Talked some geneology, some weather, some local sites, etc.

20090517 Hastings to Lincoln-11620090517 Hastings to Lincoln-118

45 minute drive back to Wilber and we were done for the day.

May 16, 2009

Not in Kansas Anymore

But we had a  nice day of sightseeing and geocaching on our way.  The RV ‘park’ next to the motel turned out to be pretty quiet.  Also, the sun comes up later when you are on the western edge of a time zone.  Quiet and less light leads to sleeping later which leads to leaving later.

First stop was Nicodemus NHS.  This was an all black community set up to give freed slaves a place to start over.  Thrived for a while but when railroad went a different direction business faded.  We stamped our NPS passport and found our first cache of the day in the park behind the visitor center.

Nicodemus Visitor Center

Off again we passed through the birthplace of Russel Stover – very quickly.  Actually Sue was looking down at the time and missed it.

We stopped for lunch in a small park that commemorates the geodetic center of the 48 states. (another cache)

 sing marker, replica

On to another town and a park built around an old dutch windmill.  (cache) 

Wagner Park Cache #4

Next cache was a little roadside park that had a small version of the Statue of Liberty. 

Statue of Liberty Cache #3

The last two caches were on the way to and at the geographic center of the 48 states.  There is a difference between geodetic and geographic locations.  Has to do with curvature of earth.  We saw them both. 

 20090516-8 marker

Cute chapel near geographic center.  Nine single person pews.

Little ChapelLittle chapel inside

We crossed into Nebraska and on a whim stopped in a state recreation spot called Crystal Lake.  Best camp spot yet.  Quiet, open grassy area.  Lots of room to spread out between neighbors (not many of those).  Mature trees.  A place one could relax in for several days.  Origin of spot is interesting.  Crystal Lake was formed by damming a small river.  The purpose of that was to form ice which was then cut into blocks and shipped to ice houses.  The operation was active one month out of the year.  The advent of refrigeration obviously ended that business and eventually a park was built at the site.