Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14, 2016

Two weeks

Yesterday we headed southeast in Missouri.  In the extream southeast corner we crossed the Mississippi River into Tennessee.  Stayed the night in Jackson, TN.

This morning we headed east to the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Several years ago we drove the southern 2/3 of the parkway from Tupelo to Natchez.  We thought we would do the northern part this trip.  We hit the trace at the Merriweather Lewis monument and grave.  While traveling along the trace to Philadelphia with all the documentation from his expedition, Lewis died mysteriously one night in a small cabin. He was buried nearby in a small pioneer cemetery.  Years later his grave was verified and a memorial was built over the spot.


Monument and grave



What looks like divots are actually grave markers




Flat area to left of fence is portion of old trace.



Recreation of cabin where Lewis died.



The northern part of the trace was closed due to construction so we had to take another route.  North through Nashville to a nice RV park a few miles north.  Arrived at noon, plenty of time to get tickets for that afternoon to tour The Grand Ole Opry.  We had thought to see a show but there were no pairs of seats available and we were not familiar with the performers for tonight. (Too bad we have to keep moving on.  Next week is Carry Underwood.)  We did take the backstage tour though.  How to describe the tour?  One word – Wow!  Outstanding venue for live and recorded performances (Last ten+ seasons of Hee Haw were taped in ‘Studio A’ in the building).  The building is full of history.  Every dressing room, every hallway, even the main stage has historical significance.  Auditorium holds 4400 people and there is literally not a bad seat anywhere.  Production capability of the stage is amazing.  Lighting, sound, and staging(flys, drops, etc.) would handle almost any type of show.  Needless to say we were impressed with it all; building, staff and country atmosphere and philosophy.


A dressing room. Each has a theme.



History everywhere


Mural on wall of ‘Green Room’.  It is not green.  Comfortable furniture, paneled walls, tv to watch live stage action, refreshment bar(no –OH). Just very comfortable feel.



Auditorium from the wings


Center stage circle is from original Grand Ole Opry building.




This place is huge


Stage from back of house.

P1020810House next to Opry building built by Grand Ole Opry for Roy Acuff, The King of Country Music. He lived his last years here, just steps from ‘his work’.P1020811



May 12, 2016

Marceline and Then South

Late posting this.  Have been without internet connection for a few days.


Our planned route took us past Marceline, MO so we stopped off to see the remains of Walt Disney’s Dreaming Tree.  This was our third visit to the site where Walt Disney grew up.  His Dreaming Tree was a very large and very old tree that he used to sit under as a child and dream/imagine.  The first time we saw it the tree was quite sick and  partially rotted but still had some living structure with foliage.  The second time we were there the tree was still standing but totally dead and rotting.  We heard that the tree had been blown down several months ago and that is the case.  The way grass and bushes grow in Missouri you can hardly see the remains of the rotting trunk.


Fortunately, several years ago, when the tree was still viable, seeds were taken and a “Son of Dreaming Tree” was propagated. It is planted nearby and is doing well.


A little further beyond the Dreaming Tree is a recreation of the barn on the family farm from Disney’s childhood.


Walt Disney had many happy memories of the barn and recreated it on his property in California.  That barn he used as a studio/workshop.  It became the birthplace of Disney Imagineering.  The inside of the barn in Marceline is covered with signatures and messages to Walt written by fans and admirers.  Every surface, flat, curved, high, low, window sill and frame, oxbow frame, barrel, door jamb, bench, rafter, and on and on is covered so thoroughly that new writings have to go over those too faded to read. 




Leaving Marceline we headed south through Jefferson City and about sixty miles further. 


State Capitol building


Missouri is green everywhere.


Tomorrow we hope to enter Tennessee.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016

Madison, MO

Woke this morning to thunder, lightening, and rain.  Was supposed to last all morning.  Had planned to visit Madison after we left the state park we stayed in and then continue on.  Decided to stay in the campground another day and instead drove the car to visit the town.


P1160207 - Copy

Chasing the storm that passed over us earlier.

Madison, MO is where James Cash Penney was born and raised.  You might recognize him better as J. C. Penney, founder of the once huge chain of department and catalog stores.

More recently, Madison is better known as the home of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  There is an interesting back story to this company which every serious quilter knows.  Google it if you are interested.  The company has 12 or 13 stores in one block of downtown.  (The town is a little over two blocks long.  When locals refer to ‘the signal’ meaning traffic light they mean the flashing red light hanging over the intersection between the two blocks)  Two of the stores sell food, a burger bar and a bakery.  The rest sell fabric.  Each store has fabric of a different theme or motif.  Half of them are two stories and all fabric.  P1160233

One side of the block.  Every building is Missouri Star.


Guess what this particular store used to be.

P1160210 - Copy

The stores are clean, not cluttered, and the fabric is displayed in a neat, easy to peruse manner. 

The streets of town were pretty much empty of people but every store had lots of customers and lookers.  We browsed every store and left about 12:30 – just before two large tour busses were expected.  One more check mark on the quilting bucket list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016

Out of Kansas


First things first

Happy Birthday Christina ! Smile


Woke to clear, cloudless, blue skies.  Low temp last night – 45 degrees.  First time above mid 30’s or lower.  Found that yesterdays storm had completely washed all traces of dust and dirt off the carbus and the toad.  Couldn’t have done a better job if I had intentionally washed them.

Back onto US 50 headed northeast.  Very pretty road even when it joined the interstate.  Until we reached Kansas City.  Then it was just five lanes of city freeway.  Kinda like LA with enough  fewer cars to maintain 55 mph. 

One thing about Missouri that impresses us is that everything is green.  All the major roads have very wide borders (30 yards or more) and they are kept mowed.  The interstates look like gray ribbons in the middle of green carpet.  The state is covered with trees (cottonwood like ?) with bright green leaves.  And the trees are very dense.  Would be very easy to lose your bearings if you took a walk in a forest and did not pay attention to where you were or how you got there.  There are fields of agriculture and pastures, often carved out of a forest of trees, and all are green.  This is not just a spring thing.  We have been through the state in the fall and it looked the same but with colors mixed into the green forests.

Stopped at a very nice state park about sixty miles north of Kansas City and had our first laid back afternoon.  Took a short hike through a forest and then just kicked back and read, or updated a blog.

P1020757 copy

Trail through forest around campground.

Trip map to date.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016


About a four hour drive east to Wichita.  Started with clear skies which changed to mixed puffy white clouds.P1160166P1160152


In Garden City we passed a huge storage yard filled with wind turbine parts.


Turbine blades


Nose cones


Tower segments


More blades


We went through Dodge City.  Very touristy.


Shortly (weeks) after we were married we moved to Wichita, Kansas where I was stationed in the Air Force.  The first three years we were there we lived in a basement apartment under a small home in a quiet neighborhood southeast of the center of town.


756 S. Erie  Wichita, KS


Side view. Window at ground level  center is window of basement living room.  Window behind trash can is kitchen area.


Walkway at rear of house is access to basement apartment.


Door to basement apartment


Window at ground level behind plants is bedroom.


Front of house.  We rarely saw this as we were always going in door in rear.

Since we started our carbus travels we have been back several times to reminisce and recreate a favorite memory.  When Sue was pregnant with Ken and later Dan, we took evening walks around the neighborhood.  Often these walks included a visit to a Dairy Queen about six blocks from home where we would get small chocolate dipped cones.  A reward for the walk Smile.  Today we again retraced our steps.  We parked by our old/first home and walked to Dairy Queen for cones.




Same small walkup DQ.  Exterior has been upgraded and drive through added.  Note sky.


When we got back to the carbus we talked to the lady who lived in the house (not our former landlord).  She said the basement was still an apartment but the tenant was not there so we missed a chance to maybe take a look at where we started married life nearly 50 years ago.  The cones were still good though.


Carbus across street from our first home.

Left Wichita about 2:30 in the afternoon.  Skies still puffy clouds except toward the southwest where they merged together and were getting grayer and grayer.  Our destination for the night was 30 miles north of Wichita.  All the way north the sky to the west got grayer and darker.  The office of the RV park we stopped at was watching a big screen TV with coverage of tornados in Oklahoma mixed with constant local updates of severe thunderstorm warnings and progression of local storms.  Part of check in included pointing out location of storm shelter if tornado developed.  Minutes after we got parked and hooked up utilities a cell moved in.  Wind, rain, pea sized hail.  Pretty cool to sit and watch.  Would not want to drive in it.  Areas around Wichita (which we had left 30 minutes earlier under sunny skies) were getting ping pong sized hail.  Wow!20160509_16471920160509_165519



Goose weathering the storm.  White spots are dandelions, not hail.