Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
19Trip End Oct 07, 2012
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Another couple of busy days for us. Hannibal, MO was very cute although we got off to kind of a grumpy start. We were a little tired from our driving the previous day. Plus, Hannibal has many tourist traps for Mark Twain tourism and it was confusing how we should proceed. Since we were (as always) pressed for time, the confusion was not a welcome one.
We went to the "Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum" in Hannibal which “was about what I expected” said Mike
Anyway, the entire little downtown area of Hannibal was nice as well. Many original buildings still stand. Java Jive claimed to be the oldest coffee house west of the Mississippi which is a great claim-to-fame. Their coffee was tasty as well. Like much of Missouri that we have seen, Hannibal has shrunk quite a bit from its heyday. It’s sad, but I suppose we’re not used to things in our country growing and shrinking. I imagine in Britain where their manufacturing went overseas literally eons ago, it is easier to accept it as part of 'the system.’ Still, hearing about how it was growing when Twain was growing up and seeing the architecturally cool buildings, it makes you feel a little sentimental (you know for ‘the old days’ of abject poverty and slavery, stuff like that)
We ended up back in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch which just didn’t happen the prior day. St. Louis fell victim to our insane schedule so it looks like we can’t check it off our list. Here’s hoping that Southwest offers a sweet ‘wanna get away’ fare so that we can spend a weekend eating barbeque. The botanical gardens looked impressively large and the science museum seemed intriguing as well. We also missed T.S. Eliot’s birthplace, the world’s largest pencil, the giant shoe made of shoes, and Ulysses S. Grant’s birthplace. Mike says it’s my fault because I had to go to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house. Oh well. I was never going to get another chance to go to Mansfield, MO to see where she wrote the books. It was an okay tradeoff. We also managed to get our oil changed in St. Louis. Jiffy Lube always comes through. My car is much happier.
It was back ‘on the road again’ from St. Louis to the Ozarks! It was a four hour drive to the middle of nowhere. Now, we say this quite a bit. I don’t think we have ever had as much license to say it as now. It was probably two hours of driving before we landed in Van Buren, MO that we didn’t see another state’s license plate (remember we’re not in an overwhelmingly gigantic state and that we had seen them the whole rest of the way)
Our cabin is super cute. A series of them were built here by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s during the Depression. Actually, several stops on our trip through National Parks have involved the CCC. It’s impressive how much work, and what back-breaking work, they accomplished. Mike said today, they liked to move rocks. It seems true because they are always dredging, quarrying or building something. Some of the cabins have a pretty stone exterior, others, like ours, are shingled. It has a little bedroom, attached bath, living room, makeshift kitchen with hot plate, microwave and mini-fridge, a screened porch and a little picnic table and fire pit outside. All for $65! You really can’t beat it. Everything was also extremely clean which is great. The only drawback was our slightly lumpy bed.
Today, we were kind of slow—comparatively
We played Rummikub this afternoon. Mike wasn’t keen on it when we started, but once he started kicking my ass, he was happy to keep playing
So, after a spectacular few days in Missouri, we’re setting off for the South tomorrow morning. Our first stop is in Little Rock to see the Clinton Library—rock on! Bill Clinton pretty much enabled us to be well-educated (by funding tons of federal student aid) so, we’re fans. Then, it’s over to Memphis for a couple of nights to see (all hail!) Elvis and other musical giants. The weekend will bring one of our favorite places: New Orleans. We have a reservation at Commander’s Palace for Saturday brunch. It was one of the last reservations available for Saturday. We were lucky we got in at all! Mike’s mom was right, we should have called earlier. At least we haven’t had the brunch yet, though. It should be awesome.
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