Boy scouts, hanging out on a statue:
Friday, October 29, 2010
I arrived at dad’s house, and stayed for a week. During weekdays I was left to my own devices, and didn’t do much. A few trips out for coffee, a few photos taken:
It was foggy a few of the mornings, but overall it was great weather:
Throughout the whole week my folks cooked, and took me out to amazing meals. Corned beef, italian, mexican, flat iron salads, pork medallions, steak, breakfast sandwhichs, etc. And I just kept eating, everything in sight.
Four waffles, ham, and two eggs for breakfast? Sure!
A few sandwhiches at lunchtime? Of course!
Dinner out? Yes please!
Not going to finish your meal? Slide it my way!
The evenings consisted of sitting out on the back patio talking with Dad and Suzy, catching up on everything, and watching the dogs be the idiotic animals they are. I helped Suzy purchase and setup an iPad, after which we saw a lot of this:
Come the weekend, my sister Nikki flew out to hang out with us as well. Great times were had as we took a few car trips, and just had some family time together. It was a blast:
I made everybody take a family picture on our last night there:
Monday rolled around, and I woke up early to take Nikki to the airport, then back to the house to say my last goodbyes to the folks before they went to work. Then it was a workout, reloading everything into the truck, and back on the road.
I’m really glad to have had time with family, and can’t wait to see them all again.
For now though, it was time to head eastward.
With stops at places such as Elephant Rocks state park in Missouri. It’s almost exactly like the granite dells in Prescott, except the granite is pink.
And even though this isn’t the reason for the name, I did find a rock that looked strikingly like an elephant’s head (to me at least):
This site was originally a quarry, and so everywhere there are busted up pieces of granite. Just the thing for a silly boy like me to stack for no apparent reason:
The pros also stacked rocks, although they made a pretty house out of theirs:
I also stopped at the Johnson Shut-Ins, which was a mad house of kids playing in rocks that I would think were dangerous. Maybe their parents are trying to get rid of them? If I imagine the place without all the people, it is a very pretty area:
And a little photoshop can remove the unwanted peoples from my images:
I also checked out Blue Spring, which was the bluest water I have EVER seen. It was kind of entrancing, and photos simply don’t do it justice:
From there I meandered down to the Buffalo river area, let the dog play in the water as I hiked around, and just generally tried to enjoy a beautiful day:
After all this nature stuff, it was time to head to padre’s house. And so I found myself in Fort Smith Arkansas on Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I pick Courtney up from the airport and we are off. It’s been two months since we’ve seen each other and there is a bit of awkwardness as we find our rhythm once again. Soon enough though we have it, and a week together flies by in an instant.
We do a three hour float down the Meramec river in a canoe. One of only two times I brought out the camera. It was a very relaxed kind of trip:
A day made for sun screen, and floppy hats:
It was idylic, and we were the only two people on the river. Three hours of watching turtles jump off of logs, watching the dog trounce through the water, and bite at the paddles, and just serene enjoyment:
We saw most of Courtney’s friends. We watched a much-too-loud jazz trio. We ate and drank exceedingly well. We slept late and languorously. We played a dance game on the wii with her family. We ate a few meals with her brother. I cooked for he whole family. We went for a hike through some beautiful woods with the dog. We walked through most of Shaw’s Nature Reserve, where I also brought out the camera.
All too soon our week was gone, and there I was with hardly a recollection of where the hours had gone. We grabbed one last roast beef sandwich from Lions Choice, and then I dropped her off at the airport. I was a sad duck as I drove away, my passenger seat now empty for the first time in a week. How quickly and easily I became re-accustomed to having her there next to me. But I knew where I was going next, I knew I would have another week of familiarity once I got to my dad’s house in Fort Smith Arkansas.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I head south from Springfield towards the Lou. My plan is to stop twice along the way to sleep, but that isn’t the way it works out. The state is smaller than the map makes it look, and soon I find I am nearly out of Illinois. I stop at a state park, but the camping prices are ridiculous so the dog and I content ourselves with a few hours of hiking through the park before continuing on. We come upon the great Mississippi river and cross it to get into a new state:
And then I realized I had two extra days to putz around a huge city. And huge cities are not my favorite thing to putz around in. So the first order of business was finding a park. We found one called ‘Stacy Park’ which was great for joggers, but not so great for a couple of travelling bums like us. We hung out regardless until the sun set and then found an REI to buy more fuel for the stove, and then continued on to a walmart parking lot to spend the night in.
Morning time found us heading towards the largest city park around: Forest Park. The highlights of this park are the free zoo and museums. I spent three hours on a friday morning dodging the masses of mothers and gaggles of children meandering around the zoo.
I saw spider monkeys and bald eagles:
I saw hippos and jaguars:
As well as sun bears and giraffes:
After the zoo, I put the camera away and meandered to the art museum, and spent another two hours wandering through their halls before heading back to the dog. We found a quiet part of the park and spent the rest of the day hanging out, working out, playing fetch, and just generally enjoying a laid back afternoon. Friday evening found us parked on what appeared to be a quiet residential road.
But it wasn’t quiet for long. We seen realized that we had parked directly in front of a house party. And, although it didn’t afford us much sleep between midnight and three AM, it did provide us with quite a bit of entertainment as people had raucous conversations a scant few feet away from the truck. What they thought of the intermittent dog growls I’m not really sure.
Woke up early, and got a cup of coffee, and prepared to pick up my gal from the airport.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
After camping in the state park I headed to the state capitol of Illinois: Springfield!
As with all capitals, they have a capitol building:
And as I walked around downtown I found that they had a very strong theme here: Abe Lincoln. He has a statue on the capitol grounds:
He has a library, a house, a street, an entire historical block dedicated to him. In fact, the man himself still resides in the city, in this building:
Underneath this rock:
His visage is everywhere in the city. At first I kept snapping up pictures of him. But soon his likeness was so ingrained in every part of the streets that I became desensitized to him. Soon I was off looking at flowers painted on the wall:
I enjoyed checking out the skyline (well… kind of):
And I even caught a snap or two of some other folks:
I hung out at the lake for a bit and saw the power plant:
I also got to hang out with one of Courtney’s good friends for a few hours at the bar where he works. Charlie and I chatted in between conversations with a babbling financial advisor, and the occasional zombie coming into the room.
Overall I quite enjoyed spending a few days in this town. But my time was up, I had a gal to meet in St. Louis.