Archive for February, 2018

The next two days were some of the busies and most amazing of the entire trip!

May 20th – Day 3 – Watkin’s Mill Campground to St Louis, MO

Mile 959.4 – I took a wrong turn and as I was looking for a place to turn around I stumbled into a beautiful park.  It was a Civil War Soldier Memorial and was so beautiful with huge trees and flowers blooming everywhere.  There were people fishing in a large pond and others out for their morning strolls.  One older gentleman stopped me and we visited for a short time.  He was very interested in my camper as he had restored a 1969 Airstream.  As I said goodbye he told me “You’re living my dream!”

Sometimes the best experiences you have are the unplanned ones – you get lost, you find a friend.  His words were a boost to my confidence and I think of him and the beautiful park often.

Since I was supposed to be at my campground in Eureka, MO at noon to meet up with friends Wanda & Jon I had little time for getting lost and had to keep going.  I did miss out on a few things I had planned to see – like Watkin’s Mill but that’s OK – it just means I need to go back someday.

Mile 970.0 – OK, I gave in and got on interstate

Mile 980.0 – Bailed off the interstate – I can’t handle the traffic. 

Mile 1027.4 – Into Morgan County.  I miss my kids.  There are turtles everywhere – even in a large puddle at a road intersection – I saw 2 turtles who look like they live there, right in the middle of the road.  Hwy 50 is such a beautiful road!

By noon I had pulled into Robertsville State Park – my home for the next 2 days.  I made 2 passes around the campground as I missed my campsite the first time around and saw 2 little girls who were drawing pictures on the pavement with chalk As I passed the 2nd little girl, the 2nd time around she told me “You’ve already been here!”  I laughed and told her she was right.  She obviously thought I was insane.

I finally found my site and had just backed Nadine into the wonderful wooded site when Wanda and Jon and their dog, Bud pulled up.  Since the campground host was in the one right next to mine I quickly checked in, then popped a couple cold pills, filled my pockets with Kleenex, grabbed my camera & purse, and we hit the town!!!!

St Louis is a wonderful city and that’s saying a lot for someone like me who has never lived in a city – nor had the desire to.  But St Louis has a wonderful feel to it and there is so much to see that one lifetime would only scratch the surface.  It helped that I had 2 wonderful friends to show me around.


Wanda and Jon are incredible people who love St Louis and want to share it. I was still sick with my cold and should have probably been holed up in my camper sipping hot soup and sleeping but there was no way I was going to let all the wonders of St Louis pass me by.

The first stop was Ted Drewes for one of their world famous frozen custards (known as ‘concrete’ because it’s sooo thick and rich).  Loved it!!!!  Bud does too.  Then we were headed downtown to the Old Courthouse and Arch.

The Gateway Arch visitor center was under major construction (aka – tore to hell) but the Old Courthouse had several of the exhibits set up for us to see.  The courthouse is spectacular in itself but was made more famous for the historic Dred Scott case that was held there in 1856 – 1857 where Scott and his wife Harriet, two enslaved African Americans who had lived for a time in free territory, sued for their freedom.  This case brought national attention on slavery.

We stopped long enough to get my National Parks passport stamped and bought souvenirs, post cards and of course another medallion for the doorframe of my camper.

The Arch is amazing!  Wanda took me to see the movie about it’s construction which was great as I was wondering how on earth people could build something like this.  They started construction in 1962 and finished on Oct 28, 1965.  It was built with cranes that crawled up the sides as they went.


I don’t know about you but there is no way in Hell I would work up there – 630 feet off the ground.  Unbelievably, no one was hurt or killed in the process even though it appears to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  Do you suppose the men who designed this and built it spent the whole time with their fingers crossed, hoping they had measured right when they laid out the bases?  They must have because the final piece at the very top fit right in.  They even though they had to place it when the temperature was just right – before the sun could heat up the stainless steel sides causing it to expand.

The view from the top including the Old Courthouse.


I’m such a tourist!  Hahahahaha!


Hooked together like a string of pearls you can travel to the top (inside) the arch.  Each pod holds 5 people and when full are rather ‘cozy’ so there is no room to freak out and go nuts.  As they travel to the top you could feel the pods adjusting to the curve as they go.  It was great!  And when you get out at the top, even though you can stand upright you see and feel the curve of the room and can look out windows along both sides to see the river and city spread out below.


The next stop was the Chain of Rocks Bridge.  This bridge is known for several things:  First – it was/is part of Route 66 just like Ted Drewers frozen custard stand.  Second, it was built with a bend in the middle – probably because the ground on the far side wasn’t stable enough where they had planned to finish it and finally, it was the site of a horrible murder of 2 sisters – aged 19 & 21 which happened in the ’90’s.  It is also close to Ferguson where the riots were going on not so many years ago.

The bridge was set to be torn down after the murders but the people of St Louis rallied to save it.  Even though there is a hitch in purchasing the land on one end of the bridge it is hooked onto a bike and walking path that follows the river and is a beautiful old bridge.  You can almost image vintage cars crossing the river as they traveled Route 66.

From there it was back into the city where I got a tour of Wanda and Jon’s beautiful house then off to ‘the Hill’ which is a wonderful old Italian neighborhood full of sweet brick homes and fantastic Italian Restaurants.  I can’t remember the name of the one we ate at but the shrimp scampi was the best I’ve ever eaten.  The waiter was kind of a gruff old guy who reminded me of my husband (who I could never imagine being a waiter).  He walked up to the table and barked out “What do you want?”.  We had a good laugh over that… after he left.

It was time to head back to my little camper where I took more cold medicine and fell asleep to the sound of rain on my roof.  I woke up shortly after when something hit me in the head.  It didn’t take long to track down a rather large black beetle that was flying around inside Nadine, bouncing off walls in the dark.  We were both glad when he went out the door.

And then it was morning and another fun day filled with things to see and do.

May 21, 2017 – Day 4 – St Louis – 9:00 am Wanda picked me up and took me back to their house where Jon cooked us breakfast.  Then we were off to Busch Stadium and the Cardinals & Giants game.  Jon works for Edward Jones and he was hosting their box that day so we got to sit in some of the best seats in the stadium which has spoiled me for ever going to another game.  Which is too bad as this is the first professional ball game I’ve ever been to.

There was all kinds of food and drinks and you could sit inside, outside or even in between as one wall of windows opened. We ate, we drank, and we cheered our hearts out and we met many fun people from all walks of life.  Wanda also gave me a tour of the stadium where we saw bars, gift shops, kids activities and so much more. We watched the celebration as one of the Cardinals scored a home run and most importantly, we enjoyed the heck out of the game which the Cardinals won  8-3.  Yippeee!  We were given free Cardinals hats when we entered the stadium and Wanda had given me a Cardinals shirt too so I wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb both of which I proudly wore on the rest of the trip.

And before we knew it, it was 3:00 and we still needed to squeeze in the Missouri Botanic Gardens.

There was no possible way for us to see it all but we did our best.  The Climatron (a very large tropical greenhouse) was hosting an exhibit of blown glass sculptures which were amazing and looked so beautiful with all the exotic plants such as the Carrion Flower (pictured above) that was just beginning to form it’s flower blossom.  which would eventually reach amazing heights and smell like rotting meat.  Here’s a photo I found on-line.  Incredible, isn’t it?


I can only imagine the smell.

It was so beautiful.  If I lived in St Louis, I would pester these people till they gave me a job.  I would live here if they would let me.  I’m sure we could find room inside one of the greenhouses for my little camper.

The funniest thing was when Wanda pointed to a bright green and blue lizard who was on a metal pole inside the greenhouse.  We were sure it wasn’t real as “it would really freak out the guests” if it was.  As soon as Wanda said that the thing wiggled up the pipe and out of sight.  She was right – it did freak us out.  Ha!!!

I loved the Botanic gardens!

Before taking me back to my camper we toured some of the beautiful neighborhoods of St Louis.  The grand old mansions are spectacular and some can trace their history back to the days of the 1904 World’s Fair when foreign royalty and dignitaries built most of them so they could travel to America and live in the lifestyle they were accustomed to while visiting the fair.  Must be rough, right?  Eventually, the houses were sold and are still amazing – at least from what I saw from the street.  It was growing dark so I didn’t take photos but rather just sat back and enjoyed the view.

We ohhed and awed till it was time to head back:

to my humble little camper where I feel like a Queen & sleep like a log.




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