Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peculiar? Fair Play?

July 15, 2007
Louisburg, KS to near Gascozark, MO (where?)

234.6 miles
Puffy Clouds and Gusty Winds
for awhile anyway…

There sure was no mistaking when I crossed from the wonderful highways and byways of Kansas into Missouri – went from pleasure to pain – it happened right at the sign welcoming the driver into Missouri – the roads went from wonderful to junk. I’d love to know the reasoning behind where money is spent. Sorry for the little rant – if I could get from Kansas to Maine without leaving Kansas’ roads, I’d do it for sure!!

One of the next things I noticed was the town of Peculiar, MO. There must be some history behind that name! So I looked it up for you, and for me -

In pre-Civil War times the pioneer settlers decided their drowsy, maple-shaded hamlet ought to have a name. After several sessions in the general store they narrowed the choice to three names, but couldn't settle on any one.
All three names were sent to the post office for consideration. All three were in use elsewhere. They decided to appeal directly to the postmaster general, agreeing to let him make the final decision. 'We don't care what name you give us,' they said, 'so long as it is sort of peculiar.'
Probably with tongue in cheek the postmaster general wrote a long and courteous reply. He said he had given their predicament grave consideration. 'My conclusion.' he wrote, 'is that in all the land it would be difficult to imagine a more distinctive, a more peculiar name than Peculiar.' and Peculiar it has remained ever since. {Found in a newspaper clipping}

I can’t get over these magnificent immense green lawns at all the homes – even shacks have beautiful lawns. I love ‘em! Guess I’ve been in the desert too long, that I enjoy the lawns so much!

Saw my first herd of goats today (do goats come in herds??), and the babies are adorable! Kids playing like kids!!

I’d been noticing that lots of the homes had their own ponds and creeks, and was thinking of all the stories I’ve heard thru the years about ‘down at the ol' watering hole’ - wait, wrong story . . . I think I mean 'down at the ol' swimming hole' – something I wasn’t fortunate enough to experience in the areas where I grew up, when I started noticing that the creeks and ponds looked pretty gucky (scientific term for less than pristine).

Then crossed some lakes that looked kind of stagnant, and rivers that were over their banks, the Truman Lake and Reservoir were obviously flooded. I looked it up online when I parked last night, and this indeed was one of the areas hit so badly by rains in early May that suffered major flooding. The water is still here more than two months later – must have been really awful at the time!

I’d really like a translation of a hand painted sign that said “4 Sale – Used Rabbits”. Huh?

And then, near the town of Lowry City, there were several highway signs saying “Share the Road” with a picture of a horse drawn buggy. I’m still trying to find out if this is an Amish area – no other indications, but it’s a classic Amish looking buggy! The info page on Lowry City doesn't mention an Amish community, but does say they have 5 registered sex offenders - just what we all wanted to know.

A couple more good names of towns – Humanville?? And Fair Play?? And Russell Stover candy must be made around here because there are dozens of big billboards advertising Russell Stover stores! Actually, in researching that question, I see they are based in Denver, CO and recently acquired Whitman's Sampler too. Guess they're just really popular here abouts!

Then I saw my first regional McDonald’s specialty (well, not really the first, because Hawaii’s McDonald’s made a few concessions to local tastes) – Micky D’s sweet tea!! For 89 cents!

This cloud showed up on the horizon about 1:30.
Uh oh!

Oh yeah – it rained on me! It rained so hard that most everyone pulled over to the side of the road. And my windshield wiper worked!! Then it cleared up and was MUGGY, MUGGY, MUGGY, and still is today, the next day! I’d forgotten how oppressive serious muggy is!

I found tonights RV park on the map – Gasconade Hills RV Camp – sounded nice, but I was beginning to wonder if there was going to be anything at the end of this road, and really hoping there would be, because there was no way I’d be able to turn around. 

Thankfully, the park did materialize, and it’s very nice! Spent an extra day to do laundry and plan out the next week of the trip. It’s right on its own little river – still way full and gucky looking – but they offer fishing and canoeing and like that. Very intermittent internet access, but what else is new?

Hopefully I can get these two days of travel posted before I get out of here in the morning! Later!

Gasconade Hills
A Paddlesports Resort
28425 Spring Road
Richland, MO 65556

Don't throw me in the hooscow

July 14, 2007
Nebraska City, NE to Louisburg, KS

215.3 miles
Mostly overcast

It’s so pretty here that I asked the park owner what winters are like – which immediately made any thoughts of living in the area, even for a short time, go away! Seems it’s often below 0 degrees, as in zero, not just freezing, as in 32 degrees, for about 40 days each winter. So much for Nebraska. Sure is pretty now though!

Saturdays must be the day for mowing lawns, as I saw a whole bunch of guys and two ladies out on their riding mowers, just going back and forth and back and forth over their lovely green lawns!

And obviously one of the major events of the year in this nation is coming up because I saw at least a couple hundred motorcycles headed north throughout the day, probably for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Doesn't happen officially until August 6th, but I hear tell that people start early for the big event! Some big burly guys, some buff gals in leather, some couples, some towing the cute little trailers that hold an amazing amount of fun stuff – all shapes and sizes and colors of bikes and people. I know from first hand stories that Sturgis is an event to behold!

Passed thru Corning, MO – and all this time I thought Corning was just fancy cookware!

One neat thing about Missouri road signs – they have very visible signs posted every two tenths of a mile, showing exactly where you are! Nice touch!! Which was particularly helpful when I saw a sign for Oregon – and all this time I thought I was in Missouri!

Names are so much fun – I guess there are only so many names, and you just have to use them over and over. Like Fillmore – I mean, the Fillmore in California is infamous. Seems Fillmore in Missouri is too – they have a large antique mall which specializes in fireworks!

I know some people find the Great Plains monotonous – I’m delighted to be traveling across, and witnessing for myself, all the beauty, all the variety, all the colors, all the trees I don’t recognize, all the gorgeous wild flowers, all the sweet singing birds that I’ve only seen in books - to be reminded there’s way more than big bustling cities and angry headlines.

For instance, I marvel at simple things, like what terrific use the farmers and ranchers make from this land – they plant every contour and angle to get the most possible return. I wish it was time for the harvest, to see how they go about it – some of those contours and steps look impossible. Those folks definitely work hard for their money! Lucky for us, they do!!!

Crossed the Missouri River again at St. Joseph and spotted the Stinky Fingers Bait & Supply Store. What a picturesque spot! Crossed the Kansas River and traveled the Frontier Military Scenic Byway, which it definitely is! I do love my dotted roads!!

Passed thru Leavenworth, KS, and was quite taken with the lovely old building that must have been a courthouse or governor’s mansion or some such, until I passed in front and realized I was admiring the Leavenworth penitentiary! Wow – if I have to be incarcerated, that’s where I’d want to be forced to call home – at least it’s a handsome building!!

And I’m so impressed by the roads in Kansas – they are way above and beyond any roads I’ve seen anywhere in these United (somewhat united, but I won’t get political here) States. Smooth, well maintained, well signed and easy to navigate – they have lots of land and use it well to make interchanges easy, off ramps and on ramps allow lots of room. I’m babbling, but I cannot believe what a pleasure it is to drive here!

Arrived at my evenings RV park near Louisburg, south of Kansas City, Kansas – the Rutlader Outpost Middle Creek Theatre & RV Park. This is quite a spot – depicted as an “Ole West Border Town on the border of Missouri and Kansas. 

Between the years of 1838 and 1845, a military road was constructed through the Indian Territory to connect Fort Leavenworth, Fort Scott (Kansas), and Fort Gibson (Oklahoma). This was done to protect the western border of the United States, which was the Missouri Kansas line. The old route has been replaced by highway 69, and considered the Frontier Military Scenic Byway.”

The property includes an Antique & Trading Company, a Furniture & Carpet Company, a summer flea market, a cowboy shootout reenactment one weekend a month from April thru October, their own fishing lake and live country music shows every Saturday evening.

I went to the country show – and it was a delightful evening! They offer a little mini café for those attending the show – simple menu (hamburgers, big hot dogs, pork chops, taco salad, with sides, of course, and ice cream, homemade cookies, fresh popcorn) and the most expensive dinner is $3.50!

They have a six piece band and on this particular evening, they had two of their regular gal singers, who could sing on anyone’s stage, they were so good!, plus three other guest entertainers - one fella was a country Victor Borge, a singer/comedian/musician – playing Old Traditional country to the newest songs on the radio today. They played for two and a half hours – for a $12 ticket! I will go out of my way to visit this spot again!

Rutlader Outpost
Middle Creek Theatre & RV Park
Hwy 69 South to 335th St exit
33565  S Metcalf
Louisburg, KS 66053

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