Archive for June, 2013
So lucky to get to know my cousin and see how she lives in the Kansas City area.
So much of the westward movement as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.
The museum dedicated to the recovery of the sunken steamboat Arabia from a farm away from the current Mississippi River’s path was one of the best stories we have seen. Back in the 80’s friends and families decided to find it and raise it not knowing that everything on the ship-as much sellable pieces of everything as a “Walmarts Store” was intact and would be salvaged and cleaned into useable items that we could wear, eat off, or build with today. If this story raises your interest go to the museum’s lovely website and see the really good photos and the story-of modern day adventurers. http://www.1856.com
Westlake Killer was big news and I remember the horror of the story of the pediphile who tortured young boys from off the streets. This wagon sits in the Westlake district, which is actually a cool area, but people recognize it because of the weirdo.
In our family we know a bit of the story that my Grandad Greenawalt was kicked out of his home in his 6th grade year, hooked rides to Kansas City and found this Aunt and Uncle and asked if he could pay for a room in their house. When I was a child I met Abe and Versa once, lovely people, and they said Grandad paid for himself from that age on.
My cousin Cindy and her husband Kal wanted us to get the flavor of Kansas City and its neighborhoods. We started out going to Long Horn Steak House-where I had the best trout lunch I could imagine. Then we covered the neighborhoods and we went to a museum that houses everything from the capsized Arabia including part of the steamboat.. What an adventure story. The Arabia sunk in the Mississippi River after hitting a snag. The people survived but the steam boat sunk with thousands and thousands of items from beautiful silver, china, crystal to hats and boots and the clothes and cloth in bolts. The hosts of the museum describe the viewing rooms of all that was found as a department store of goods from the 1800’s most of which do not have anything wrong with them. Seems the Mississippi River changed course numerous times and the boat was actually in a field of a farm. It was a great story and a brilliantly done project. 3 of the 4 adventurers are still living and their discovery happened in the 1980’s
We also went to Westport Market where a famous serial killer worked. ” Berdella was apprehended on April 2, 1988, after a victim he had been torturing for a week jumped naked from the second story of his house and escaped, wearing only a dog collar. By that time, he had abducted and tortured at least six young men, and the Kansas City Police Department suspected him in two other disappearances. Berdella had detailed torture logs and large numbers of Polaroid pictures he had taken of his victims.” I actually remember the discovery of what this nut had done and the trial.
Another really cool thing we saw was the house of my Great Great Uncle and Aunt. The story I got from Uncle Abe when he visited Grandad and all of us was that when Grandad was in 6th grade, his was kicked out of his home because his step father didn’t want him, so he hopped rides to Kansas City, arrived at Abe and Versa’s house and asked to rent a room in the basement. He got a newspaper boy job and paid rent from the 2nd week on.
When we traveled to Kansas City we had a real surprise, Missouri and Kansas are not flat until one gets close to Colorado. Rolling land all green, very pretty. We drove to Cabelas in KC and met my cousin Cindy who led us over hill and dale to their home in the country. They took an old country home and went crazy turning it closer and closer into their dream home. Just like me in my house in Martinez, they still can’t see it as done. But to us they have an incredible place and it has all kinds of surprises. Kal has hooked up watering systems that get water from the well and he has propane gas on his land which he uses too. I can’t describe how smart he is and how creative. That does not even say enough about his eye for landscaping. I am having a terrible time uploading my photos here in Fort Collins, CO, but he has used antique farm equipment in the front landscapes.
Russ and I feel so blessed to stay on their farm in the RV-me using their beautiful guest room as heat and humidity demanded. I immediately named it Cindy’s Spa. The guest bathroom is not only pretty but functional with the best shower ever. Cindy and Kal eat huge vegetarian salads and dishes much like us, though they do enjoy some meat. We shared ideas back and forth and the two of us had at it in the kitchen putting together meals for our selves and lovely guests invited to meet us. What fun!
My cousin Cindy is one smart shopper too. She taught me a few things and she had her hair dresser scheduled for me and then for Russ too. I have got to get a picture of the new Russ and post it. At any rate Cindy and I have seen each other at family events and even at the Pt. Richmond Condo, but this time we really became lifetime friends. I am so fortunate and Russ can’t stop talking about how much fun we had. My jaw still hurts from talking and laughing.
Well Well, what can I say I blogged without meaning to. Glad you like the photos.
We have had so much fun seeing St. Louis and I have so many photos that I must do individual blogs for each of the events. First, I loved Googling ST. Louis. There were maps of the neighborhoods, then write ups about each one including restaurants. Directions were posted. Second, I had a blood vessel pop in my eye the second nite and it was so puffed up that Russ wanted me to go to an emergency room. Well the folks at St. Louis Jewish hospital were not too busy and the nurse and doctor drew maps and told us all the must sees. So we followed their advice.
The Gateway Arch was a no brainer, we were parked on the East side St. Louis, Illinois, at a Casino and were staring right at and thru the arch. Very mystical and ethereal. Could not catch that in photos. We biked into the park and went under into the the arch to the museum and caught the pod cars to the top.
Now this was no short process, lines moved slowly in steps. The walkway in to the underground was designed to look like you were on the docks in the time of Mark Twain. At one point an old scale was a boone to mothers with kids. It looked like two swings, but it did not swing, yet when another child got in, it balanced and you should have seen the looks on two year old faces. Still they tried to swing it-no go. Then we got into 5 man pods shaped like eggs, we leaned in and if you have serious claustrophobia this was not for you. You could see out the door and watch the stairs. At the top we all took photos thru the tiny windows. I got a phone call from my sister Kay while up there.
Of course the Gateway Arch is about St. Louis being the gateway to the west and everything is attributed to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase. After the civil war St. Louis did not have bridges for the trains and had to catch up building them. For a while they lost the heavy shipping movement west but eventually reclaimed it. I like the stories of the changing eras of big cities.
So you drive down the highways, stopping often for legs, hips and knees. You walk the dog so you can walk yourself. Bathroom and water and sometimes a meal. But traveling this way means you can pay attention to signs and in this case real signs by the highway. Specifically this time, Abe Lincoln’s Memorial Sign, Next Exit.
What a treat-like others I remembered his life in Springfield, IL but had forgotten the farm in the west in the forest was actually Indiana. Gorgeous memorial building in the park-mementos and quotes and memorial panels. Fortunately while I was visiting with the kids outside, Russ learned that you can walk toward the flag and a half mile later you are on the farm cut from thick forest and rendition of the buildings and actors to show you around their home. It was a sweet experience as was the movie that told the story at the memorial.
Others moved into the area where the Lincolns did and apparently a plant the cattle would sometimes get into gave a disease to humans and wiped out many of them. Nancy Hanks died-Tom Lincolns left to find a wife-not that crass, actually he knew a friend who had lost her husband and who had 5 children of her own to raise.
During my exploring the memorial and farm, I met a lovely woman and daughter on their way to the Bay area where the daughter is taking her new Master’s Degree to start an internship. They are traveling from the DC area across the country. Talk about being a magnet for women traveling the spiritual journey. She and I just shared so much in a short time-a real feel good moment.
I just read a quote from my favorite Blog “The Daily Love”. I copied it and then lost it, but basically if was from Joseph Campbell and I hope I do not mutilate it- The world is a mess, always has been. We are not here to fix it cause you can’t-we are here to fix ourselves. Love meeting others finding their way too.
Exhausted in Louisville Kentucky (Russ eats the best beef ever-Hardrock Cafe’s World famous Hambuger)
Well, the drive from Monticello to Louisville, Kentucky was over 8 hours over the Appalachians-up hill and down hill-and then as we often do trying to find the campground we missed a direction and had to bicker our way to a little old KOA, which was across the river from Kentucky in Indiana. Tight spaces right next to the railroad tracks, but only minutes to historical downtown Louisville.
We did go into downtown to explore the very next day. We tend to just drive around the historic areas and get a feel for it. We knew that people go to Makers Mark for tours and tasting. We learned that Louisville Slugger has a great tour and you see how they make the bats. Then we heard that the Mohamid Ali museum is incredible. 4th Street has several closed off blocks where music is played and we were hungry so we stopped and ate at the Hard Rock. Russ had heard the beef is extraordinary so he asked the waiter and they had a blue cheese hamburger that was crazy. Well he had it and was uncomfortably full all day long. I had two bites and have got to say it was one of the best burgers I have ever tasted. Then I went back to my Portabello burger and ate my greens and was very comfortable!
Walking back to the car, we had a real treat!! Two gentlemen valets at the Seelback Hilton saw me taking photos of the wonderful building and said, “Do you know about us?” They handed over a 4 page history story and said, “Come in and look around”
It was spectacular. I have never seen marble so beautiful. Some of it is from Italy, Vermont and Switzerland. F. Scott Fitgerald used it for the hotel in the “Great Gatsby” where Tom and Daisy were married. The Rathskeller is pure art. It is all ceramic tiles from a famous Rookwood Pottery. The hotel has been bought and renovated thru the years and has historic murals all around the lobby. We spent an hour and made ourselves at home. Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, JFK, Jimmy Carter and other presidents have stayed there. One of our many surprise treats we fall into as we travel.
Monticello was a first time for me, but even so I could tell lots had been done to restore it and to make it a learning experience. We saw school children, 3rd grade, taking their year end field trip. They were studying historical people of the area and since they go to school near Monticello, Jefferson was their local historical figure. So cute. The new visitor’s center was very impressive. Parking was great and from the center you ride in small buses to the top of the hill. I heard people who had been here 20 years ago talking about all the incredible changes, movies, slave history, specifically the families at Monticello, tours, and museum.
The museum lets you take photos so I caught rooms from within the house which could not be photographed. Very creative man, who was continually redoing and improving Monticello.
Well our detour east to Charlottesville allowed me to do something that I have always wanted to do and that is visit Monticello and see everything I could about Jefferson and his architectural experiments as well as his gardening experiments. When we arrived Saturday it was 90 degrees and humid. But we set up the RV in a very wooded spot at a KOA, hurried to the MICHIE TAVERN and ate at a colonial style food buffet. OMG, it was fantastic. I did not eat meat but cheated in that the green beans and black eyed peas were seasoned with ham. The stewed tomatoes were also incredible and Russ says the fried chicken was incredible. Then to Monticello.
If you have never been or were here 20 years ago you would not recognize the place. You drive into the most beautiful visitor center, with museum and movies and shops and restaurant. Those photos will be on the next blog.
Then we took a bus up the hill and were in a heaven spot. I got to most of the slave tour, most of the garden tour and then raced to catch Russ for the House tour. All in heat and humidity. There are many things to add and stories to tell and I will do all kinds of historical information in a separate blog. So if you are not interested in the history, skip the next blogs that say Jefferson.
We are now sitting at Whole Foods, sipping coffee and having Shadow enjoy being with us in the shade. We have book marked doppler radar site for weather as we again attempt to head west across Tornado Alley. Need my sister, Karole, the news anchor in Idaho Falls to have her weather people check out the next 10 days as we go to Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City.