Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knoxville & Pella, Iowa

May 27-30.  We were staying in the Elk Rock State Park on Red Rock Lake.  From here we visited Knoxville and Pella.  Knoxville is the site of the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and racetrack.  Winged Sprint cars race here and we went to the races on Saturday night.  We had a great time watching 3 classes of winged sprint cars.  We are race fans and this high speed dirt track driving was teriffic.
Pella is a dutch themed city.  We saw 3 windmills and toured one of them.  The Vermeer Windmill was huge and had all the workings of a grain to flour mill.  We got to go to the top of the windmill and see all of the inner workings.  We went to the museum below the windmill as well as the Wyatt Earp house next door.  We got to see the Klockenspiel work at the top of the hour. (4 puppet like figures come out and play for you to dutch chimes)   We toured the Scholte house, who was the Domini (Preacher) who settled Pella, naming it after a town in Holland.  We bought fresh ring bologna and cheese at the local meat market and coffee cake and pastries at the Jaarsma bakery.  Many of the houses in Pella are still built with the Dutch influence. We took the holiday off and just relaxed.
Vermeer Windmill
Deb in big wooden shoes

Local Bank
Dutch Style house

Original 1st Pella home    
Shoemaker's shop

Friday, May 27, 2011

Maysville, Missouri

Pony Express
Pony Express
Patee Museum
Maysville Campsite
May 24-26.  We used Maysville as our base to visit Jamesport, a small Amish Village and St. Joseph.
Jamesport was quaint.  We visited all the stores in the 2 block village and ate lunch there.  Not much going on there.  Now, St. Joseph was a different story.  St. Joseph is the location of the start of the Pony Express, which delivered mail via horseback between St. Joseph and Sacramento, California in 10 days, back 150 years ago. It ran for several years until the telegraph lines went coast to coast.
We visited the small Pony Express Museum as well as the Glore Psychiatric Museum.  Glore was very unique, showing us all of the old methods of dealing with the mentally ill.  We saw cages, restraints, patient rooms, surgical equipment, straight jackets and learned about shock therapy, Lobotomies, etc.
Kind of weird, but interesting.  The highlight of St. Joseph was the Patee Museum.  It is hard to describe, but they had everything from Trains, Carousels, every type of business (Post office, Train Station, Drug Store, etc.)  They have fire engines, stage coaches, western memorabilia, etc.  It was one of the greatest museums you could ever visit.  The Patee museum was originally the Patee Hotel, and just off the front entrance was the Pony Express main office.  The riders actually left the stable, rode into the hotel through a double door and received the mail, while on horseback, in a mochilla  (Leather saddle cover with 4 pouches) that fit around the saddle and held the mail. Check out- http://www.ponyexpressjessejames.com/index.php?pid=patee  This was our last stop in Missouri.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Harry S. Truman's Independence, Missouri

We are still camping in Blue Springs, Missouri, which is the next town south of Independence. We spent our last three days in Independence.  We first visited the Truman farm.  Harry had graduated high school and had moved to Kansas City and became a bank clerk.  He was well paid ($100.00 a month) and he spent much of his time at plays and cultural events.  He also spent time at the library, as he was an avid reader of History and Biographies.  Four years later his parents took over his grandfather's farm and told him to come help. He came to the farm, worked alongside the farmhands and eventually took over the operation.  During this time he met his future bride, Bess Wallace. When WW I started, he entered the Army, and because he had experience directing people, he was made a Captain and went to war. He led a unit in France during the final year of WW I.
We next went to the home that he and Bess lived in for the rest of their lives. (except when he lived in the White House) The Truman home is on Delaware Street.  We visited the Truman Presidential Library and museum. We visited and toured Vaile Mansion and Bingham-Waggoner Mansion. We went to the train station where Harry Truman started his presidential campaign.  We visited the Clinton's soda fountain, where Truman had his first job when in was a drug store, and had ice cream.  We stopped by the Old Log Courthouse, where Truman served as a judge, when the main courthouse was being renovated.  Finally, we went through the National Frontier Trails Museum. We ate Sunday brunch at Ophelia's, which was delicious. Independence is a quaint, quiet, midwest town, worth a visit.

Truman Farmhouse
Deb @ Truman's home
Old Log Courthouse
Truman's Oval Office

Deb & Harry
Vaile Mansion
Truman's Grave
Morman Chuch

Trivia Question- Harry S. Truman-What does the "S" stand for? 
Answer: Nothing.  His grandfather's names were Solomon
and Shipp, so to not disappoint either one, he just has the initail "S".

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kansas City, Missouri & Kansas City, Kansas

Our campsite
The view (see the clouds below the ridge)
May 16-23.  We are staying in Blue Springs, Missouri at Fleming Lake while we visit both Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas.  Back in Tampa, we use to visit BBQ restaurants with our friends Brad & Suzie Bohannon, in a quest for the best BBQ.  Since they are originally from the KC area, they have told us the best BBQ places in town, and we are trying to get to them all. In our first 5 days here, we have had great BBQ wings at Winslow's, Big and  tasty BBQ sandwiches at Gates, and great sausage and pulled pork at Arthur Bryant's.  But its not all BBQ, as we ate great Italian food at Lidia's restaurant.  We were drawn to Lidia's because we always watch her on the Create channel and Debbie has one of Lidia's cookbooks.
I don't think I have enough room in this blog to tell you all about each stop in Kansas City.  This place has it all. We have been to Garmin's headquarters to learn all about using our handheld geocaching GPS. We toured Hallmark Cards and the Harley-Davidson's KC plant.  We went through the Money Museum at the KC Federal Reserve Bank, and the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame.  We had a personal tour of the Airline History Museum, which was fantastic.  We stopped by the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Charlie "The Bird" Parker Memorial.   We spent some time at the gorgeous Union Station railroad station, as well as the greatest hunting and camping store ever, Cabela's. We went to the City Market, a mall of restaurants, stores, and the fabulous Steamship Arabia Museum.  The Arabia was raised from the bottom of the Missouri river after 132 years.  Thousands of items recovered are in new or almost new condition.  We also spent hours at Liberty Park and the World War I Museum and Tower.  What a wealth of information we saw there. We still have 3 more days here, with more than 3 days worth of places to visit.  We went to the Great American BBQ festival  on Saturday, which was a real dud.  We got to see competitors cook and turn in their food.  We also got to taste about 40 sauces. Only 1 stand was selling BBQ wraps.
Jazz great Charlie Parker
At the Airline History Museum
Debbie with Satchal Paige
Relaxing @ Negro League Hall of Fame
Harley-Davidson Plant
Waiting for pasta @ Lidia's
WW I Tower
WW I carving
View of KC from WW I Museum
Union Station
Grabbin' tail at Cabella's
Mt. Goat Vs. Bear @ Cabella's

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pittsburg, Kansas & Western Missouri

May 11-15.  We are in Pittsburg, Kansas, home of Pittsburg State University, using it as our base to see Joplin, Carthage,and Nevada,(pronounced Nev-aid-a) Missouri, as well as West Mineral, Ft. Scott and Pittsburgh, Kansas. Another hail storm hit on Wednesday, pea size for nearly 10 minutes.  This time we suffered no damage.
We visited Big Brutus in West Mineral, Kansas, which was the second largest shovel ever built.  Debbie and I walked up the 160 stairs to to cab, where Debbie sat at the controls.  I stood in the massive bucket to show you how big it is.    One scoop holds 190 cubic yards, and they could do one scoop every 55 seconds. It was very impressive.  They had a museum filled with photos, models, and old machinery which was also impressive. 

Fort Scott, Kansas was our next stop.  It is a beautiful little town, out on the prairie.  We took a trolley tour of the city, then went to the fort. The fort was a beautifully restored property. 

 In Carthage, we attended the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Civil War battle of Carthage.  The battle started in the central park and went down the streets to the courthouse square.  At one point, I got too close and was almost run over by a horse soldier!  It was great fun. Oh, also see Debbie with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, quite a trio.

 We went to Joplin and went went through the courthouse.  We were going to Grand Falls,
but the water was rushing near the road, so high, we didn't dare try to cross it.  We went to George Washington Carver National Monument and Park.  If you ever have time, look him up online.  This man was a giant in our history.  He was a botanist, inventor, painter, teacher, and a genuine American hero.  It continued to rain, so we only visited the museum, not the grounds.
In Nevada, we again toured the local courthouse.  Nevada, Missouri is a pleasant small town that houses the Bushwhacker Museum.  A bushwhacker was just a person who lived in the brush or woods. This museum was in the basement of the public library and we were really surprised how extensive the collection was.  The museum had rooms from local homes that were donated as well as thousands of local artifacts.  It was impressive.  We also toured the Old Jail, which was a block away.  In the last town, Debbie fought for law and order with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, but in Nevada, once again, bad Debbie ended up in jail.