Monthly Archives: March 2009

Amazing, Awesome, Arid Arizona

Sorry, I couldn’t think of a clever title this morning and the alliteration of Colorful Colorado has stuck.

So, we had breakfast at a little diner place just over the border into Arizona after out wonderful experience in Goose Neck.  The diner was actually part of an Indian Trading Post (Mr. T. and I had a funny conversation- Mr. T. “What is a trading post?”  Me-“It’s a place you trade goods for money.”  Mr. T. “so is a trading post like a grocery store.”  Me- laughing, “No, like, stuff”  Mr. T.- “So like clothes?”  Me- “No, just like hand made jewelry or just stuff.”  Mr. T.- “Like a convienence store?”  Me- “Not really,” continuing to laugh.  Mr. T- “Like a 5 and dime used to be?”  Me- “Yeah.  More like that.”) which included a motel and the diner.  It was pretty good.  

The Grand Canyon was…well…grand….

Mr. T., I think, sums it up well, “It is so massive and beautiful it is really beyond what the mind can comprehend as real.”  Then I point out that that is exactly why it is important to see Cayonlands *first* so that the mind can comprehend it.  

We walked up the watchtower and we also stopped at several overlooks then we hit our most westernly point and turned east towards Flagstaff.

We ate dinner at one of the places that “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” recommended.  It was really good.  If you haven’t been to Salsa Brava, we recommend it.  The food was great, the salsa bar a terrific idea (10 kinds, you get to choose what you want), and the service was good too.

We scored a great room in Flagstaff at a hotel with the “sleep number” bed.  We slept well and really liked the bed except for the ridge down the middle that the bed forms when the bed is adjusted.  Mr. T. decidedly was not a fan.  

We left Flagstaff after doing laundry and a stop at a Route 66 diner and headed for Walnut Canyon.

Oh!  Walnut Canyon is 240 steps down into the canyon valley and then 240 steps back up.  It is a glimpse into the lives of the Native Americans that chose to inhabit the sides of mesas.  Mr. T. was so brave.  He hates ledges, edges, drop offs, and bullies.   Thankfully, there were no bullies but lots of the other stuff.  But he made it down and got to see 1 of the destroyed rooms.  The next set of rooms that had been preserved were around a ledge so we decided to call it quits and hike back up.  

We hit the road then for the Petrified Forest which was yet another landscape change.  The petrified forest was literally a drive through the park experience.  We didn’t stop or get out as it was late afternoon and we wanted to get to Santa Fe.  We discussed stopping sooner but (thankfully!) decided to press on.  

More later…

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Questions we Have Part I

1.  On signs that say, “Group Camping Only”, how many is a group?  Clearly, a couple is 2.  Is 2 enough to be a group?  What about 3?  If it is 3, does a dog count?  3 is a triad, 4 a quad, 5 a quint.  As long as there is a special name do you not count as a group?    

2. What does the “Continental Divide” divide.  If it has to do with water run off, why isn’t there a 2nd continental divide in the east?

3.  Does the Timber Line have to do with cold, soil quality, or lack of oxygen.  If it is lack of oxygen why?  Trees need more CO2 then O2.  Is it a lack of CO2?  Should we pollute more to create more trees further up the mountains?

4.  Are dogs like mules or horses?  A mule won’t go off a cliff edge no matter how much he is pushed.  A horse will.  Horses are stupid.  That’s why canals use mules to drag the boats.  What about dogs?  Mollydog several times tried to head over the shear cliff wall at Gooseneck…did my calling her back put her in more danger than she would put herself?

5.  Why is the speed limit in Colorado and Arizona 75 but we have to suffer through 70?!

6.  Mexican Hat, Utah is name for a rock formation.  What is Mexican Water, Arizona named for?

Some of these we already know the answers to but road trip musing are an important component of the journey and we wanted to include you in the fun.  Feel free to answer any with a comment.

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What’s so Special about Goose Neck, Anyway?!

So the tumbleweeds in Colorado evidently haven’t heard that they are small, puny, and lack the numbers to do real harm.  Not like the Utah tumbleweeds that are so thick on the highway south to Moab that there are signs saying, “Dust Storm Area.  Do Not Stop or Swerve for Tumbleweeds.”  We were lucky.  The car in front of us, a sporty, red Mustang caught one full on and had to pull over and remove it after passing through the labeled dust storm area.  I commented to Mr. T. that it was so incredible that Utah knew that there was going to be a dust storm right there, right then.  I was being funny, but Mr. T, ever the straight man said, “I’m sure it has something to do with wind, weather, and geographical patterns…”  😀  

While the wind continued to wreack havoc all around we decided to forge on and make our planned expedition to Canyonlands National Park.  Outside of Canyonlands there are several pull off areas to view interesting things.  Our first pull off was to look at the Merrimac and Monitor mesas.  Mr. T. said, “Huh, why are they named that?”  I said, “Look at them.”  He said, “Oh.  I get it.”  Molly took off down the trail and I followed.  Shortly, I remembered Mr. T. is not afraid of heights but he is uncomfortable around ledges, edges, and shear drops into dismal abysses.  As the trip has progressed he has become slightly less terrified but on the first go round he would hardly venture  within 30 feet of the edge.  Molly just seemed confused.  (Please see following post RE: Molly)

We toured through Canyonlands bracing ourselves against the frigid wind.  We attempted the first mile of one of the rim roads but not wanting to wreck the undercarriage of my car nor strand us in a remote section of the National Park we turned around once it became questionable.  Canyonlands is filled with gorgeous vistas of mesas and canyons.  Some of the canyons contain canyons themselves which have no visible bottoms.  It is spectacular.  

We decided that due to the high wind and the 60% probability of rain we would get a room for the night rather then camp at the Bureau of Land Management free area just outside the park.  Thankfully, Mr. T. brought Claire along and scamming wi-fi we secured a room for a reasonable sum despite the fact that every Spring Break family in the world seemed to be visiting Moab.  Before we checked into our room we stopped for dinner at a pizza place I had eaten at my last time in Moab.  It wasn’t any thing special but it was 10pm, it was dinner, it was hot, and it was quick.  Our room was a little creepy but there weren’t any blood stains on the sheets and as long as I wore my flipflops I could ignore the nasty carpet.  The nasty carpet nullified any guilt I felt about sneaking Molly into our room.  She liked the kingsize bed too.

Since we were in a hotel and not in the car we got to see the season finale of Big Love.  Too bad the volume and color kept cutting in and out.  Overall, it was okay.  I think it reminded me too much of the previous season finale with all the “the family has fallen and been lead astray here let me fix it.”  I’m hoping it comes back for a 3rd season though.  Gotta love intrigue, murder, and mystery all set in a polygamous, religious context.

The next morning after wearing said flipflops in the shower and eatting breakfast we headed back north to Arches National Park.  One of the great sources of amazement for me is that Canyonlands and Arches are across the street from one another.  One side of the street’s geography and climate resulted in canyons and mesas, the other in rock formations, pillars, and arches.  Crazy.

We saw the elephants and delicate arch.  I missed the Wolfe Ranch (Wolfe was the original rancher back in the late 1800’s who “founded” the area) but Mr. T. said I could see it next time we were there.  🙂  He also said I needed to be more observant as *he* hadn’t missed it.  😀  I was too busy saying, “Look at that arch.  Oooh, see that?”  I think the most awesome ones are the windows and little tiny ones which aren’t even labeled which are clearly “new”.  I remembered hearing that an arch had recently fallen but couldn’t identify which one (ah, here it is! http://www.nps.gov/arch/parknews/news080808.htm).  The Ranger said dogs couldn’t be out of the parking lots so we drove around and saw what we could from the car aside from a 100 yard stroll to see Delicate Arch.  The park was really crowded with aforementioned spring break families and I wasn’t sad to go.  

We headed back into Moab to grab lunch and steal more wi-fi to find a camping spot for the night.  Lunch was a shared cheeseburger which was sublime.  Mr. T. and I had a brief discussion about whether it was a really good burger or just the fact that we were hungry and really wanted it.  I forget the behavior analytic principle involved…but I digress.  We selected a few spots for free camping in northern Arizona and southern Utah and began driving.  Our first selection turned out to be right, dead on magnificent.

But before we got there we stopped at the San Juan Mormon Mission.  It was flagged and looked old so we pulled off the road to investigate.  I find the old Mormon stuff (pre-denouncing of polygamy) interesting because most of the polygamous stuff has been reimagined by the current church.  For instance the picture of a man, several women, and several children refers to “Mr. and Mrs. Blank, friends, and Mr. and Mrs. Blank’s children.  Since the picture was taken in the 1870s/1880s and the “principle” wasn’t denounced until the 1890s I’m skeptical that the “friends” aren’t in fact wives.  I think it is interesting how the civil law and pressure shaped and changed Mormonism.  I also think it is interesting that in history classes most kids don’t learn about the riots, killings, and armed conflicts between Mormons and the US.  The reason the Mormons came to Utah was kind of a “go west and we’ll leave you alone” thing.  ANYWAY…

One of the free camping/boondogging rolls listed Gooseneck State Park as a free place for camping with pit toilets, picnic tables, and grills.  Boy, that just doesn’t even scratch the surface.  Gooseneck is a good 20 miles from the highway down a paved road.  I said, “Why is this road paved?  We are out in the middle of nowhere.  This makes no sense.”  Mr. T. said, “Because people drive on it?”  Just when I think we have been lead astray by the interwebs again we see the sign for the park.  Then we see the canyon.  Wow.  Just wow.  Directly in front of us is a 1,200 foot drop down to the San Juan River.  I guess the term “goose neck” refers to the rapid going back and forth in an “s” shape of a river.  We pull up in front of a sheltered picnic table with a grill right on the edge of the canyon and across from the toilets (an important location consideration in the middle of the night!) and let Molly out.  She immediately begins darting around scaring me to death.  We decide to walk down the canyon rim a little ways towards some RVs.  We are surrounded by a 360 degree view of mesas, rock formations (castles, candles, monuments), hills, valleys, and then the river gooseneck.  Words do not do it justice.  Mr. T. and I deliberated even about taking pictures as we are both fairly sure that a photo can’t do it justice either.  I stood in one spot and took picture after picture rotating all the way around.  Maybe it will translate a little.

Dinner took forever to grill because the grill plate was too far from the coals.  The steak was tasty and so were the cooked apples.  The potatoes I had taken from Mr. T’s apartment (which he couldn’t remember having bought) tasted horrible but I don’t think that had anything to do with my cooking ability and more reflected that they probably expired in 2005.  The semi-warm, semi-frozen broccoli  was interesting for its temperate and texture inconsistencies but the view more than made up for any short comings.  It was still better than another peanut butter sandwich or handful of gorp.  

Due to the being in the middle of nowhere and the clear sky boy did the universe put on a starry display for us.  Just looking out the window of the car thousands of stars were visible.  Despite the hollering wind all night, we were snug (although I did wear both sets of pajamas I had brought and my wool shirt) and felt like the luckiest people on earth to have found that spot.   

If you are ever within 300 miles of Mexican Hat (so name for a prominent rock formation), Utah, see Goose Neck State Park.  Hands down, no question, you will love it!

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Colorful Colorado

Well.  We made it across Kansas.  Almost unscathed.  I digress.  

We made it to Burlington, Colorado in time to enjoy a lovely hotpot spaghetti meal (pretty good) and watch the series finale of Battlestar Gallactica twice.  Eh.  I realize everything had to have a good and happy ending but since the series was most definitely NOT about good and happy endings I was sort of disappointed.  I was looking forward to complaining about the ending I had imagined in which the Cylons kill all the humans.  

Oh, wait.  This is supposed to be about Colorado!

So, we left Burlington and headed for a suburb of Denver called Westminster.  We arrived at my former elementary school to find it looked almost exactly the same.  There was a big spanish sign on the side of the school so maybe it is now an immersion school or something.  There were a few permanent portables to one side and the side we played four square and tether ball on looked the same–except there were no tether balls on the post.  Maybe they’ve made it into a special ed. school (as there is a brand new school just up the hill from where the “new” park went across the street from our subdivision).  Since I used to walk home from school I was pretty sure I could find my way to our old house even without an address.  Yeah, I have a great brain. Despite the 23 year hiatus I was able to navigate right to it.  Mr. T. would say that all the while I was saying, “I don’t know if this is right.  Everything looks different but this is how I remember going.”  The house looked the same.  We pretty much pulled up in front, I said, “That’s the house I used to live in,” and then we drove on.  We went through the rest of the neighborhood up to the park across the street on the hill. (There were a ton of houses there now which I don’t have any memory of (that doesn’t mean they weren’t there though all along!).)  It’s still there and still neat.  I had wanted to show Joe a prairie dog town so we drove out on Sheridan toward where I thought there used to be one.  It is now neighborhood, golf course, new shopping plaza with big box retailers.  Lots of stores and lots of houses.  

We made our way north then through Boulder and on to Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was spectacular.  There wasn’t much snow at all so driving wasn’t a problem.  We had a picnic lunch at Hidden Valley.  It was a snowplay area but we declined to play.  We drove as far up the road to Grand Lake as we could.  Lots of gorgeous views.  We spotted some moose and some white tailed deer.  We didn’t see any Rocky Mountain sheep or goats.  Too bad.  We also didn’t get to go high enough to see any Tundra.  Oh, well.  Another trip.

We came back over to I-70 on the Peak to Peak road.  We went through lots of little towns and saw lots of mountains.  We stayed overnight in Frisco which is one of the cheaper places to stay in the Aspen area.  Frisco sits in a bowl shaped valley surrounded on all side by mountains.  There is also a lake there.  Lots of people were commenting on the lack of snow but were glad that snow was due the following night.  We were glad we weren’t going to be there the following night!  

It is so hard to describe the splendor and beauty of the mountains.  They really are as majestic as they appear in well taken photos.  Just when you think you have seen the most breathtaking view you round another bend and it is even better.  Mr. T. and I discussed retiring to a little mountain hamlet.  I think he was quite taken with the whole scene.  😀  

The hotel we stayed in had a hot tub/spa which was so heavenly.  For some reason we both had lots of cricks and stiffness, go figure.  We hot potted another meal-chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and salad (we tried a new herb blend which was quite fantastic…we’ll have to see if we can get it in Nashville as it had fresh cilantro, dill, and basil in it…delicious!).  It wasn’t nearly as good as the spaghetti from the previous night but it was better than fast food and less expensive then eatting out.  Plus, to me, Colorado isn’t really known for it’s culinary masterpieces–wait–I guess there are Rocky Mountain Oysters but GROSS!

The next morning we headed for Utah via Colorado National Monument.  We arrived just before a big dust storm was expected and therefore didn’t do any hiking.  We did find a picnic shelter which was situated well enough to keep our salad from blowing everywhere.  The Colorado National Monument is unlike the Rockies entirely.  It more resembles the southwest in its landscape.  Red soil creating mesas and big hills (can’t call them mountains having just come from the Rockies!) studded with mesquite trees and shrubs.  Desert like dryness wringing the moisture from all life.  It is interesting that that is the national monument that would have been chosen for Colorado.  I would have thought something more along the lines of a mountain studded with glaciers and big horn sheep would have been more appropro.  No one asked me though.  😀  

We ate our salad (thank you Friend Wendy for the eggs!  They really made it terrific.  Eggs coupled with fantastic herb studded lettuce, left over chicken, croutons, carrots, and salad dressing made a fine, fine meal.  Don’t most things taste better on a picnic anyway? 😀 )  and then turned Molly loose to play fetch.  Even though our picnic site was called Devil’s Kitchen, I wasn’t afraid.  On this trip she has really learned to appreciate fetch time.  She patiently rides on the front passenger side floor boards or in the back seat alternately napping, looking for some affection from Mr. T. or I, or looking out the window.  When we put her window down she’ll crane her neck to get the tip of her nose out of the car audibly sniffing and usually grinning.  If you’ve met Molly you’ve seen her grin.  I know I shouldn’t animorphize but darn it, she DOES smile when she appears to be happy and frowns when she appears displeased.  

After lunch we decided that some ice cream was in order.  We found a creamery which offered crazy combinations, gigantic portions (neither of us finished ours), and good prices.  I had french vanilla ice cream with strawberries, bananas, yellow cake, and white chocolate chips.  Mr. T. had french vanilla with chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chips, caramel, and fudge.  It took awhile to get served so by the time we got back to the car the dust storm was clearly visible on the horizon.  

Have you ever had to dodge multiple objects whilst driving at 75 mph?  Yeah, the Colorado speed limit is 75.  Luckily, the highway into Utah isn’t as crowded as 440 at midnight.  I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically as I tried to guess when any particular tumble weed that was blowing across the highway was going to be close enough to hit the car then try to swerve to miss it.  The little ones are cute.  The big ones (like man sized I’m talking about!) can be scary.  There were probably 5-10 every 5 feet.  Yeah, the wind was really blowing.  Or so we thought…

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Like Buying Hot Water in Kansas

After a tasty lunch at the world famous Arthus Bryant’s barbeque joint in Kansas City, Missouri (I had ribs, Mr. T. had pulled pork.  Gosh, it was good.  We were trying to go the place with cheesy bacon corn but this was good too.)  Mr. T. and I began the laborious journey across Kansas.  Just over 400 miles of excrutiatingly flat, flat and farm dotted land with a ribbon of highway stretched out ahead…yeah…that’s Kansas.  

We stopped for gas and I went into the little gas station to get something caffeinated to drink.  There was a sign that said coffee was between 52 cents and a dollar four cents depending on the size.  I ask if there is hot water.  Trying to pinch pennies and brew my own seemed like a great idea.  Ice was a quarter.  There were bags of tea and hot chocolate mix.  I select one of the smaller cups and pour myself some plain, old hot water.  I take it the register and take out my $10 bill.  Secretly I’m hoping to score a coup and have the kid behind the register tell me no charge cause he doesn’t feel like counting out the change.  Nope.  Instead he turns to the other hayseed and asks how much.  The other kid says, “A dollar.”  I say, “What?  Coffee is 82 cents.”  Neither hayseed responds.  The kid behind the register rings it up and takes my ten.  I ask how much hot tea is.  He says, and I look at him closely for the first time–crossed eyed, plaid shirt, glasses like coke bottle bottoms, “I don’t know.  I just started workin’ here.  I was gonna charge you a quarter.”  He then proceeds to count out the $8.96 in change I have coming back to me.  I see the pricing mastermind hayseed just outside the shop.  As I take my very expensive hot water and bundle of bills and stack of coins over to him and ask how much tea is.  In a really nasty way he says they don’t have tea.  I say, “Yes, you do.  It is on the counter.” The girl with the mastermind hayseed says, “It’s 72 cents.”  I say, “If coffee is 82 cents and tea is 72 cents how in the world can hot water be a dollar!?”  Mastermind hayseed says, “That’s how much I was told to charge.  Talk to the owner,” and he walks away.  The girl with him says, “J-C it is a f*ing dollar!”  I think, “Lovely,” as I walk away.  

Joe has discovered, in the meantime, that this oasis in the sea of road and dirt has wireless internet.  The night before I had paid $2.95 to sit in a McDonald’s parking lot and surf.  Today I pay a dollar for hot water and get free internet.  For some reason I felt less ripped off the previous night…

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Bass Pro-Shop

So Mr. T. and I enjoyed our trip through the Ozarks and lunch with Friend Wendy.  She makes the best tuna salad.  It was good to visit and see the kids.  I hadn’t been there for just under 4 years.  The littlest was only weeks old the last time and now little is 4 years old.  Time flies!

The Ozarks provided lots of opportunity to think about poverty and creep up on car sickness.  The windy, twisty, hilly roads through trailer and refuse strewn hollers and villages.  As I recalled images from previous trips to the area it didn’t seem that the recent mortgage mess the East and West coasts are enduring have effected the Ozarks to the same degree.  I guess folks that depend on ingenuity for their daily needs may not be as soft as those participating in the financial “crisis”.  

We made it as far as Springfield before deciding to find a place for the night.

We looked at a KOA but the $27 price tag to sleep in the car just seemed…well…expensive compared with free.  So we journeyed back to the Bass Pro-Shop flagship store.  (It was AMAZING!  Live ducks and fish and a firing range and a Starbucks all under one roof with just about anything else one could imagine related to outdoors or spending money.)  We had read online that camping in the parking lot was not only allowed but encouraged.  We checked in with the information desk and just approval and details on where to park and where to find electric outlets.  

After tucking into a parking spot in what we determined to be the darkest area on the lot we got out Molly’s tennis ball and played fetch.  She loved it.  The parking lot was empty and the ball really showed up.  She played fetch longer then I have seen her tolerate that activity.  The ball bounced well too giving her lots of exercise.

Joe and I snuggled in to the back of the car and popped the new season of “The Wire” into Claire (Joe’s Computer) and watched.  It was good but I could barely keep my eyes open.  I am hoping I didn’t miss too much of it drifting in and out.  Joe packed up Claire and we drifted off to sleep (having made sure everything was off the roof of the car first!).  

Tap.  Tap.  Bright light.

Turn head to the side.  Confusion.

“Huh?”

“Police.”

“Huh?” Turn head more.

“Mama.  This is the police.  What are you doing?”

“Huh?”  Looking into bright light thinking, “What does it look like I’m doing.  I’m sleeping.”

“Mama.  I’m sorry.  What are you doing?”  

I open the door a crack and the over head light comes on, I see the police officer, a young, asian looking man.  “Sleeping.  Camping.  We have permission.”  

“Who gave you permission?”

“Inside the store.  The lady at the desk.”  Wracking my brain for the name of the store.  “Don’t people do this all the time here?”

“No, mama.  I just pulled in to do my paper work.  I saw the fogged up windows and the out of state plates.  A woman recently pulled into a parking lot and  blew her brains out.  I just saw the top of your head and though you were…”

“Huh?”

“Who gave you permission?”

“We were told we could camp here.  Between the store and the catalogue place.  They have electricity for camping.”  

“Who are you?”

“I’m Jenne.  This is my husband Mr. T.”

“I need to see your ids.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry, I know it is the middle of the night.”

“No, it’s okay.”  I swing my legs out of the car and the door opens further.  Luckily, in doing so I see my purse and am able to quickly get him my license and Mr. T. hands me his wallet.  I hand over the ids and the officer steps away.

I lay back down.  Mr. T. reports that it is 12:45am.  The officer brings back the ids and wishes a pleasant rest of the night.

My best guess is that nothing would have occurred had we been in an RV…

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Confluence

Around 6:30pm on Wednesday, the 18th, Mr. T. and I loaded up my car and headed out of town.  The plan was to get some hours down so that we could visit Friend Wendy earlier on Thursday.    

A great plan in theory.  

The car is loaded, not to the brim, but slightly past comfy.  There is room for Mr T., myself, and Mollydog but the bed arrangements, 2 small bags, and 2 rubbermaid plastic totes take up just about all the remaining room.  I think after 2 or 3 days of different configurations of people, dogs, and stuff we will get the situation optimized or just give up trying and resign ourselves to crowdedness.  I pretty sure that isn’t a word but I think it translates well.

So, about 10 minutes from home we have this conversation:

Mr. T.- I didn’t have much to eat today.

Me- Really?

Mr. T.- What are we having for dinner?

Me- I’m not really hungry.

Mr. T.- Can we stop for dinner soon?

Me- We just left.  We have tons of food right behind your seat.

Mr. T.- I’m hungry.  I want to stop for dinner at Cracker Barrel.

Me- I think the nearest one is in Clarksville.

Mr. T.- I’m really hungry but I think I can wait.

Me- Okay.  Cracker Barrel in 30 minutes it is.  

And thus, our first stop was (almost) a record 40 minutes after launch.  It helped Joe to revitalize and we were able to continue on to Wicklife, KY.  Mr. T. and I then had an interesting discussion regarding whether to spend the first night boondocking in a Walmart parking lot or head on out to something else.  Ultimately, our mutual lack of decision making ability lead to “something else”.

Wicklife sits on the Ohio river and a bridge spans the Ohio over to Illinois at Cairo and then a 2nd bridge spans the Mississippi River over to Missouri.  Typically that journey takes 10-15 minutes.  

For us it took a little more than 9 hours!

Upon leaving the first bridge  we see a sign for “Fort Defiance” camping facility.  The outer sign said it was $10 to camp and to pay at the toll booth beside the bridge.  So we drove to the toll house and it was NOT open.  There was a creepy man statue standing next to the tollhouse though which gave us pause.  But being a statue didn’t materialize actual creepiness.  We drove down into the park as the gate into the park was open.  After a slow drive through it was clear there was not anyone there camping.  We decided it would work fine for out needs.  

It was uneventful other than the neatness of being about 15 feet from the Ohio River tug boats and barges.  Oh and leaving the soft sided cooler out on top of the car overnight–in the rain.  

In the morning we jumped back on the 1 block of road in Illinois and crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri.  Due to the rain in the early morning we didn’t wake up as soon as we would have liked and despite leaving early for our trip we wound up arriving only about 20 minutes earlier then projected at Friend Wendy’s place.

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