Thursday, March 27, 2008
I made good time and crossed Missouri, dragging in to Springfield late in the evening. Needed to get some gas to be on the safe side (not to mention it was cheaper than in northern Arkansas) and it took a little while, but I found an acceptable pump at a convenience store. Unnerved a bit since it wasn't taking my card--thought, oh no, now what?--but it hit me that though there were no signs posted to the contrary, the pump simply didn't take that card so I gave it another one and it was content. Then I aimed my buggy south.
While I knew it wasn't the best idea to drive through the Ozarks in the dark in the wee hours when I was bushed, I wanted to make the Harrison reststop my camp. After numerous curves and some useless scenic view spots, I did make it there and tossed back the front seat and napped. Here it was hot and muggy, though, so konking out took a little doing, all the same.But I got some rest, at least until the misty crack of dawn, when some fellow in a pickup pulled up to the payphone and had a heart-to-heart with his honey. Not that that is odd or funny, but since few others but some squirrels and early birds were about, he came off as rather loud, and went on for a couple of hours. Definitely getting his money's worth, LOL. When he finally completed his catch-up call, I got out and went to the welcome center restrooms to get readyish for the day, since I didn't seem to be getting any more sleep anyway. On this trip I found a wallet, and pondered on what exactly to do about it, given where and when I was. No one would be at the welcome center for hours, there was nowhere to really leave it...I looked inside for info and apparently it was a young man's. But he didn't live in the area, and there wasn't anything exciting in it but a few discount cards and a little change, though there were a couple of IDs he might need. So I figured I'd just take it in to the Harrison police. Not part of my travel plans, but, hey...
So I set off to find Andy and Barney, but passed a sign for the State Police along the way and decided this was more in their purview, since I was still outside of Harrison. I went down that road and stopped in. I didn't see anyone at home, but heard a voice behind me--one lone lady cop on duty Sunday morning. I told her I found the wallet at the reststop and she said to leave it on the counter. I did. Then I left. That was less involved than I'd thought. Being a walker I've found wallets before, and returning them ranges anywhere from a yeah-okay-thanks-we'll-take-care-of-it to a theft report/prove you aren't the one who took it. Never know who will handle things what way...
Swung into town and took a stroll around Wal-Mart, then ran around Harrison a few times. Probably ran around Hudson's (grocery) and a few other places too. Used to live here, still have some relatives in the area. Being Sunday morning, little was open or available except some eateries and churches. I debated about contacting my relatives...while it seemed the hospitable thing to do on the surface, I finally decided that unless they tripped over me, it would be too disturbing to call and say I was in town and under their noses right when they were getting prepped for church (or there already), since I couldn't stay very long. I had to be at work on Tuesday and still needed to stop in Waco at a decent hour, so I had to keep on truckin'. I gave the universe fair chance and went to McDonald's for breakfast, though. Something I rarely ever do, but I thought I'd live it up and got a breakfast platter and a cappucino. Read my paper and saw the weather on TV there, too, but it was an adventure all the same. To be fair it was pretty busy, with all the retiree tourists and pre-church folk and farmers...but the kid got my order wrong, 3 or 4 times, and I kept popping back up to the counter like a yo-yo, trying not to embarrass the kid or seem like I was a difficult customer...but I kinda wanted at least what I'd paid for. First part of the breakfast was missing, then she forgot the cappucino, then there were no condiments (and self-serve stuff was empty) and again I found I needed some sort of utensil to eat with, none being around...Finally I figured it was close enough and ate what I had best I could, lol. Rolled past a few more old haunts, noting all the changes in town (plenty!) and headed back down Scenic Route 7 South.
Since I came up that way I hadn't planned on going back down the same path, but as I'd found out earlier in the year someone I'd planned to visit in Central Arkansas didn't want to see the likes of me, apparently, I thought I'd stay on a different road; plus I finally had an opportunity to hit the rock shops during daylight hours. Hopefully they'd be open on Sunday....There are some nifty rock shops on Hi 7, and carved stone figurines are a weakness of mine (as you can tell by the name of this blog). I often feel stupid spending good money on rocks, but everyone has their odd little passion. Anyway it's hard to find good additions to my collection these days, since I have most of the basic items and few places left to display anything. But I love to look.
I don't remember if I saw elk this trip or not. Sometimes you can catch site of a few deer or elk if you are around early enough. Again I stopped at Scenic Point, and took an array of photos of dawn over the Buffalo River Canyon area. Later I put them all together to make one big panoramic view. One of these days I should go down to the actual river!Northeast to
Monday, March 17, 2008
It was an impressive place, complete with gift shop and upscale eatery, with a few special exhibits requiring admissions in addition to the bulk of the museum's historical offerings. The bad thing about the place was the parking...there was only a little of it near the building, and that was complicated with one-way channeling and scary roundabouts. If you went to the back before finding a slot, you'd end out on the main street outside of the park, where due to road construction or something, it was traffic hell. Consequently it also took some time and effort to turn around and get back into the park to try again. After going on that merry-go-round a few times, I just parked on a side road. It was a good walk from the museums and my feet were already making me wince, but at least it was a spot easy to get to and see.
There was also a monument or so to Thomas Jefferson... TJ's democracy and freedom themes are honored in many St. Louis monuments (Jefferson Memorial Gateway Arch, for example).
Dramatic view of the Missouri Saint. Well, the statue. Not the actual fellow.
Missouri Museum of Art. The special exhibit was on Napoleon. As it was I barely had time to run through the museum, much less tour the special exhibit, though. There were several floors, too. I even recognized a number of pieces as well as the artists. They had a maybe-Rembrandt or two, the dancer statue by Degas, one of Monet's big waterlily works, and several other well-known items. And many not-so-well-known but still fascinating pieces in their collections, including furniture, weaponry, and a variety of other types of artistic creations.
But they had to close up before I could finish, so I ran through some areas to "skim" through and finally left the premises, taking a few parting shots before leaving the park. I still had to find gas, which took some time since I didn't see any stations on the immediate route I was taking, and wound up finding it well off on Watson Road of all places (which I also found later to be the address of a company used by the library I work in). Small world, eh? At any rate by early evening I bid St. Louis adieu.
So I wandered back out and started walking to see what was in the vicinity. That seemed to be a pond with a gazebo. The weather was spitty so I wasn't sure how far to go--at first I just kept near the little lake and tested taking pictures in the grey light.
Sunday, March 16, 2008