As a couple "post scripts" to my previous post ~ these two fellas above thought they'd help us out with some geo caching while we were in Little Rock. We never found that cache, perhaps they did though. Seems geo caching is getting a bit frustrating for yours truly! It is suppose to be fun, but if I haven't a clue or a hint at what I'm looking for it's not so much fun!
Speaking of fun, though, how about the name of the the "joint" on the t shirt above! The Thirst N' Howl I thought it was pretty darned funny, Rick didn't get it right away, and I foolishly didn't by a t shirt (such a dope I am). Their drink special is the Gilligan, and some of their menu includes "Lovey Salsa" and "little buddy baskets". Yummy food, great beverages and a terrific owner named Sherry~what more could a person want?
After Little Rock I had hoped to go into OK to visit a cousin I hadn't seen in many years (well since I was a teenager, so yes that is MANY years), but that just didn't work out as I'd hope, what with lack of contact information so we headed north a couple hundred miles to Joplin, MO. Not sure why this was the destination other than it was someplace we had never been, it was along the old route 66 (a favorite of Rick's) and it was a decent days travel for us.
We knew nothing about Joplin, other than that there is an Elks Lodge there (we stayed at the local KOA, not at the Lodge) and that there had been a tornado through the area in 2011, that coincidentally destroyed said Elks Lodge.
When I loaded pictures a week or so ago for this blog post I didn't want to make it a post about another disaster, but I felt we couldn't visit the area and ignore what the city had been through. First here are a few photos of our Route 66 trip one day .... not as photogenic as Route 66 was in a previous blog post of Tucumcari (I think that was the one!!) but still some markers to its existence.
Most of these photos were taken in and around Galena and Baxter Springs, KS.
The photo above is of the "Bush Creek Marsh Arch Rainbow Bridge" (come on, try saying that fast three times!). There were three of these arch bridges along Route 66 in Kansas, but this is the only remaining one, built in 1923.
Our next stop was at the "Red Ball Bar and Grill" in Baxter Springs. For some reason Rick was a bit apprehensive to go in! It was a funky locals joint. It was early afternoon so the place wasn't really hopping, a few people playing pool, a table eating lunch and another table of "tourists". Beer and soft drinks only (no wine for this whiner)
Check out this grill area - isn't it great! If you look to the
left the sink is in a red tool box. Very creative atmosphere,
I really liked the place and there was NO reason to
From the Red Ball we went through "downtown" Baxter Springs with some pretty building murals ~ one of my favorite things to check out (that and farmer's markets!) as we traverse the country.
So back to reality I guess. Below are a couple photos I found on line (not sure who to credit for them) of the tornado that went through Joplin on May 23, 2011. It's path was about two by six miles, killing 167 people. Five of those were killed at the local Elks Lodge, four members and one employee. The Lodge has since rebuilt as has much of the area devastated by the tornado. As we drove around Joplin it was very clear what the path was - wherever there was ongoing construction, or obvious new buildings THAT was the area. It was amazing to both Rick and me how quickly this area has "recovered" from this disaster. The people we spoke to said over and over that the recovery was a huge part of their healing process.
The hospital in the photo below was just to the east of the Elks Lodge, by perhaps 1/2 block. There just aren't words to describe this, but once again as we've witnessed over and over in our travels ~ the people came through with love and kindness and an amazingly positive attitude. Everyone we met in the Joplin area was so warm, so welcoming and so gracious, and they all had their own tales to tell of where they were, what they were doing at 5:22 pm on May 23, 2011.
After we left Joplin we headed north. The original "plan" (not that the word "plan" is often in our vocabulary) was to spend a night or two just north of Kansas City, but Rick felt he could drive another 100 or so miles which would shorten our next travel day (the final day into Sioux Falls, where we would be for the next five or six weeks). With that bit of an extended travel day we ended up at Rock Port Rivers Edge Campground in Rock Port, MO. Another area hit by disaster in 2011. I seem to have a "knack" for finding them on this leg of our travel. This tragedy was levee breaches of the Missouri River. The photo below shows the high water on the tree next to Rick (who is 5'11") mark IN the campground. I am not sure how far the campground is from the river, but we never saw or heard the river while we were there! The campground is TRYING to recover from this, the flood happened in May/June of 2011 and they JUST are able to get a few sites opened up again, no cabins, no bath houses but a few RV sites.
Below is a photo of a "crop duster" flying over one of the VAST cornfields in the area .... huge huge huge cornfields and some soybean fields for crop rotation. It was a nice way to start a day watching this guy fly nearby confirming that people recover and life goes on.
So that's it for now. I hope this wasn't a distressing post to read.