In 2007 when I bought Anna the dream was to take an epic cross country trip with my family. My oldest was 10 at the time and still enjoyed going out with the trailer. Halle was just walking and not even two at the time. Life kind of got in the way and it was not until now that I was able to make my dream a reality. Ava is now an adult. She has graduated from high school and really has no interest in going camping. Halle on the other hand loves to camp. She also loved the idea of a cross country trip. Last month we headed out together. Beth would fly in a week later and meet us in Denver.
Halle and I have a fondness for The Ridge Truck Stop in far Western Garrett County. We made it our first stop. Honestly, we always stop here heading West. We often stop heading East too. The food is really good here.
I thought the Ridge might be my last opportunity to have some scrapple for a few weeks. I also did not intend to stop again except for a bathroom break.
In Ohio we encountered this massive load at a rest area. That rig has 88 tires. I am 53 feet long bumper to bumper. It has a pull tractor and a push tractor. Some kind of insulted nitrogen storage tank.
Our first night out we did some culdesac camping in Fishers, Indiana. My Sister in Law lives there and Halle always loves seeing her cousins. Fortunately, Anna looks so beautiful that no one reported us to the HOA. People do not even park their cars outside here let alone park a 54 year old travel trailer in the court. We were gone the next morning by 7.
We headed to St Louis next. I had driven by that Arch a number of times and I really wanted to finally cross this off my list of curiosities. The Old Courthouse is where you begin the tour. It is a really interesting building. There is a bit of crudeness to the architecture in this building. It has all the details of a grand structure, but it also feels as if, when built, it was built on the very edge of the frontier.
The Gateway Arch is probably one of the most recognized sculptures in America. Even though most just call it 'the Arch', it is actually a memorial. It was to this spot that tens of thousands of argonauts arrived from the East to venture out West on one of three migrant trails that started here.
The Arch is super impressive. Looking up one can only wonder how it even stands. It is however deceptively strong. It also was built to withstand incredible force.
If you do not like tight spaces, you might want to just drive right by. The elevator is going to challenge those who do not like tight spaces. The elevator car rotates as it rises up in the Arch so you are always level.
From that direction the argonauts did come. Most were leaving fairly shitty lives. They hoped to start fresh.
They all headed this way towards manifest destiny. They had no idea the hardships they were in for.
This is what it looks like inside the Arch at the top.
If you look real close you can see Anna parked at the Queen Casino across the Mississippi in Illinois. There are a lot of casinos in America. They all have massive parking lots like you see in the photo. The parking lots are all just sprinkled with a few cars. I don't think they get the patronage they hope for. This one does make a convenient spot to park my truck and trailer.
After seeing the Arch, Halle and I tried to see how quickly we could drive through Missouri. Just a word of warning for you folks planning a road trip; I70 in Missouri is a very rough road. Most of it is a very course macadam. The constant pounding of trucks creates deep wallows that my truck and trailer do not track well in. It also has very deep rumble strips on both the outer line and the center line. Towing a trailer is on this road is a challenge. I pushed the truck to 80 mph through the entire state hoping to put it behind us. We bolted right on into Eastern Kansas and camped on the edge of the Flint Hills. The place we stayed at was called Hillsdale State Park. We had site 27 and Anna was the first to camp in this site ever. You might note the dramatic clouds. We drove right around that storm. Two tornados were produced by that storm. It did make for a dramatic sunset shot.
We sure are in Kansas Toto.
The Flint Hills. If you want to see what the prairies looked like before the white man messed it all up, you will want to see the Flint Hills. This land is still fairly intact. It is raw and it is incredibly beautiful. This was one of many places that had me tearing up over the incredible beauty of the American landscape.
Halle and I headed to Marion Kansas next. Marion is where Mark Evans, The Airstream Guy is located.
Mark and I have been friends for a number of years now. He was gracious enough to take a couple hours from his day to show me his operation and even give me a tour of Marion. We had some awesome bbq to boot. Behind me is a late 40's Silver Streak they are currently building a new frame for. It is a two door model and a serious looker.
I think it was 105 the day we visited.
I could have wandered around his place for days.
The organization of things impressed me.
This is a really interesting Argosy. A back window and a front is all it has. It has two doors and was custom built to be be a mobile hearing test rig. There are two sound proof rooms inside.
Waiting on love.
soaking up the sun.
Wishing they had been loved more.
My favorite trailer on the lot.
I think this might be enough for this first segment. Check back in soon.