Saturday, July 25, 2009


Don and I pulled out of Jasper on July 25, 2009, for our annual trek. We were trying to get going by 7:00 but someone (who shall go nameless...okay, ME) was not packed by then, but a half-hour later we were on the road.

Our first stop was at Skeeter Mountain Rest Area. That is a huge drive from our city, at least one hour, but when a girl has to go a girl has to go. It also gave us a chance to grab a snack out of the well-stocked snack bag I had put in the car and get a drink. Coulda had a V-8, and we did.

Once out of the hills of Southern Indiana, we were a little speechless at how flat all of Illinois and the first part of eastern Missouri were. Speechless and very bored.

Next stop was in a huge place called Mouscoutah (Sp?) Illinois. The photo of the gas pump and absolutely nothing else, is the highlight of that town. We stopped to fill the car up before making our trip to a much anticipated place: Cuba. Yes, we went to CUBA! Cuba, Missouri, that is.

Don and I are both AAA members (not to be confused with AA, although when this trip is over, that might be next), and we receive a magazine once a month called Midwest Traveler. We learned about Cuba from an article in that magazine as well as the name of a cafe that the author had nothing but praise for called Back In The Day Cafe and Bakery. It really was worth the time we spent lost in the metropolis (2200 people) of Cuba, Missouri. The food was excellent and the service awesome. For $9.00 each we had roast beef, green beans, the best dressing I have ever eaten, including my mother's, mashed potatoes with gravy, a roll, sweet tea and a warm slice of homemade peach cobbler with ice cream on top. Burp! Being deprived while on a diet made this food seem extra-delicious.

We then got our kicks on Route 66 and took it from Cuba to Fanning, Missouri, where we planned to go to see The World's Largest Rocking Chair. Okay, impressed. No, really, I was impressed. It was kind of unbelievable. They had, of course, a gift shop. I bought a magnet and went to an impromptu wine tasting. There are several wineries on Route 66 here in Missouri, and after tasting, hiccup, several, I chose two and now am in search of a corkscrew.

There were no plans to stay on Route 66 to Rolla, but we did, and finding that we were not able to check into our room that early, we asked at the front desk for directions to another attraction we could not miss, called Stubby Stonehenge, a one-half scale Stonehenge, and supposedly the only replica in the United States that actually works as a clock and calendar, just like the one in England. While not as impressive as the one across the pond, it probably is as close as I will get and again, I was duly impressed by its construction. That is located at the University of Missouri Rolla and was constructed by the mining and engineering students. The stone was all cut by water lasers in one month. I could not resist a photo of the building we walked by on campus called McNutt Hall. Really?

So here we are in our hotel. Don is "watching a movie" but he is doing that with his eyes closed, on the bed, and his head is definitely taking on sleeping posture, and I am preparing to walk around this gorgeous lake that our room faces, to try to make room for food that surely is going to be in the forecast as soon as Don is done "watching this movie." I have found the pool and hot tub and am going to head down there soon, too.

So far, so good. We will be arriving in Branson tomorrow.

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