WH Chronicle No. 7.3.13

July 3, 2013

We finished up our employment at Quartz Mountain, unplugged and packed our vacation home on wheels and headed north on the highway.  We made it about 3 exits and realized that poor Mr. Limpet didn’t gracefully handle being passed by big rigs.  It caused him to fish tail and pine for the shoulder.  So back roads it was for us Clampetts.  We blindly drove down exactly where the GPS told us; down Route 66; and through Kansas and Missouri.  We were listening carefully for banjos.  All systems still appear fully functional, though we almost lost our camper awning.  Perhaps we were supposed to have rolled it up before entering the freeway. 

The kids loved Quartz Mountain.  Their average day consisted of breakfast, hiking, swimming, lunch, cartoons, card playing, swimming, dinner, watch a performance, play Frisbee with the teens, lather, rinse, repeat.   Sam announced that he wanted to live there year round.  Of course, the slumber parties with Lizzie add to the allure. 

Lizzie and kids.

Two solid days of driving…the whole way the kids fought, slept, and sang terminally jovial songs like John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or 100 Bottles of Beer.  Sam was assigned “Speed Governor” where he commenced with an annoying alert sound (a true talent) if Tom was speeding.  Note:  speeding is only possible in a school zone.  Another favorite pastime was for them to try to elicit a response from me by slapping their own legs and screaming “Ow…Stop it!”   I’ve come to realize that one must endure if not willing to drug your children or arm them with mind-numbing, electronic distractions.  

We are in the midst of an informal survey to track the degradation of Mexican food as we travel north.    We have sadly found that the quality (and authenticity) are inversely proportional to the latitude and the price.   As TexMex as our control, we have experimented with OKMex, KanMex, and MoMex and IllMex.  InMex and OhMex is on the list. 

Tour of RV parks:
Cubby Bear RV Park and Precious Moments Chapel
It was a creepy ghost town.  We arrived late and plugged in.  In the daylight it was even more Twilight Zone.   We called the number on the entrance center and were instructed to put $10 in the drop box upon departure.  We did it—of course—we’ve all seen the movies where they didn’t comply with the unseen…

Cahokia RV Parque off Monsanto Drive in East St Louis.  Seriously.  Equally poetic was the number of chemical factories in which this RV park was nestled.  The murky skyline was contaminated by dozens of smoke stacks.  We awoke this morning to a strange and unidentifiable smell.  The smell was too potent to even blame Sam.   No doubt that every bit of it is completely legal with the potential emission of clean air being a punishable offense.  But strangely enough, this park was not empty—it was full of high-end motorhomes, including a slick, 4 slide,  million dollar Prevost Bus.   The bus owners seemed unusually helpful when Tom was backing our trailer in the slot next to their investment.  
We also met one of the Tuskegee Airmen at this park.  He was on his way to the St. Louis 4th of July Parade to ride in the VIP car.  I gave him a hug. 

Guess where we are...

On the other side of the river--St Louis City Museum is one of the most creative places I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.  Robert Cassilly Jr.  had the concept of  renovating an old shoe factory and turning it into a child’s dream scape.  He succeeded in a remarkable way.   It is all built with reclamation from demolished St Louis buildings.   It consists of tiny tunnels, nooks, crannies, crevices, and a 10 story shoe slide left from the original factory.  On top of the 10 story building there is an old bus, plane and other fun exploratory items in which children  can climb and explore without ever retracing their tracks.  But with all of the tiny twisting passages reaching throughout, it could also be designated as a “claustrophobia therapy center”.   Some of the small downward tunnels would make a MRI chamber feel like a king size bed. 

Today the kids road the tram up into the St Louis Arch.  600+ feet up to look out the little windows at the top.  Tom explained to the kids that it was originally the world's tallest building that fell over in the mud.  I don't think they bought it. 

Coming up—
We will be arriving in Cleveland on July 7th.  We’ll park the camper in the hospital parking lot right next to Trapper John MD.  July 8th and 9th contain more testing.  If all goes well, the valve job will be on July 10th.   An interesting fact:  for the same price of our deductible, there is a service that will fly a family of four to India to have the exact same surgery with the same robot.   All accommodations and meals included.  This is the real medical tourism industry that Americans (with and without health insurance) are popularizing around the world.   Of course we considered it, but felt a little uneasy about potential unknowns; especially those highlighted in Slumdog Millionaire.

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.  Charles Kuralt

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. 
~Franklin P. Jones

A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Failing to ever properly fold a map,

The joys of hiking.

Tree kids

City Museum Tunnels

City Museum

Couldn't help ourselves...

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