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July 28, 2015

Missouri, Illinois, Indiana to Ohio

To be fair we have spent time in both Illinois and Indiana before and pretty much will be passing through.  But this section of Missouri is new and we arrived hungry!  Where to eat, why not the BBQ sauce that started the Kansas City BBQ revolution, where it is still served at Arthur Bryant’s.
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And it all started at 18th and Vine.  Not just the music as the area is well noted for its Jazz roots, but for baseball.  And being a baseball fan we’re here for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  Along with Cooperstown this is a must stop for any baseball fan.  However, photos are not allowed inside the exhibits Sad smile.
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It’s hot it’s humid, the thunder rolls for seconds after each crack of the lightening.  Travel is not friendly, so Campus RV Park came up at a perfect time.  Still hot and humid in the morning but the rain had lessened.  And by the time we arrived at the Missouri Botanical Garden no rain!, just very hot and humid.  The theme this year is the ‘Year of the Lantern’, the exhibits must be spectacular at night as they will all be illuminated.
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The traditional floral exhibits are also completely available.  And well worth the visit during the day.  From the pin cushion gardens, to the expanse of European forest, a maze, or a common home garden – all are spectacular.
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And this time we decided to take a closer look at ‘The Arch‘.  However, there was a game – Cards vs. Braves.  Traffic was a standstill 2 hours before game time … in a light rain.  We had planned to use the RV parking at the Arch and walk the area.  And after finally making it to the park, there was not only no parking there was no park!
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Being more interested in the history of the Gateway to the West than the Arch itself we take the opportunity to move on across the Stan Musial bridge …
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… to eventually have a fun stop in Casey IL.   The town is noted for its ‘Worlds Biggest …’.  Here’s a few examples of the Worlds Biggest:
Wind chime:
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Golf Tee:
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It also claims the biggest Crochet Hook, Knitting Needles, Mailbox, Pitch Fork and maybe others.  It will soon have the Biggest Rocking Chair and the Golf Tee is getting an 18’ Golf Ball that will be the Tee Off spot.
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At least one resident is having fun with the town’s ‘Biggest’ theme by placing his mailbox on perhaps the worlds smallest telephone pole
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We spent the night at Versailles State Park Indiana.  A nice park with large spaces, but pretty open sites.  All sites have electrical hookups, paved ramps, water is located throughout the park and was not a problem for us.  Although the sites are paved they vary as to being level.
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But their trail system is by far the worst We’ve encountered.  Not just poorly maintained, that can happen.  But the signs give no indication of distance, intersections within the trails are not marked or mismarked, destinations are only shown at some of the trailheads.  But they are pretty!
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Last stop before settling in Dayton OH for a few weeks was Morrow Ohio.  The town is the subject of a song called "To Morrow", about a man who wishes to take a train "to Morrow" and return "tomorrow" night.  The song was popularly recorded by The Kingston Trio.  We had better luck by getting on the road ‘To Morrow’ early this morning and arrived today.
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The train station is now a shop and the tracks are part of the ‘rails-to-trails’ program that is crating a national network of bike paths from the abandoned rail lines.
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A fun stop in Marrow is the Valley Vineyards, which also offers a nice selection from their micro-brewery.
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We’ll be in Dayton OH for a few weeks to attend a wedding, allowing some need repairs to Rufus are performed.

July 24, 2015

Kansas! and some better weather …

The Geographic Center of the Continental USA is in Lebanon KS, just 12 miles below the Nebraska border, and our first stop.
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A well maintained park makes for a nice picnic stop.
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The World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker KS is not far away.
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And yes at least some of Kansas is flat.  But it also has large areas of rolling hills with trees.
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Spent the first night in Kansas at Glen Elder State Park an expanse of camping, boating and day use on the north shore of Waconda Lake.  The Hopewell Church is also a storm shelter and the large expanse of grass is a great place to whack some golf practice balls.
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Tried taking the ‘shortest route’ to Hutchinson, KS rather than the the highway routes – and  “The Bridge is Out!”  Who knew?  A 3-point turn and short back track was required…
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Cosmosphere in Hutchinson was the destination for the day.  Cosmosphere has the most expansive collection of US and Russian memorabilia in the world, including the command module Odyssey from Apollo 13.  Their website says that an hour is enough for the museum section - HA! Four was not enough!
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Took a spot at the KOA in Salina KS across from the Yesteryear Museum for the night.
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There were several ‘hot rods’ in the campground as the upcoming weekend is the “Lead Sled” rally.   Did not take the time to go to any of the rally events
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After passing a few Wizard of OZ Museums we finally gave in to check out the OZ Museum in Wamego, KS.  This was a fun (if hokey) stop, and right next to the OZ Winery, fun labels but the wine was not to my dry-red taste.
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Lots of memorabilia, replicas and a theater continually playing the movie.  A nice break. 

Tomorrow Missouri ….