I told Mark " I want to go here."
He said, "So go."
And that's how I ended up in Kansas.
My trip by the numbers:
2999 miles driven.
57 miles hiked.
2 historic forts viewed.
5 states parks visited.
6 nights car camping.
6 nights in a hotel.
630 feet in the air at the St. Louis Arch.
367 feet underground in the Meremac Caverns.
Not to mention I was wowed over a zoo, museums, murals, memorials and a super fancy public bathroom (and then some).
Oh, and one really old, dead guy.
The night before I left, I got the car all stocked with snacks, drinks, my clothes and all my backpacking gear. I have wanted to solo travel for so long and it was finally time. When the tree fell on my car back in February, one of the reasons we replaced it with an SUV was for just this reason. I immediately got started outfitting her for my travels. I bought an air mattress that fits in the back seat, or the cargo space. I got window covers to keep anyone from being able to see in the car, I got a USB powered rechargeable fan, and several other doohickeys and gizmos. I was all set to take the trip in April but then I got injured in mid-March and was not cleared to hike. So, I waited, and I bided my time until I could find two weeks where I had nothing else going on and I was set to roll.
When I left on 6/21/23, I was vibrating with excitement. I solo hike all the time, but absolutely nothing on this scale. I had no idea what was awaiting me, how I would feel, or what I would ultimately learn about myself.
I'm going to break this blog up into just a few days at a time or there will be simply too many photos to go through!
6.21.23 Day one was just traveling to my first stop, just outside St. Louis. Traffic was mostly fine, with the exception of just before Indianapolis. Got stopped in traffic for about 50 minutes due to the moving of the jersey walls. I arrived at my first stop for the evening which was a Pilot Travel Center in Troy, IL. I got there and immediately started questioning my life's choices. I suddenly was very nervous about staying in my car. I didn't know in which spot to park, and I literally moved my car three times until Mark finally told me to simmer down and that no matter where I parked, I would be fine. I then sat in the car for about an hour just messing around on my phone before I went inside, bought some ice for my cooler and then decided to settle in for the evening. I put up my window covers, set up my fan, and hunkered down to watch some TV. I started watching Joe Pickett. (If you have not watched this show, you are missing out). I left the car running for a couple hours because it was hot. I shut it down around 10 and slept very soundly with my just my fan blowing, until the morning.
This was the only photo I remembered
to take of my set up, and this was the first
effort. It ended up looking slightly different
in the end. It helps that I am only 5'0".
The pods each hold five people and are small! The doorway was only four foot high, so even I had to duck to get in. The trip to the top takes four minutes and the trip down takes three minutes. There were lots of whirs, clunks and thumps coming from the outside of the pod while we rose to the top. It was not the most comforting thing I ever experienced but I didn't care, I just wanted to see the view. We finally made it to the top, 630 feet over St. Louis. It was fabulous. I could have stayed up there for an hour, but they only allow you about 10 minutes. It was a mad dash to take 80 gazillion pics to make sure I had what I wanted.
|Bridge carrying I-70.|
|Is this barge half full, or half empty?|
|Art is so weird.|