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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fork You









Today is Jim's birthday! We set the alarm to make sure we got up early. We are driving 326 miles today to Lebanon. Missouri, that is! Jim and I have been setting up and taking down the trailer for over three years now, so it's like second hand to us. Although it's easy to forget a step. We've classified the tasks as "Blue jobs" - which are Jim's, and "Pink jobs" - which are mine. We learned that from a couple we met camping in Washington. Pink jobs consist of everything inside, except Jim moves the stuff in our back area before we close up. Blue jobs consists of SP, or shit patrol and anything else outside. Yuck. I couldn't do it. I would be puking - I know it. How did I get on this subject anyway? Oh yes, packing up. We've got it down to a science. We can pack down or set up within 30 minutes usually.

I wanted to make some stops along the way before we reached our destination. We like to go off the beaten path a little bit, and thanks to www.roadsideamerica.com, that helps us out a bit. That is one of my all time favorite websites. We just type in the name of where we are going, and if there is anything weird of any nature, it will be listed. We see how far away it is off our route and if it's worth it to venture out there. Usually it is worth it. For instance, today's detour took us to see Stubby Stonehenge in front of the Mines & Metallurgy Building on the University of Missouri campus. This half-sized Stonehenge replica was built by the high- pressure water lab as a way to showcase their stone carving skills. "In ancient times, carving these stones would have taken years," a plaque explains. "These stones were carved in a month." Rolla boasts that its Stonehenge is the only one in America (there are four others) that can be accurately used as a clock.

Next stop - the world's largest fork in Springfield, MO. It is 35 feet tall in front of a three story building where Noble & Associates reside, a local ad agency. This building is the company's "idea center" and a lot of their clients are with the food service and retail business.

The third place of interest was the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, built in 1902 for people from the north side of town to cross safely over the 13 train tracks to get to the commercial part of town. The bridge is 562 ft. long, crosses 13 sets of train tracks, and is the longest in the country!

We stopped to eat lunch at a favorite restaurant of mine called Lambert's Cafe, home of the "throwed" roll. It's got a lot of character. Once you order your main meal, the servers walk around with food and ask if you'd like to taste some. It doesn't matter if you have your meal or not. You just rip off some paper towels that are already at your table and then they'll spoon out whatever they have in their bowl. But their REAL specialty is their home-baked rolls. The server comes out of the kitchen rolling a cart of steaming fresh rolls. He'll yell out, "Fresh rolls! Fresh rolls!" That's all you have to do is put you hand up, and then he'll toss you one. He's a pretty good pitcher - Jim did all the catching. I didn't trust myself . Last time we ate there, I couldn't catch a bun if it saved me!

It was later in the afternoon when we pulled into Lebanon, MO. The campground we selected was Passport America friendly, meaning we'd get a discount since we were a member of that club. I wasn't too thrilled with the outside of the place. Jim said that it couldn't be that bad because all the sites were filled but one - ours. At this campground we were greeted by a calico cat named Mrytle. She followed us into the office. If the outside of the campground look a little iffy, the inside surprised me. It was decorated like Americana - everything was red, white and blue - even the ceiling fan! We were only staying for one night so whatever thoughts I had about the campground, they could be pushed aside. An elderly gentleman guided us to our site - and when I mean guided - I mean LITERALLY. He walked in front of the truck! (Usually we are escorted with a golf cart.) Jim had to keep riding the break so he didn't plow the old man down! He led us to the far corner of the campground. "All the sites were taken." Yeah, all three of them! And on our site, the old guy couldn't find the water spigot. He wanted us to use one over 200 feet away. Like we'd carry a hose that long. So we had to get our money back and find another campground to stay at. It wasn't like I was crying over this latest development ;) Luckily there was another campground right in town that had an available site so we drove over there and spent the night.

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