Lots has happened since I last wrote a few days ago. When we left my older brothers' house in Lincoln, Illinois we headed toward the state capitol in Springfield in search the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum at Dans' suggestion. He had said it would be well worth the stop and it was. Thanks Danny for the suggestion and the great hospitality. We loved the museum, likely some of the most professional and informative displays you could ever ask for. Very nicely done. Abe and the whole Lincoln family were there in the lobby to greet us, and the museum told us the story of his life up to his final days. What a great man he was, and our country was embroiled is turmoil.
The museum had it all laid out before us to absorb. Amazing! The gift shop came and went and we carried a few bags back to the car. Once back in the van we drove slowly through Springfield past the State Capitol building and through quiet neighborhoods returning to the highway and heading west towards Hannibal. Hannibal, Missouri is the boyhood hometown of Mark Twain, another great midwesterner and a favorite in our household.
The scenery was still the incredible flatlands of Illinois up to a few miles from the Mississippi River where a few hills began to show up. Crossing the big muddy river we saw a lot of commercial traffic working it's way up and down, moving grain and goods unknown. Hannibal was just on the other side of the bridge and within a few minutes we had checked in at the Mark Twain Caves Campground which only had a few other campers that day. We were in time to catch the 4:00 tour of the cave. Jody was out tour guide and told us of the many landmarks inside the cave, where Norman Rockwell painted, and where Jesse James hid out, and where Tom and Becky ran face to face into Injun Joe...another surprising highlight to the day. We drove off to Lovers Leap which was hard to view as when we arrived the sky opened up and we were in another frog choking rain. We went to Walmart instead... Back at camp we had supper, folded out beds and settled in for the night.
From there we wandered down into town and walked in the footsteps of Mark Twain visiting this village that is so steeped in history, both fact and fiction.
Up early the next morning and had a good breakfast of pancakes, coffee and bananas, tidied up our little home on wheels and drove back to Lovers Leap, this time it was a whole different experience. The day was clearing nicely and the view from this high bluff was astounding. Looking our across the wide Mississippi to Illinois was a vista to behold - the big muddy Mississippi seemed to be making a living gash down through our country, filled with swirling water and debris and still busy with commercial traffic of tow boats pushing there barges up and down the river. The bluff itself was fenced off for our safety, it is a vertical drop of several hundred feet. Of course Ben had to jump right over the fence and walk to the very edge for a selfie, don't kids today read the news, death by selfie is a very undignified way to go. Of course I made him go back to the edge so I could get some good shots too.
From there we wandered down into town and walked in the footsteps of Mark Twain visiting this village that is so steeped in history, both fact and fiction. With the appropriate amount of souvenirs purchased we once again headed west this time to Weston Bent State Park south of Saint Joseph Missouri along the Missouri River.
A spot where Lewis and Clark camped so many years ago. When we got checked in by the camp hour Art, we were told stories of recent tornados and where the tornado shelter was, just in case. We had a fine evening with supper around the campfire after a rousing game of Wizard (our favorite card game- which Carol not only won but really kicked our butts). IT was a hot evening, and we were plugged into shore power, so we ran the air conditioner and it was comfortable inside. We were all asleep, soundly by 10 PM.
At precisely 5 AM I woke up unable to breather easily, my CPAP had quit working, and the refrigerator lights were blinking..our power went out. It was too dark out to go check things out so I switched the fridge over to gas and lay down without my CPAP, but not before checking the weather on my phone as I could hear faint rumbles off to the west. What I saw on the phone disturbed me a bit, we were in a severe storm watch area. I tried to doze off again but the rumbles got closer and in a little while Carol and I headed off into the morning gloom to gather up chairs and tables and such that we had used the night before. I checked the electrical post that we had been connected to and it was dead so I am thinking that nothing is wrong with the Doodle, the campground just lost power. No real way to know until we plug in again but I had checked all the circuit breakers and fuses and everything was OK, so we will see. The storm moved in and seemed to be very serious about being a storm.It rained very hard, like we had not seen before, heavy and angry rain, and lightening, wind and thunder. It lasted about an hour, Ben slept through it waking the very end and said 'hey it raining'. Youth! We made a quick breakfast and made some plans, re checked everything, got the chocks out from the wheels, put the slide in and set out for Kaw Point, an historic point on the Missouri and Kaw rivers in Kansas City. A spot where Lewis and Clark made camp for a few days in 1804.
The next stop was planned but unplanned. As we entered the campground an engine light came on, on the dash. Not knowing is an awful thing. You all may or may not know that I am a worrier, but I am, mostly a carefree guy, but one who worries and sweats all the details... "Check Engine' Now that is rather vague, so I called the Mercedes place in Kansas City, only to find out later that there are only two Mercedes places in the midwest that work on Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans. The other one is down in Arkansas. Fortunate that we were so close. So as I write this, I am in the customer lounge at Mercedes-Benzes of Kansas City. This is really a nice place and very nice staff, but it is Mercedes Benz so we won't get off cheap, need to replace the NOx sensors and the DPF bracket. But they tell me they have everything in stock and will have it fixed in a little while. We arrived at noon, it is approaching four pm now, so we won't be getting too far west today.