As I mentioned yesterday, we left Springfield and decided to chop the trip back to Chicagoland into pieces so we wouldn't be in the car for eons and Jan's legs wouldn't swell up like tree trunks like they did on the way down. She actually has very nice legs (normally), but they didn't look too good after the down trip.
If I know my audience, and I think I do, I'm sure you're all saying "Hey Rob, why don't you show us a picture of where you lived from 1963 until 1974?" Glad to oblige:
Future National Landmark
(Providing the Sale to Barry Obama Goes Through)
Jan decided we should stop at Merrimec Springs State Park in St. James, MO on the way to St. Louis because she always wants to stop there due to the fact that she attended church camp at that very location when she was 13 years old and there must be some kind of nostalgia thing going on there, except that I don't know who'd be nostalgic about being 13 years old.
Because the word "Springs" is in the park title, you would assume that they had one, and ... surprisingly, there was:
There's Like a Zillion Fish in There, But You Can't See Them
And by fish, I mean trout, because the Park is also a trout hatchery, and it's always better to put a fish thingy on a river than in the Mojave Desert. At various points around the hatchery, they have vending machines that look like the ones you used to put 5 cents in and get a gumball if your cheap-ass mother would give you a nickel, which she usually wouldn't. And these machines worked just as well as the ones you saw when you were a kid, in that all the gumballs fell on the floor because of the awkward placement of the delivery door, only in this case it was a handful of smelly fish food that fell on the ground. The trout, being no dummies, hung around in schools by the vending machines for a free meal instead of eating yucky flies that happened to land in the water. I'm sure if I'd had enough time, I could have taught them to roll over, play dead and stand on their back fin and beg in exchange for a smelly fish food pellet.
Jan, in a Futile Trout Training Session
In addition to the Spring and the trout, there used be a community of artisans who lived at Merrimec Springs in the middle 1800's who's main source of existence appears to have been making shit out of iron. So, there were remnants of forges and big anvils and other iron making crap that looked like this:
This is Either a Forge, or a Giant Bar-B-Que
I'm at a Loss
Jan Inspects an 1830's Popcorn Machine
It would appear that around 1900, demand for iron hooks fell off drastically, so the residents left en masse for St. James, where they started growing inedible purple grapes to make sickeningly sweet wine and erected hundreds of road signs to sucker in the tourists to purchase said swill.
We would have liked to stay at the park a while longer, but unfortunately, the temperature was hovering around 500 degrees with 200 percent humidity and Jan was getting red as a beet, so we left. We tried to eat lunch, but the Park employees kept giving us the "fish eye" (haha, get it?), especially when I tried to drink a couple of beers out of the trunk of the car. I guess they wouldn't have minded it if I had been gulping down a bottle of St. James wine. Plus I think they got mad at me when I threw a salami and cheese sandwich into one of the trout ponds. I just thought the fish would like a change of pace from the fish pellets.
Put Some Mustard on Mine Next Time, Will ya Pal?
From St. James, we traveled to beautiful St. Louis where we stayed at another over-the-hill Comfort Inn, where the best thing in the room was a chair that looked like it had been taken from Peewees Play House. There was a restaurant attached to the motel that I was excited to eat at because I wanted to meet Wolfgang Puck, but then Jan explained to me that the name of the restaurant was Spazio, not Spago ... and that Spago was in Los Angeles anyway. So we ended up eating at some Mexican place, where Jan pouted until I gave her half of my dinner because she had ordered the wrong thing.
The next morning, we left bright and early for Chicagoland and I only got irritated with Jan once because she kept chewing on handfuls of dry roasted peanuts with her mouth open, flooding the interior cabin and ventilation system of the car with masticated peanut breath.
So, our trip ended and I was satisfied because I didn't crash the car or run over anybody. A less-than-desirable time was had by all, but a trip is a trip and at least we got away from the house for a while.
Next: No more trip posts!