Summer Road Trip #2 During Covid

A bit of background – It’s hot. Our Heat index was 112 this week. Rain isn’t happening. The pool is too warm to enjoy. You can’t work outside for very long without drenching your clothes. So we wanted to get away. Our last short trip during the Coronavirus was encouraging. We wore our masks and many people we encountered also wore masks. We felt safe. We were social distancing while sightseeing so we agreed upon a longer trip. Reservations seem easy to get, even in secluded cabins.

We have driven many trips west but never to Yellowstone. I’ve always wanted to go but never could plan ahead enough to get a room and stay in the park. The weather sounded unreal with temperatures around 70s. They had vacancies even with the big lodges closed. They were safely using cabins so I made reservations. We figured we could get there in 3 days so we headed west.

Day 1 – We live in the southeast corner of Missouri so we drove west then north through the western side of Missouri. Truman Lake was interesting. I remember a story about an eaglet getting blown out of its nest on this lake then getting rescued and transferred to our area in a hacking program. That’s another story I want to write someday.  You can see the lake is a great home for eagles.


We drove the Kansas Expressway straight toward Nebraska. On our way we saw a few quaint sights. The first was just out of St. Joe, MO. It pays homage to the pony express riders.

The other three pictures are of the Doniphan county courthouse. They tell an interesting story of sculpture by Peter Wolf Toth. In 1979 a group of third grade students named his sculpture, “Tall Oak”. He has made about 74 of these carved statues. Some are up to 40 feet tall. This one is 27 feet tall.  He has at least one in every state. He never charges for the work but has a few stipulations. The material must be a donated log, someone from the community he places the sculpture must provide housing and food. You can look where his sculptures are placed. Who knew? What a trip that could make trying to see them all.


Day 3 Good Guys in Des Moines, Iowa

We started walking the 275 acre fairgrounds before 8 am. It was cool and few people were out. You can see examples of social distancing and cool cars in the pictures.

After walking about 7 miles we were ready to explore the city.  We headed toward downtown. Something shiny caught our eye. The reflection of the sunlight was brilliant. Have you seen the state capital building? It’s the most stately we have ever seen. It has 5 domes, with the center one the most majestic. Statues and cannons fill the grounds. It’s a beautiful state capitol building.

Day 2 Drive Through the Country

I enjoy finding old buildings with great architecture. Courthouses are often great examples of historic buildings. This small town of Palmyra seemed so peaceful as we drove through. fullsizeoutput_1dceI was surprized in Iowa, so much of their history is intertwined with that of Native Americans. Many names of the towns were evidence of former residents such as Wapelo, We veered from the main route to the backroads and found interesting sights such as the architecture pictured below and historic markers.

We took a 6 mile detour because the town of Keosauqua sounded so interesting. It was built on the banks of the Des Moines River where it is thought the monks from Cahokia, Illinois traveled over 109 miles and trapped. The Des Moines River was really muddy maybe because of all the recent rains.

My husband said Molly’s Malt Shop was where he ate the best tasting hamburger. We sat in our vehicle while our food was being prepared.

As we returned to the location where we veered off, we saw a sign saying the Gothic House was 18 miles away. I figured it would be another detour so I checked the gps and realized we were heading directly toward it.

The famous painting was inspired by this house. The painter sketched it and went home to paint it, I learn something every day.

I will share photos of the car show tomorrow.

Road Trip during a Pandemic

We’ve been social distancing since late February. We mostly go out to get groceries while wearing a mask or purchase food at a drive thru and then eat in our vehicle. Most car shows have been cancelled but when visiting the website for Good Guys I found the show in Des Moines was going to occur. It’s about 7.5 hours from where we live so we decided to take a road trip. It took us all morning to get everything ready. Masks, hand sanitizer and wipes were necessary items for staying safe during the Coronavirus. We were on the road by 1 P.M. and ran into a rainstorm during the first 15 minutes.

We soon drove away from the dismal weather. We needed snacks so we stopped at Stonies meat market to get meat sticks. No other customers were in sight. Once we got to St. Louis, we headed to our favorite bakery, Federhofer’s to get pastries for breakfast the next morning.

We spent the night with our son and his wife in St. Louis. They purchased a home and moved in during April. Due to social distancing, few had seen their new home. We were the first to use the guest bath. After dinner we watched Ford vs Ferrari, a movie I’d recommend. The next morning I had a great coffee made by our son.
After pastries and coffee, we headed northwest toward Hannibal. Traffic was sparse but roadwork was a constant.


We hadn’t visited Hannibal in a long time so we drove the streets trying to find something familiar. Finally I saw the pottery shop where I purchased bowls the last time I was there. We saw the lighthouse looking over the city and drove to Riverview Park. There we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River.

E7064762-F1B1-44FB-A17D-C7C5FC595B18Return for more soon.

La Jolla

I was feeling brave and decided to travel solo. I searched for flights to San Diego, trying to avoid going through Dallas and trying to find the cheapest days to fly.  I was surprised to find that American was cheaper than Southwest, however when you add for baggage, the cost was approximately equal. I liked the timing of the American flights and booked the flight with one stop in Phoenix. The flight was uneventful, other than seeing snow capped mountains. We arrived early but had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes. Then when we were attempting to take off for San Diego, 13 other planes were lined up all waiting to take off, so we waited a few minutes more. The flight was over, we arrived on time.

My cousin picked me up at the San Diego air port and we ate lunch by the bay. I had the best blue crab sandwich and took half to her husband. They were staying in a condo overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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Lunch by the bay

We walked along the beach every day at least 3 times a day. We talked late into the night every night. She shared her daughter and grandson with me. I enjoyed a special time with the family.


She had a list of places to share with me during my stay. At the end of four days, she remarked that we had done everything on her list. I took that as a sign that the length of my visit was just right.

We drove to Encinitas CA. I loved the city beside the ocean with access to LA and points in between by hopping the rails. Riding the train was one thing we did not have time to do, hopefully another time. I asked her what Encinitas meant in Spanish, she wasn’t sure so I searched Wikipedia to discover it means little oaks. That’s so perfect.

We visited the Golden Lotus Temple at the Self-Realization Fellowship overlooking the beach. The meditation gardens were established in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda. It was a peaceful site. This picture shows the entrance to the right. It was a peaceful, calming place.





I’ve chosen Cultivate as my one little word for 2019.

Definition – to improve by study

Synonyms- acquire, develop, form

Quote that inspires me:
“Part of cultivating a Good life is recognizing what needs to change in your life, and then changing it”

My intentions:

Cultivate relationships
Cultivate a new business
Cultivate writing
Cultivate painting
Cultivate creativity
Cultivate improved health

Why I chose cultivate as my olw:

I believe this will help me focus on achieving my goals for 2019.

Gas Station

Since I live in a rural area, I’ve always heard of Butler Buildings. They are metal buildings that usually replace the quaint old barns built because they were less costly in time and labor expenses. These buildings were operational in the late 1930s.

Last week some “car guys” directed us to check out this old Butler Building. The owner dismantled it, moved it to his property about 15 miles away and put it back together.

It’s really cool. He has it furnished with period pieces that were actually functional.

He isn’t finished, plans are in the works to refurbish the paint. I thought it was so interesting and later researched the web for gas stations made by Butler Buildings.

I was amazed to find a website from another collector. He posted several pictures of this type of old building. You can review it at the site below.

Who knew!

#Hot Rod Power Tour 2017 Madison to Indy

The morning was much cooler than any other day of our road trip. Skies were overcast til 4 so the pictures were extra sharp.

Traveling the route 40 that old truckers used offered great sights. Look at the pictures and think about the engineering required to create these yard displays. We stopped and spoke with the grandad and grandson in Browntown, IL. The grandson said he was recycling some junk. He included waterfalls in each display.

We drove through Vandalia, IL and passed the old State House. I was too slow to get a complete picture. It was a huge,  beautiful white house sitting on a manicured lawn. I  did catch one fellow sitting on the corner watching the hot rods drive past.

With the time change to Eastern time,  we made it to Lucas Oil Raceway by 2 pm and met John Force and his daughter, Courtney. They were so interesting. We listened as they answered questions and told stories of growing up and racing. The fastest speed recently achieved is 338 mph.

John grew up very poor. He said he ate a lot of  bologna sandwiches. His first sport of choice was football but he wasn’t remarkable so he tried something else. He raced in Australia, he said he was the fastest American who ever raced there.

As a young child Courtney was always at the race track with her family. Her first memory was at age 7 when her father took her to the race track for the day. He was making it a special day for her because he missed another important day. Courtney was not allowed to drive or ride in any of her father’s cars while growing up. She first attended driving school when she got her CA drivers license at age 16. She credits her dad for teaching her everything about racing.

They graciously signed autographs for everyone in line. They are heading to the weekend race in Bristol,TN.

We watched drag racing because the weather was perfect. Trucks as well as Mustangs and Camaros raced the 1/4 mile. We saw a couple Corvettes run in the high 9’s. That’s moving down the track.  We have one stop left. I worried about the people racing their cars. If something blew up they would have to figure out a way to get home. I’m sure the racers weren’t thinking that far ahead. They just wanted to beat their opponent.

Tomorrow we meet in Bowling Green KY for the last leg of our journey. We will officially become LongHaulers! 7 cities in 7 days. Both You Tube and FaceBook have lots of cruise videos by amateurs. Type in “Hot Rod Power Tour 2017” to check them out.

#Hot Rod Power Tour 2017 Champaign to Madison, IL Gateway Motorsports 

It was another beautiful day to cruise America’s heartland. 

The State Farm Center was a great venue dotted with trees for cooling off. The first task was to check in to get our card time stamped. Next we checked out the cars new today. 

Time for a break at the hotel and check out the others making long haul.

The next morning we headed to Madison IL, just across the river from St. Louis. We drove through small towns where people patiently waited for the cruisers to pass through. Gas stops were crazy, stations filled with classic cars. A few cars made stops along the roadside to check out a minor problem with their cars. We did because the car running with us had a low tire sensor illuminated. He had a portable gizmo to check pressure and inflate the low tire.

Arrived in Gateway at noon.

Here is the VIP lounge, where we took shelter from the rain.

But the rain blew over and racing started again.

I love this shot of the Arch with the sun making the buildings glisten.

Here is a view from the VIP lounge.

And another day bit the dust. Heading to Indy.

#Hot Rod Power Tour 2017

Rusty Wallace Speedway in Newton, Iowa was a popular spot with everyone. It was hot, dusty and crowded. But hot rod fans loved every minute. 

We had a 30 minute drive to our hotel for the night at Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona.

I found an interesting sculpture in the lobby.

Dinner at Jethro’s BBQ was the best!

We spent some time the next morning cleaning the bugs off our car. Mother’s polish made the task easier. 

Then it was time for breakfast at McDonalds with other car enthusiasts.

Then we hit the blue highways for our next destination, the fairgrounds in  Davenport, Iowa. 

The drive to the fairgrounds was lined  with hot rods. Here is a 55 Chevy, sometimes called a shoebox because of its shape & size. 

We checked in at the long haul booth on the fairgrounds, walked around looking at the displays and cars, visited the VIP lounge to cool off and grab a snack, then headed to our hotel. 

Davenport Iowa sits along the Mississippi River. Our hotel room had a great view. The parking lot just below our room was filled with colorful classic hot rods.

The picture below shows the scenic view of the Mississippi River. 

Some new friends suggested we could drive a few miles along the river road to Le Claire and see the home of Archelogy Antiques. We were ready for an adventure so we got back in the car to explore. Along the way we saw grand old homes built high on a bluff overlooking the river.

We found the store of pickers, Frank & Mike. It was much smaller than we expected, but interesting. Antiquefinds and touristy  mementos were for sale. 

While in Le Claire we drove by the museum for Buffalo Bill. It was closed so we ate dinner before heading to our hotel to rest for our drive to Champaign, IL.