Illinois Has Become a Destination

We are heading to Rest Up Camping and RV Corral in Grayville, Il. The decision was made, going to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (LIW) museum isn’t possible. We just don’t have enough time, it would take an extra day to work the visit into our schedule and we don’t have an extra day. Therefore, sometime in the future, look for the LIW Adventure, coming to blogs near you (hopefully). At 9:26 a.m. CST Ron said, “Alright,” put his hand on the gear shift and put the truck in drive. Goodbye Kansas City. We enjoyed the visit, the traffic was worse than we expected, but the area is beautiful.

I want to remember this moment, it’s a first for us, but hopefully not the last. We’re driving on I-70 in Missouri, the clock says 10:15 a.m. CST. Ron’s listening to the book, “Rooster Bar,” which isn’t as good as we had hoped, I’m studying. I am actually listening to classical music to help drown out the book and stimulate the brain. I’ve never done this before and for some reason, I find it amusing.

Much more scenic driving in Missouri, although Ron didn’t mind the flat plains as much as I thought he did. We passed by Mark Twain’s Cave Campground and winery, a possible future destination. The cave tours sound fun and Mark Twain’s childhood home is here as well. Lot’s of corn.

At 12:38 p.m. CST we got on I-64 east, we still have a ways to go as you can see by the map below. The 13 hour time estimation is based on averaging 75 miles per hour, which we do not. We average 65 miles per hour. We crossed the Missouri River at 12:52 p.m CST. I loved the bridge, I was so focused on it I didn’t get any pictures of the river. We saw the Top Golf as we drove through Chesterfield, MO. I realized as we were driving past, this is the Chesterfield that would get confused with Chesterfield, VA when I was with Nautica. I can see why they did so much more business than the one in Virginia. This Chesterfield is much larger.

My first view of the St. Louis Arch was at 1:12 p.m CST. Ron had me look up who St. Louis was named after, it was named for Louis IX of France. He was canonized Saint Louis by the Catholics and Anglicans. We can see why the Arch is known as the “Gateway to the West,” we feel like we’re back on the East Coast in the environment around us. The temperature feels more like home, there is greenery everywhere, and the roads seem more familiar. We decided not to stop, just do a drive by, with my vertigo and heights, I didn’t think going up the Arch on this trip would be worthwhile for us. We crossed into Illinois at 1:21 p.m. CST.

We are an hour and 11 minutes from our destination for the day. I missed taking a picture of Plum Creek, significant to me because Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek. The fields are much more colorful here than we have seen in awhile. The lonely farmer out plowing his field in this heat reminds me how difficult the farmer’s life is.

We pulled away from check-in headed to site 8 at 3:50 p.m. CST. We saw the billboard for Westwood Saloon and decided we needed to see it. We had no idea the saloon was part of the campground. Apparently the place is fairly new, only 7 reviews, but all good. The campground is in excellent shape, sites are big and lots to do right here. Ron did his first review, he was so impressed with the campground, now there are 8.

We love our site. The one beside, number 9 is the perfect spot because it’s on the end. There is a little extra space on that site and its not looking out on any neighbors, good for us because we have yappy dogs. We are not complaining in the least, grateful to be here. I would like to find that lake the little fella is sitting beside in the forecast, the afternoon is a scorcher.

We mosied up to the Westwood Saloon with our sturdy steeds. I wish we would have been able to tie them up some way, but hooking them to the wagon wheel was the best we could do. The campground really does have an old western feel. They have really put money into developing an authentic western experience. We are thoroughly enjoying the step back in time.

The newness of the saloon was evident, it looked like they had just opened for business. According to Kristen, our waitress, they have been open about a year. Ron making his grand entrance into the saloon, a little different look from the cowboys of the past.

Kristen is from Cincinnati. Today is her second day on the job. She works full time at the bank “uptown” from here, in her words. She moved here when she married her husband who has lived here his whole life. He works at the Walmart Distribution center in management, which, according to her is the best you can do around here if you don’t work in the coal or oil fields. They met through their pastors somehow. She has the same struggle I do, our husbands are reluctant models for our pictures. We both have to cajole them to let us take they’re pictures. The macaroni bites were good, but wouldn’t have a hard time not getting them again. They weren’t good enough for how unhealthy they are for you nutritionally.

These are our busted faces, from what we don’t know. An empty jail cell just begs for pictures. As we were waiting to pay for our t-shirts I saw this undeliverable letter with a hand written note for a specific person to open. I have a feeling a drama is unfolding but neither party knows it yet. How life happens, by accident.

Marlene brought us our firewood. She’s a retired social worker, that worked too long according to her. She needed something to do, she loves people. She was raised in California, her Dad was military. Her husband was at Camp Pendleton when she became pregnant with their first daughter. They moved here to raise her and their other children in the country. Not a bad choice, from what I can tell. This area and the people we’ve met definitely reminds me of my childhood in Pennsylvania. I am so grateful I spent the first 12 years of my life roaming the hills of PA barefoot, beyond words. A beautiful sunset to end a good day. A cozy fireside chat with my love to wind it all down. The red mud is still on the truck from Santa Fe, a place we didn’t expect to fall in love with, but did.