Arkansas!

Made it to Eureka Springs about 3:30 and checked into our motel after an easy drive from St. Louis.

Off to explore downtown ES this afternoon and evening and to the chapel tomorrow morning.

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St. Louis

We had an uneventful trip to St. Louis and arrived about 3 pm CST and checked into the Hampton Inn about three blocks from the Gateway Arch, the reason we wanted to come to St. Louis.

The arch is built between the river and downtown. This part of town was the original settlement but during a fire that started on a river boat and spread to the riverside buildings, the area was destroyed-some of it as a fire block to the rest of town.

The arch was designed by Eero Saarinen as a monument to the western expansion of the United States and was completed in 1968. It is the world’s tallest arch. At 630 feet high (and wide) and made of shiny stainless steel it is visible from far away-we first saw it when we were 10 or 12 miles away.

The National Park around the arch is beautiful and appears to be well used by St. Louisians(?) even on a cold day like today. We enjoyed our walk through the new plaza that crosses over the now buried interstate to reach the below grade entrance to the arch. After checking out the sample cart that one rides to the top, we decided that they weren’t built for big boys. The idea of the two of us sharing it with three others did make us laugh though!

Mike who doesn’t like heights was happy with this decision and after being cooped up in the car the last two days, we enjoyed our walk around the beautiful park and along the mighty Mississippi. Of course the arch remained the focus.

The shapes of the arch make for some interesting abstract photos.

We left the park at the north and walked through the older part of St. Louis which was brick warehouses now lofts and an entertainment district. I had originally identified a Trip Advisor recommended BBQ restaurant but after our big lunch we decided we wouldn’t enjoy it. So instead we stopped in a brewery and had a beer apiece and split two appetizers-pretzels with incredible beer cheese and a delicious crab cake. We didn’t have high hopes for it but was really tasty. Best of all everything was half price for happy hour!

Tomorrow we are headed to Eureka Springs but as it’s only 5 hours away and we don’t have any plans there until Thursday morning we are looking forward to having s lazy day and being able to stop along the way as we want.

Indiana (and Illinois)!

While Abe hadn’t made it from Kentucky to greet us at the Indiana Welcome Station, we did have a fun time exploring Santa Claus, Indiana for a few minutes. Everything is Santa related (as it should be) including the volunteer fireman!

After lunch at an Amish place (in SC it would have been called country cooking) we quickly hid the Illinois border. I’m posting this as Mike chauffeurs me towards Missouri which we should hit in about 2 hours.

Welcome to Kentucky!

So honored that POTUS (ret) took time out of his busy day to welcome me to his birth state earlier today. We had an uneventful drive from Danville to Richmond, KY where we are having a great visit with Jane including a delish Thai dinner.

We are all checked into her retirement facility’s guest suite. Does this mean we are now officially being assisted in living? 😂

We will leave after breakfast in the morning for St. Louis. Hope to get there and visit the arch and maybe the Clydesdales.

Christmas Cantata

Had a wonderful evening at Lois’ church this evening for their Christmas cantata. She, her boyfriend Jerry (that’s him in the red sweater below) and the rest of the choir have been rehearsing a lot for it. In addition to the choir and their multimedia program, two groups of little kids played the bells and their was a duet by some tweens and the organist did a couple of solos.

Afterwards of course there were goodies in the fellowship hall. I helped assemble six dozen ham biscuits while Lois made pumpkin dip- who knew that a can of pumpkin, vanilla pudding and cool whip could make a dip??? There were loads of tasty treats but the big seller was the pizza from Domino’s-it wasn’t even shaped like a Christmas tree. 😢

The Mazda is all packed (including country ham, Congo squares, and sun dried plum cake which Mike made today) and ready for Mike and me to start our Christmas road trip tomorrow which will get us to New Orleans to Mike’s brother and his family on the 22nd and to Charleston to see my family on the 27th. First stop is Richmond, Kentucky to see a former client and great friend, Jane. After that we will head to St. Louis, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Little Rock, and Jefferson, MS.

And so it ends.

Somewhat of a change from our March 3rd departure picture (below) and our return last night in Raleigh (above) which ended the first part of our retirement adventure.

We just got back to Danville thanks to Lois (and her boytoy Jerry) who picked us up this morning.

We will be in Danville until December 17th when we will leave on a road trip through Kentucky and Arkansas headed to New Orleans for Christmas with Mike’s brother’s family followed by going to Charleston to visit with my brother and his family. We will be back in Raleigh for New Year’s Eve.

After that we don’t know what our next adventure is going to be but hopefully we will figure out our plans for 2019 during our Christmas road trip.

I intend to post some summary thoughts about our trip as well as a comparison review of our two transatlantic cruises in the coming days.

In the meantime, best wishes for a great Holiday season!