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Sat Apr. 20 to Fri. Apr. 26- Joplin MO, Bellville IL, Indianapolis IN

Saturday-  We left the Casino around 9:30 and continued north on I-44 through Missouri. We stopped for lunch at Roadrunner Truck Stop and ate at Subway. While we were there, we looked for a different RV park, since when we called the park they said that they did not allow Passport America on the weekends. We could not find another RV park in the area, so we continued on to Meramec Valley Campground. This is a lousy place and we will not stay here again. It is a membership campground, which will rent to the public. The cost was $43, but we received a 20% AARP discount, bringing the price down to $34. This was for 30 amp, FHU, on dirt. We knew it was going to be lousy, when they had a coin jar on the counter asking for money to pay to fix the roads! We did not donate.

The park was almost empty. The first site they gave us was very un-level, so we requested to change sites. It was a dirt pull-thru site. We set up and Bob walked the dogs. Then we went to the town of Cuba to look at the murals.

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I liked this one above because it was Amelia Earhart.

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The murals were to depict the history of the town. The artist was a man from the country of Cuba. There were a lot more of them…

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The above statue was out by the interstate and depicts the history of the Native Americans in the town. This shows how they walked through while selling various furs.

Sunday- We left around 10 and drove north to St. Louis. We took the beltway around the city. We stopped at a Flying J for a lunch at Denny’s. We continued on to Scott Air Force Base. We entered the base and easily found the FamCamp.

We  set up in site 13. 50 amp and water. We thought there was going to be sewer also, but evidently not! It was $20 per day and we are staying for 5 nights.

We left to go to a laundromat, but found them all closed due to it being Easter Sunday. Oh well…. We will get the sheets and towels washed tomorrow.

We ate dinner at home and had a quiet evening.

Monday-  We stopped at Kohl’s and ate lunch at Nathanial Reed Bakery, splitting a turkey croissant sandwich. Supposedly, Nathanial Reed is a well known baker who has won many awards. We thought that the sandwich was pretty good.

We saw this on the way… it is billed as the world’s largest catsup bottle.

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We reached our destination,

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We entered the facility at 12:50 pm. The next tour was at 1 PM.  We had planned this pretty well. I went to stamp our National Parks Passport and I had no room for the stamp. So we purchased a new, larger edition! It is called the “Collectors Edition”. It also has all of the National Parks listed.

At 2, we met with the NPS Ranger, Nick. We had a private tour!  Since we had not had time to watch the 22 minute movie, he filled us in on some of the information. These are Julia and Ulysses Grant.

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The house is known as White Haven.

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Naturally, my first question was why was it painted green? Because it was the Victorian Age and they painted in bright colors. Originally, the house had been a beige, but when it was purchased by the Dent family, Julia Grant’s family, they named the house after where the family came from in Ireland. These Dent’s came from Maryland and are related to the Dent’s we knew in Southern Maryland!

Grant was from northern Illinois. Grant graduated from West Point and was stationed at the Jefferson Barracks, a few miles from the house. His friend from West Point was one of the Dent son’s who invited him to visit. He met Julia, they fell in love and eventually married. He proposed on the front porch.

He ended up separated from her due to his time in the army. He quit the Army ( it may have been from being drunk on duty) and he did various jobs, including farming the Dent farm.

He did not believe in slavery and he and his Dent father-in-law argued about this for about 5 years. Then he took his family ( Julia, one daughter and 3 sons) to Illinois and worked in his father’s business. When the Civil War broke out, he rejoined the Army.  Due to his skill, Lincoln made him the Commander of the Army of the North.

Of course, he eventually became president. After being President, they moved to New York, to be close to the kids and grandkids. He lost all his money when his son’s business partner ruined the business. He eventually wrote a book, which earned enough money for Julia to live after he died. He is buried in New York. He and Julia had purchased White Haven from the Dent’s after the Civil War, but they never returned to live there.

We toured the house and the barn, which was a museum.

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We went back and watched the movie then returned to the rig.

We ate dinner, then took the dogs to a dog park in Shiloh, the next town from Ft. Smith.

The dogs had a blast! They played for about an hour. I tried to video them and the picture below is when they let us know they were done.

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Good grief! The pic of Koda makes her look devilish… she is very sweet and a real lovey dovey! Although she is a bundle of energy!

As we walked into the park, the dogs were greeted by the two other dogs who were there. After the required butt sniffing, Karlie ran the pack around the park. We stood there amazed. Karlie, who is terminal with Mitral Valve Prolapse and Kidney Failure ran for about 15 minutes, all over the park, playing and having a great time!

Koda and Roxie played and played with the other dogs! It was a lot of fun. We hope the weather cooperates so that they can visit the park again…

Tuesday- Bob took the sheets, towels and some clothes to a laundromat to be washed. I stayed home and worked on articles. I sent two off!

When he returned and after we put the laundry away.  We went to Eckart Family Restaurant for lunch. The meal was excellent. This was our kind of place!

They also have a farm store so we wandered through. I found a bottle of Cherry Moscoto which I purchased. We also found strawberry salsa which we also bought.

We went to Lowes and Walmart, then returned and took a short nap. We took the dogs to the dog park again, and they played with the ball. It started to rain, so we had to cut the visit short. We returned home, fed the dogs, then went to the Hofbrau House for our belated anniversary dinner. Bob enjoyed a pint of Dunkle and 17 oz of a Marzen. I poured him into the car and took him home.

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The food was not as good as the one in Germany and the restaurant was not very busy. There was more staff, at 6 pm, than there were customers. It is a beautiful place.

We returned home and had a quiet evening. It started to rain hard about the time we went to bed.

Wednesday- We left and went to downtown St. Louis to Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, a St. Louis chocolate factory with a tour. We arrived just in time to take the tour.

Today they were making S’more’s. This first part is the base.

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Then the base went thru the chocolate.

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Then a marshmallow ( which they make here) is dropped on top.

20190424_110544 Then more chocolate is melted and put over the whole candy piece. Note in the picture that there is a glass barrier in front of the chocolate tub. A person, on a tour, put his hand in the tub. They had to close down the line, throw out all the candy on the line, throw out all the chocolate, wash the tub and start over. In all cost about $3000, so now they have a barrier. Think it was a kid? Nope, it was an adult male….

When the tour ended, we were given as many free samples as we wanted.

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We then went into the store and purchased some chocolate. We bought some blackberry ones, as they are Bob’s favorite.

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We left and went downtown. Here is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. We drove by but did not visit today.

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We decided we wanted to try some St. Louis ribs, so we went to Bogarts Ribs.

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We split a 1/2 rack of ribs which came with 2 sides. We chose beans and coleslaw, as the potato salad had bell pepper in it. Memphis ribs have a rub, and no BBQ sauce. The St. Louis Ribs had a rub and the sauce. We had our choice of sauce, but my favorite was the pineapple BBQ sauce. It was tangy and sweet.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to the rig. It rained a lot of the day.

Thursday-  We decided to take the Budweiser tour. We have taken many brewery tours, even Bud before, but this is the original brewery, and it is historic. The first tour did not start until 11, so on the way, we went back to the Basilica and toured it.

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Below is a side alter.

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Below is the main alter.

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Above and below are the side ceilings.

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Below is the back of the church.

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Below is the main dome.

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This was a beautiful Basilica. Much prettier that many we have seen before.

We left and drove to the Budweiser Brewery. As you can see, it was pouring rain.

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We chose the 11:15 tour. There were three tours to chose from. There is a 2 hour tour where they really get into the brewing process. There was a 45 minute tour, which is the one we took, then there was a 1/2 hour tour with just showed the brewery.

Our guide, Dave, was not all that great, but he could sing. He would sing the Budweiser songs to us. The first stop was to see the Clydesdales.

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This guy was Louis.

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Here are their harnesses.

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The horses are boarded and bred at another facility. The chandelier below is in the horses stable.

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Next we saw the tanks which held 30,000 barrels. They were too large to get a decent picture. There were a lot of these tanks. We also saw the beechwood which they use to help with the fermenting process. This room was 50 degrees.

Next it was the heating room, which was very warm.

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As you can see, this was a big building with many floors. This was the outside of the building with the clock. During the World’s Fair of 1902, people were able to walk outside of the clock area to look at the view of St. Louis. It is no longer safe to go out there.

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We continued downhill to the bottling room. Whew, they bottle a lot in a minute. The same with cans. We took the trolley back up the hill to the main building. Through out the tour, they gave you many samples of beer. Bob had all of mine, but he is never impressed with Budweiser beer. They finished the tour with two microbrews which he said were okay. We each ordered different ones, so he had the two different brews.

We ate salads in the restaurant. We headed back to the rig after the tour.

We realized that we we had not picked up our mail. So Bob ran to the Post Office in Bellville to pick it up. When he arrived, they said they did not have it. So he called me and I forwarded the email to him. He showed it to the idiot postal worker! She said to him that he had to have a General Delivery account. He told her we have been doing this for 9 years and never had an issue. She said that General Delivery was for homeless people. What an idiot!!! She did “find” the mail and gave it to him. This is the first time we have had this issue! We ate dinner at home.

Friday- Fortunately, this was the first day it was not raining. We were moving to Indianapolis today. So we dumped the tanks on the way out, and drove north taking a side road to I-70. We traveled I-70 through a windy day. The most that the winds were was about 20 mph, but with our high profile, it was a tough drive. It has been so windy,so far this trip,  that they did not even have a wind warning today.

We stopped for diesel at a Flying J. They only had a Denny’s there, but I spotted a Panera across the street, just past another truck stop. So we parked the rig and walked over to Panera. The Strawberry Harvest Poppy seed salad is back, so I had that.  Bob had a 1/2 sandwich. 

We took I-265 around the city and drove south to Lake Haven Retreat RV Park. They had called a couple of days ago to say that they could move us into a FHU site, but that it was a back in. We were supposed to be in a overflow site. We pulled into the park and I registered us, doing a Good Sam discount of $3 per day for our 4 nights here.

We backed into our very unlevel site, but it was the only one available. We had to put the rear end on blocks. Thank goodness they have a dog park, as we took the dogs over to get some of their energy out!

We were really tired, so I voted to go to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Bob did the call ahead. We waited about 5 minutes in line to get to the gal who handed us one of the beepers. We waited about 5 minutes and were taken to our table. That call ahead worked really well, as the place was mobbed!

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