Archive | June, 2013

Headed East Days 3,4,5

15 Jun

Our Trip to Lucas, Kansas:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The second night of our trip found us in Salina, Kansas. On Tuesday, we planned to go to Lucas, the folk art capital of – well – Kansas, and then drive on to Denver. All went well. We arrived in Lucas, took photos of S. P. Dinsmoor’s house, Garden of Eden, looked at some other sites and then went to The Flying Pig Gallery, where we met world-famous artist (that’s what the website says), Eric Abraham. As we were talking with Eric, I discovered that my billfold was missing.
We immediately went back to the car, removed everything and searched everywhere, including clothes from the day before. Nothing. We called the motel in Salina. They checked the room. Nothing. We retraced our morning drive back to Salina. Nothing. We checked the motel room. You get the point.
We spent four hours in the lobby of the motel in Salina dealing with various issues. We cancelled credit cards; new ones could be to us in two or three days – they had to travel to Calhoun first. We checked with the bank. No problems there. However, the Georgia DMV said that since my driver’s license expires next month, they would not issue a temporary license. Our biggest problem, among several, was whether or not to travel without a driver’s license. Chances are, I could have driven, and we would never have had a problem. Chances are we could have driven through Kansas, and I would never have lost my billfold.
The other problem was that we had reservations that had to be cancelled almost immediately, or we would lose a great deal of money. After much anguish and many telephone calls we determined to return home and fly to Denver later this summer. The folks at the various places we had planned to stay were very understanding and even helpful. We have another trip planned.
But, this story goes on. As we left Salina we were certain that I had dropped the billfold and someone had probably taken it. . (We had taken everything out of the car and searched again in Salina. We had also called every place we had been the day before on the off chance that the billfold had not made it to Salina. No luck.) We turned south, toward Tulsa, around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon. Lee drove. We spent Tuesday night in Tulsa, tired and depressed – two of the lesser-known dwarves. We were convinced that with the very best luck, some honest person would send us the billfold with everything intact. With reasonable luck, someone had picked the billfold up, stolen the cash and thrown the rest way. With worst luck, our story would become the basis for a TV movie about elderly folks driven to the Poor House by identity theft.
Wednesday, we drove to Tupelo, hometown of Elvis and our last stop last year after our trip to LA. As we were going to bed, I thought I might read Wolf Hall on my iPad and listen to music. I asked Lee where my earphones (actually earbuds) were. She said they were attached to my iPod in the tote bag. She reached into a side pocket and pulled out the iPod — except, it was my billfold with earphones wrapped around it. Consternation ensued.
The denouement: I had been reading and listening on Monday night after Lee had gone to sleep. I remember becoming very sleepy and turning the iPad off. I do not remember wrapping the earphones around my billfold, but I must have done so, thinking it was the iPod. (I tend to keep the earphones attached to the iPod.) Anyway, the next morning, before we left for Lucas, I handed Lee the billfold with the earphones, thinking it was the iPod. She took it, thinking it was the iPod, and put it in a side pocket of a tote bag. Before we left the motel, I looked in the nightstand drawer to be sure I had taken everything from it. I remember this because the only thing in the drawer was a Book of Mormon, which I picked up for a second or two. Distracted by Mormonism, I did not check to be sure my billfold was in my back pocket. When we had looked in the pocket of the tote, all that registered was the earphones which appeared to be the iPod. (There is an interesting show on the Science Channel called Brain Games which discusses how easily our brains can be tricked. Cold comfort.)

It does too look like an iPod!

It does too look like an iPod!


Having already cancelled reservations, made other plans and driven around 800 miles back toward home, we were unwilling to turn around. Thursday we drove home, thinking how many little things had to have gone wrong for us not to have noticed the missing billfold before we left Salina or found it once we started looking. As we drove back to Calhoun, we thought of Kansas, Oz, the Yellow Brick Road and evil witches.
The bright spot of Day 4, the Helena, AR Visitors Center flowers.

The bright spot of Day 4, the Helena, AR Visitors Center flowers.

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Headed West (Oops- headed east) Day 3

4 Jun

So here we are in Tulsa. Wait, we’re supposed to be in Denver.
This is a sad story. I lost my billfold. We could deal with some of the problems but not all. We cannot safely continue, so we are headed back to Calhoun — not in a good mood. Someday this will be a funny story.
We did make it to Lucas, Kansas to see all the folk art there. Here are a few pictures.

Dinsmore Garden of Eden

Dinsmore Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Bowl Plaza - Public Restrooms

Bowl Plaza – Public Restrooms

Headed West Day 2

3 Jun

Today we discovered that Lewis and Clark did not rough it as much as Kathy and Janice have indicated. According to the ubiquitous Lewis and Clark Trail signs, they traveled long distances on I-70. Who knew?
Driving through Kansas City was a breeze. I guess driving in Atlanta makes most other cities seem easy. We had planned to eat lunch at the Bates City BBQ near Kansas City, but it was closed on Monday. We ate at Biemer’s in Lawrence, even though they didn’t know how to spell Beamer. Good barbeque, though the restaurant was a bit lacking in ambiance.
We also tried to follow a written guide to Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence. SONY DSC Saw a few buildings, saw a lot of places where buildings were when Quantrill dropped by, learned that Quantrill was not the nicest person back in the day. We also missed seeing Comanche, the US Cavalry horse that survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Unfortunately, the Lawrence Museum was closed on Monday. As Alex Trebeck would say, “Say lah vee.” However, the folks at the Visitors Center were very helpful and very nice.
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On down I-70 we Came to Topeka, capital of Kansas, though a fairly small place. The capitol dome was covered in scaffolding. Say lah vee. We did go to the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education National Historic Site. It is in the school that Linda Brown attended. SONY DSC It seemed odd, that on the edge of the Great Plains, in this rather nice school, the case that transformed the South was initiated. There were other cases connected to Brown, but it was the decisive action. The Park official told us all about segregation; we didn’t mention how old we are or where we are from.SONY DSC

We ended the day seeing native stacked stone fences near Alma, Dwight Eisenhower’s statue and boyhood home in Abilene (the library was closed), and the sculptures on the streets of Salina.

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Presidents Reagan, G. W. Bush, and Clinton were in Kansas when a tornado whisked them away to Oz. After many adventures they stood before the Wizard to make their requests. Reagan said, “I really need a heart.” Bush thought for a minute and said, “I need a brain.” Clinton looked up and asked, “Where’s Dorothy?” That’s my Kansas joke.

Headed West Day 1 Part 2

3 Jun

When we left Calhoun there was a little rain. On Monteagle we seemed to be in the midst of a lightning storm. By Murfreesboro, the rain was done. Most of the rest of our 600 miles was boring Interstate.
We crossed the Mississippi from Illinois into Missouri, at Cape Girardeau and had lunch at Broussard’s Cajun Restaurant. Cajuns get around, and they all seem to be good cooks. We walked along the levee wall which is painted with scenes from Cape Girardeau’s history. That series of images merges into the Missouri Wall of Fame. I did not know that Jean Harlow was from Missouri. SONY DSC SONY DSC

The weather had been cooler in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois, but there was much hot air in Cape Girardeau. As we were leaving town we happened upon Rush Limbaugh’s boyhood home. Mmm.SONY DSC
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Both the Mississippi and the Missouri are in early flood stage – a contrast from last year.
The area around Cape Girardeau to the area west of St. Louis was visited by many famous people and groups.SONY DSC We crossed paths with Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, the Trail of Tears and Lincoln and Douglas, debating in southern Illinois. We visited Daniel Boone’s grave near Marthasville, Missouri, only to discover that he has a second grave in Frankfort, Kentucky. SONY DSCI’ve been to both of Cherokee Chief Pathkiller’s graves, seen both of Stonewall Jackson’s (most of his body is in Lexington, VA but his arm is buried behind the Visitor’s Center at Chancellorsville), and I’ve been to all three of Robert Johnson’s graves, but now I have to go to Frankfort to see both of Daniel’s. I think that visiting multiple graves for one person is a potential hobby. (I’m considering having some of my ashes buried in 15 or 20 different places with a marker at each. Maybe I can get in the Guinness Book of World Records and become a challenge for tourists.)
Finally, last year some people made much of the fact that Lee and I sought out and photographed a statue of Popeye. Well, this year we found Beetle Bailey.
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Headed West Day 1

2 Jun

We’ve had a long day, driving over 600 miles to Columbia MO, home of that famous SEC school the University of Missouri.
I’ll do today’s post tomorrow.

Headed West – Day 0

1 Jun

We intended to begin our trip to Yellowstone and other points West today. The storms in Oklahoma and Missouri caused us to postpone for one day. So, here’s my favorite joke of the moment: The philosopher, Martin Heidegger, and a hippo die on the same day and go to the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter greets them but says, “We’re mighty crowded in Heaven right now so I can let only one of you two in. The one who can best tell me the meaning of life gets into Heaven”
Heidegger

“I can do that,” said Heidegger. “To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.”

Before the hippo can make a sound, Saint Peter looks at him and says, “Well, Mr. Hippo, today’s your lucky day.” (Heidegger and a Hippo Walk through Those Pearly Gates by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein)

Hippo 1

Clara says, “It’s my favorite joke too!”
my favorite joke

We hit the road for Warrenton, Missouri (near St. Louis) early tomorrow