We experienced an extremely pleasant drive from Salina to Independence MO and as is our goal, we took Highway 24 through small towns and farming areas. We stayed at a good spot within walking distance of Independence, Campus RV. For our fellow RV’ers, it was a nice clean park with minimal amenities. A pleasant surprise for us was that a Roadside America attraction was also within walking distance of the RV. It is nicknamed The Swirly Rocket Ship Temple and the ceiling of the sanctuary of this Mormon split off sect looks like a super-sized ice cream swirl. In fact, you are asked to sit before you look up at the spire!
Independence, Missouri is home to Harry S. Truman, our 33rd President. He led our country and world through almost 8 years of perilous times to include the ending of WW II, the dropping of the atomic bomb and the beginning of the Cold War. We were very impressed with the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, which captured his life before, during and after his presidency. His mark is felt throughout the town as he was a judge there, met his wife, Bess in town and came there often during his presidency.
A wonderful find was a local BBQ restaurant in Independence named The Little BBQ joint. This family owned business is housed in a former auto restoration shop and today it is filled with car parts and memorabilia. We were extremely impressed with the food and even more so by the staff and ownership. They obviously take great pride in their establishment and it shows. We truly appreciated the military discount and the fact that they honor the military and our first responders. We returned specifically to give the owner, Don, some Marine Corps and LAPD stickers and patches to place on the walls.
Although it wasn’t open on Monday, we were able to get a glimpse of Fort Osage situated along the Missouri River. General William Clark, joint commander of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, established Fort Osage in 1808.
On our last night in the Independence area we drove a few miles away and enjoyed a Royals game vs. the (dreaded) Yankees. I am in heaven as this is our second new ballpark in less than 2 weeks. The stadium was wonderful; well laid out, friendly staff and good BBQ.
Our next stop, St. Louis, was spent across the Mississippi River at the Casino Queen RV Park (for our fellow RV’ers, this RV park is very utilitarian, it’s good for quick access to St. Louis only). Dennis had been to St. Louis many years ago when he was moving from one duty station to the other and I heard for years how interesting the Gateway Arch was. The Arch was (notice the past tense) on my bucket list and I am so glad I got over my slight fear of claustrophobia and heights and went to the top. What an amazing view to the west, east and of the Mississippi River! Words or pictures cannot describe what an amazing engineering feat the Arch is. It took over 3 years to build and a couple of the interesting facts are that they had 1/16 of an inch allowed for error when connecting the north and south ends of the arch and that the workers were paid $5.25 an hour to work at unnerving heights without any type of safety ropes of equipment. The Old Courthouse is nearby and that is where the many of the slave auctions were held and Dred Scott and his wife sued their owner for their freedom, which ultimately led to the landmark Supreme Court case, Scott v. Sandford. After braving the Gateway Arch, Dennis was kind enough to treat me to lunch at Dressel Public House, a cool Gastropub that was featured on Triple D.
The next day we took a tour of Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. I was a bit disappointed that they were out of town but that made the tour even better because we had access to the field, dugout, broadcast booth and clubhouse. The pictures really tell the story on this one. As a part of the ticket price we got to tour the Cardinal Hall of Fame across the street…..AMAZING! This collection is second only to Cooperstown in the amount of memorabilia they display. It was well laid out, the staff was very friendly and knowledgeable and for a baseball fanatic like me, I got to hold the bats of some very famous Cardinals to include Stan Musial and Lou Brock plus put on two World Series rings, I was in heaven!
We are now heading to Indiana for a bit then onto more adventures…..Enjoy!