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Our Lewis and Clark Journal – Day 27

September 24, 2013

Day 27: Down the Missouri River: Floating toward St. Louis     (August 22) 

Bob and Tammy are college friends from my days at Millikin University. Bob now teaches at Missouri State, and Tammy recently started taking classes at a Baptist seminary. We parked our RV in their front yard last night, and woke up to pancakes and eggs. A lovely breakfast on the back patio, and then games in the yard.  August put the games together using  whatever toys he could find in the garage that belonged to two boys, now young men, of the house. Bob had built the horseshoe pits.

They were generous hosts.

And we apparently took no photos!

Six months prior to our trip, when I first posted the idea on Facebook, Bob offered to set us up in canoe and let us float down the river. We ended up in a inflatable kayak, which was perfect for the three of us. Bob gave us a nice tour the east banks north of St. Joseph, including markings which indicate how high the river rose in the 2011 flood. We then floated down the Missouri River back toward St. Joseph. An entirely peaceful way to spend part of our last day of travel.

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One of the things Bob warned us about was that not many people use the river. In fact, he said, they night look at us strange. Sure enough, several boats stopped to ask if were all right, if we knew what we were doing.  A couple of great big guys worried that we were awfully close to the water in our kayak. We just laughed and dragged our arms in the water – this is where we want to be.

We have touched this mighty river at many points on its journey from “that most distant spring” to the ice-cold rapids to this swift moving muddy highway. It has defined our trip, and I was grateful today to let it simply carry us.

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We spent all afternoon driving back to Eureka, where we will drop off the RV tomorrow morning. It took us a while to find our campsite, which is run by KOA as the official campground of the Route 66 State Park. We had just enough time to locate our site, and then we were back on the road. Literally, backtracking to Kirkwood, Missouri to meet up with colleagues and friends.

Noelle and Allen were colleagues years ago at the Mt. Sinai Congregational UCC on Long Island, and Nora, Allen’s wife, was the Director of Christian Education. They took us all to a nice burger spot in the very happening and diverse downtown of Kirkwood. It was weird after all these weeks to park the RV in a city street (cities in the Northwest don’t have city feels).

Again, no pictures.

Late as we were, we had one more stop before finding our beds: we had to use the all night Do-It-Yourself truck wash and clean off all the bugs from the front end of the RV. Actually, August slept through this, which is too bad because he would have enjoyed it.

But it was midnight.

P.S. OK, this is my first post script (is that even a term in blogging?)

Back on Day 14, at the point where we joined up with I90 West through South Dakota, we stopped by the side of the road to make lunch. Many years ago I did a cross country trip with two young women I was accompanying to a Presbyterian General Assembly. One of them said that she had always wanted to stop at the side of the road and pick the flowers, but that her parents had never let her. So we pulled over, and I have been pulling over ever since.

On this day August used his new pocket knife to cut a bouquet for mom.

I include the photo here because I thought it should be in this blog somewhere. Getting out to smell the flowers should be part of every vacation.

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The INDEX of blogs from Our Lewis and Clark Journey can be found here.

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