Thursday, August 8th – Saturday, August 10th, 2013
I’m not a fan of the biotech company, Monsanto by any means, or a huge supporter of most zoos for that matter, but I will say Monsanto provided the people of St. Louis a very well run, and free zoo.
During my college years, I took a look at our local zoo for the purpose of examining the enclosures, seeing if the animals looked like they were provided enough stimulation while in captivity, and the results are generally depressing no matter what zoo you go to. Regardless of how you feel about keeping wild animals in captivity, the animals I witnessed in the St. Louis Zoo seemed to have proper enclosures and I saw very few cases of animals that anxiously paced around. The majority of them seemed properly stimulated and well cared for.
After petting the stingrays, we watched the great apes during their feeding time, there were peacocks on the loose, and then we watched the elephants, my personal favorite. One of the elephants let out an enormous fart and started to walk away. The little girl next to me said with a straight face, “Where ya going? Everyone does it!”
Our visit would get more comical once we got to the camels who were casually pooping on one another. I do apologize for being so childish, but I love potty humor. Anything involving farts and poo usually has me rolling!
It began to rain as we took I-255 South to Route 15 East, to Route 13 back into Illinois. As we made our way along Route 4 South to Sparta, IL to visit family, we passed a shooting range which was positioned in a way that it appeared they were shooting towards traffic! Fortunately, no one died.
Before getting in touch with my Aunt Susie and Uncle Bob, we rested in the Walmart parking lot so I could sleep off a nasty migraine. Once I was feeling a little better, we cruised downtown, then met up with my Uncle by the McDonald’s. He told us to stop by, but it appeared he was heading to someone else’s house. We were a little confused, but he’s a minister who’s very close with the local community, so this wasn’t too alarming.
We parked out front of their house and it didn’t seem like my Aunt was home, so I gave them a call. Apparently, they had moved two years ago and I have been sending them Christmas cards to their old house this entire time! They still got the cards each year though, since they knew the new homeowners.
We went to their NEW house, had a laugh, and caught up with them. We also got to meet the young guy living in their basement, Nate, over a dinner of tuna salad, shrimp salad, salad-salad, and fruit
salad. We got washed up, body and clothes, and spent some time with them before crashing out in the van.
We spent time with my Aunt while my Uncle was wrapping up a few things for work. Then we packed up for a picnic, and took the ferry across the Mississippi River to Missouri’s little French colonial town, Ste. Genevieve.
The village was settled in the late 1740s so there were a lot of pretty, historical buildings including the Southern Hotel which was over 200 years old!
It began to rain, so we took our picnic under the gazebo in Lions Park, then grabbed coffee and German Chocolate cupcakes at “Station 2 Café.”
After taking the ferry back and returning to Sparta, they received bad news that someone from the church was close to passing away, so they dropped us off before leaving to visit with them. We looked through some family photo albums, then spent time with them and Nate once they got back, before setting up for a nice dinner of fish, veggies, and apple sauce.
We spent the morning relaxing with everyone before eating bean tacos for lunch, and getting back to our journey. Then, we took Routes 13 to 154 to 57 South through the Shawnee National Forest before getting distracted by a giant Superman cut-out at one of the rest stops.
Apparently we were close to the town of Metropolis, IL which was Superman-themed, so of course we had to pay it a visit!
We headed into the state of Kentucky and after checking out the visitor center, we parked the van at the Walmart in Paducah, KY.
There, we strolled through the Kentucky Oak Mall and ate breakfast for dinner at “Cracker Barrel.”
A competitive game of checkers followed suit, and we had an audience inside the restaurant who told us they enjoyed watching me whoop Trevor as they were leaving. Trevor’s not just a sore loser, but he’s an obnoxious winner as well, so I felt victorious beating him 2-1 after hearing him gloat when he beat me twice in put-put back in South Dakota.
Jump Back to Part 81: Finding Our Inner Child & The New World
Jump Ahead to Part 83: Prison, Pie & Race Horses
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening