Tourist Attractions in Springfield, Missouri

There were 2 “must see” attractions for us in Springfield, Missouri. The first was the original Bass Pro Shops which is as large as 7 football fields and takes up an entire city block. In addition to all of the sporting goods for sale, inside this Bass Pro are waterfalls, aquariums, exhibits, a restaurant, and 2 museums – the Archery Hall of Fame and the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum.

Our second stop was dinner was at Lambert’s Cafe – the Home of Throwed Rolls. Lambert’s has been featured on TV shows and yes, they really do throw the rolls to you! The roll thrower was a young man who would stand at one end of the restaurant and announce “Hot rolls!”. When someone holds up his hands, he tosses them a hot roll. He told us a lot of people miss the catch.

When one little boy asked him “Why do you throw the rolls?” he answered “I don’t really know.”

The rolls were warm and yeasty and delicious. We both had a pork special with barbeque ribs, pulled pork and pork tenderloin served with cole slaw and a sweet BBQ sauce. Servers walk through the restaurant with large stainless steel bowls of pass alongs to offer to each table. We tried them all – black eyed peas, fried okra, fried potatoes, and macaroni and tomatoes. We had so much food we brought enough home for a second meal!

Are you ready for some football?

Our next destination in Missouri was Columbia for the SEC East showdown between the Georgia Bulldogs and Missouri Tigers. Rain poured down on us most of the day Thursday as we drove on back roads through the middle of the state. I was happy to see some early fall colors as we drove along.

As we pulled into Cottonwoods RV Park just north of I-70 we saw a few Georgia fans scattered among the Missouri fans. Many sites were decorated with the red and black of Georgia or the black and gold of Missouri.

The rain continued on Friday but didn’t stop us from exploring Columbia and meeting friends for dinner at the Stadium Grill next to their hotel.

With the rain letting up on Saturday it was a beautiful day for college football. We left early to be sure to find a parking place before the 11:00 am kickoff. The Stadium Grill had plenty of space and it was a perfect place to meet our friends and walk to the stadium. Black and gold tents were set up all around the stadium for tailgating before the game. There were quite a few Georgia fans dressed in red and black.

The Missouri fans were friendly and thanked us for coming. Some even went out of their way to tell us how much they appreciated us being there and to please come back. People were  amazed that we drove all the way from Georgia.

With apologizes to Missouri fans everywhere, it was a great day to be a Georgia Bulldog! The Dawgs won 34-0.


Exactly one year ago: Welcome to Alaska!

Exactly one year ago today we arrived in Skagway, Alaska on the 31st day of our journey from Georgia! We had a wonderful time as we traveled across the U.S. and through Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon but after 31 days we were ready to see Alaska. Here is my original post from Skagway after we finally arrived.

Day 31: Saturday, June 15, 2013. Watson Lake, Yukon to Skagway, Alaska. Pullen Creek RV Park Site 45 overlooking the Skagway Harbor and surrounded by mountains. 320 miles traveled.

I was talking to a fellow traveler at the RV park in Watson Lake before we left there this morning and I commented that this was our 31st day on the road and we still weren’t in Alaska! Our plan for the day was to continue on the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse, Yukon and enter Alaska northwest of there in several days.

It was another beautiful drive on the Alaska Highway with some nice places to stop along the way.

We stopped for lunch at a rest stop. While I was fixing lunch Henry walked over to read an interpretive sign. On the sign was a large map of the area. As we were eating he commented that we weren’t very far from Skagway. We talked about it for a few minutes and he was just as anxious to get to Alaska as I was. We had to make a decision as the turnoff to go to Skagway was in about  six miles. I entered Skagway into the GPS and it was 59 miles to Whitehorse and about 102 miles to Skagway. It was a no brainer. We were going to Skagway.

We left the Alaska Highway and off we went. We were about halfway to Skagway when I realized it was Saturday of Father’s Day weekend. What if all the rv parks were full? There was no cell service and no way to find out until we got there. I read ahead in the Milepost and saw in red letters warning of an 11 mile descent with 11% grade going into Skagway. I told Henry “There’s something coming up you’re not going to like.” There was no turning back.

The drive on the Klondike Highway was spectacular. Snow covered mountains, deep blue ice covered lakes. There were even two bears along the highway. We couldn’t stop to look at anything.

I kept checking my phone for cell service. We had to get AT&T when we got to Skagway, didn’t we?

Finally, we stopped for pictures at the Welcome to Alaska sign! We were really here!

We finally made it!
We finally made it!

We cleared customs with no problem and headed straight for the Pullen Creek RV Park hoping for one of the waterfront sites on the harbor. We asked for 2 nights, maybe 3. He said no problem, go pick one and come back and tell me where you are. After setting up, we were happy to just sit outside and enjoy the view.

Henry says I looked like I was going to cry when I saw AT&T with full bars and 3G come up on my phone. We called our kids and enjoyed the rest of the night.

Waterfalls and Wildflowers at Natural Bridge, Virginia

Natural Bridge, Virginia
Natural Bridge, Virginia

Our mountain journey continued at Virginia’s Natural Bridge where we walked along the nature trail beside Cedar Creek to the Natural Bridge and Lace Falls. The bridge and trail are privately owned and beautifully maintained.

The arch is 215 feet high, 55 feet higher than Niagara Falls. It is 40 feet thick, 100 feet wide, and is 90 feet between the walls. Highway 11 crosses over the bridge.

George Washington surveyed the bridge and the surrounding area in 1750. What is believed to be his initials can be seen high up on one of the walls.

The warm, sunny spring day was perfect for walking along the nature trail.

Wildflowers were blooming all along the trail

We camped for 2 nights at the Natural Bridge KOA, about 5 miles from the Natural Bridge.

Exploring Mount Airy and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Andy and Opie
Andy and Opie

Many of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s have fond memories of watching The Andy Griffith Show. I loved watching Andy and Opie walking down the path with their fishing poles at the beginning of each of the older episodes. It was this image that was chosen for a statue in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Mount Airy is the birthplace of Andy Griffith. A walk down Main Street is like walking through the fictional town of Mayberry. Just a few blocks from Floyd’s Barber Shop you can visit Wally’s Service Station and the Mayberry Courthouse.

After breakfast at the Snappy lunch (famous for their pork chop sandwich) we visited the Andy Griffith museum which contains exhibits from Andy’s long acting career. In addition to playing Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, he was in several movies and later played TV’s Matlock. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

After the museum we walked through an exhibit about Chang and Eng Bunker, Siamese twins who settled in the area and raised their families in the 1800’s. We couldn’t leave town without stopping at Wally’s Service Station for a look around. After driving by Andy Griffith’s home place we drove north on Highway 52 for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 199 in Fancy Gap, Virginia and continued going north. After stopping to take a short hike we arrived at Mabry Mill to discover that none of the facilities on the parkway are open until May 1. No worries. I was able to take pictures from the parking lot.

We spent 2 nights at the Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy.