Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Road Trippin' Without the RV

Some of you may remember that Joplin, MO, was hit by a devastating tornado in May of 2011.  While many businesses have already been rebuilt, some of the larger structures are still under construction.  The new Mercy Hospital is one of those, and is where Shane has been working off and on this year.

Last week, Kat and I decided to join him in Joplin for a few days.  He rode down with his boss in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, with us following later in the day.  Joplin is about 120 miles or so from our home, but we somehow managed to make that drive in a mere six hours.  ;)

After a couple of necessary stops in town, we headed south on I-49 along the western edge of Missouri.  We made several stops, including one at Rich Hill, where we scoped out (scooped out?) the Big Mouth Coal Shovel.  It's not really a shovel, but a bucket, with a capacity of 30 tons, that was used back in the mining days of this part of the state.

After lunch, we visited the Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in Lamar, which we both found interesting.  I learned that the home had also been owned by the family of Wyatt Earp.

In Carthage, we traveled along a stretch of Route 66 near Kellogg Lake and along Spring River.  Great scenery through here; I should have taken more photos.

Finally we caught up with Shane and enjoyed dinner (a provided amenity for guests at the extended stay hotel) and swam afterward in the hotel pool.

The next day we stayed mostly at the hotel, but did venture out for lunch with my friend Melinda.  I was happy to finally meet her; we've been cyber pen-pals for ten years, but the timing had just not been right for us to meet before now.

On Wednesday, Kat and I ventured into Northeast Oklahoma to check out the Grand Lake of the Cherokees, and do a little geocaching at Bernice State Park.

While we were driving, I happened upon this stretch of the Ribbon Road.  To my understanding, this 9-foot wide stretch of pavement between Miami, OK, and Afton, OK, actually predates Route 66, but later became part of it.  If anyone knows better information than this, please feel free to add it in the comments.

We returned to Joplin an hour or so before Shane got off work, and found a few gems while we were waiting:  A park near Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center with public access to Shoal Creek, a waterfall of sorts on the same fast-moving creek (history unknown to me, but it looks as if there may once have been a mill, dam, or other structure there) with more public access to the creek, and upstream, a beautiful campground and RV park right on the creek were we hope to stay later this summer if Shane works in Joplin again.


Staying at Homewood Suites
Joplin, MO
June 11-13, 2013