20210726 – New Orleans to Memphis

20210726 – New Orleans to Memphis

We woke up at a reasonable hour and got loaded up.

First stop was Black and Gold Fluff and Fold to dry our damp clothes. It is highly rated and has an attendant. He had to call the manager, but was able to dry our damp clothes and fold them for money. I asked if there was a breakfast place nearby. He wasn’t sure and asked the three other people in the laundromat. The one guy that I would trust in the whole place, totally made my day.

He suggested The Vintage. The Vintage is on the edge of the Garden District and a real treat. They have “Fancy” Beignets. Three of them served on a board with three kinds of filling and whipped cream. The breakfast sandwich was even better. A biscuit served with bacon, artisan cheese and a poached egg. I guess I really haven’t had a lot of poached eggs but this sandwich was delightful. Merryweather got Avocado toast also with bacon and poached eggs.

One of the locals gave us the low down the Garden District. It is very nice. The roads are only slightly better than the Lower Ninth. Maybe twice as good. That is not saying much. Merryweather also figured out where Anne Rice’s house was located. We got a peek at that as well.

We started to mosey out of town. I spied the New Orleans Jazz National Park sign. I wanted a National Park pin. It is close to the French Market. I pulled into a no waiting, no parking zone and asked Merryweather to get in the driver’s seat, but not move until a cop told him to. He said okay. The park visitor center was closed. In the minute or so it took me to figure this out he was long gone. Apparently, he heard me say drive off and get stuck in the French Quarter for half an hour. He did. The non-parking spot was still open when he got back, but only after I had walked eight blocks trying to find him. We stopped at the French Market so he could look around. I parked illegally again and cleaned up the Overland Rig while he shopped. I was right there when he got back.

I can see value in both techniques, but must admit that I have a preference. Especially where it concerns me walking around NOLA in the midday heat.

We headed east. First, I was headed to Gulfport, Mississippi. Then I kept on to Mobile, Alabama. Merryweather was asleep so I kept going to Pensacola, Florida.

We had generally agreed to head home today, probably stop in Memphis. He was a little testy to find out I had set a new world record for most US states visited in one day.

But first we had to eat. He found a seafood restaurant on the gulf. It was a little too restauranty for my needs today. I looked at the menu and walked back out the door. I found Maria’s Fresh Seafood Market. It is an actual market, but also has a restaurant. It was a little too hot to eat peel and eat shrimp in the parking lot, but I considered it. We sat down in the restaurant, instead. I got shrimp and grits and greens. It was also excellent. Merryweather got grilled shrimp. Also excellent. I dumped the best cooler contents(Diet Coke) into the second best cooler and loaded it up with shrimp to take home. I tried to arrange for the one of the new battleships in Mobile Bay to fly a banner that said “Mission Accomplished”, but no luck. Also no luck getting the message out from the Stennis Space Force base. Or NASA.

I had gone so far out of the way to touch base in Florida, that we ended up driving US45 across most of Mississippi. We got gas in Tupelo. Pulled into Memphis late.

20210727 – Memphis to Home

20210727 – Memphis to Home

We woke up and re-iced the shrimp. First stop – Gibson’s donuts. I got a free sample of a hot and fresh donut. Life is good. This place is a little hole in the wall. The donuts were excellent. I got a chocolate glazed and chocolate cake. The guy who gave me the free donut recommended another kind. I swear he said something about New Orleans style, but I can’t find any reference on the web. It looks kind of like a buttermilk drop(whatever that is). I bought four for Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment. Three of them made it home. Merryweather was a little gun shy about any more fried bread after New Orleans. He certainly has a point. He did spot a maple glazed and another that he got to go. The whole thing including a chocolate milk was $6… I think I may have robbed the place in retrospect. I eliminated all evidence of my crimes before I got out of the parking lot.

We went to Stax Records Museum. We both agreed that it was a very nice museum. The music is so great. There were a couple of issues. Their payment system was down, but I was able to get tickets online. Then the movie that starts the museum was buggy. One of the attendants was explaining it to the other. I offered to take a look at it. I know a little about AV stuff. They declined. We went in to watch the short film. It stopped three times. The first time I told the attendants. They advised me to cut my losses. Merryweather was more adventurous. He hit the play button on the control panel a couple of times. It worked. It worked the next time too. And it worked the third time as well. I told the attendants before we went on. I don’t know if they heard or were actively ignoring me. Whatever. We walked through the rest of the museum. It was cool. The exit is through the gift shop. BUT they don’t take cash because of COVID, and they can’t take credits cards, because the machine it down. They didn’t offer to barter. You can see how everybody’s hands were tied. Apparently, adults who can make decisions were not working today. I just walked out. I am not going to yell, but it would have made me feel better. I have a credit card reader in the truck just in case I decide to start a small business for crissakes!

Before noon, Beale Street was mostly empty. We had a mini photo shoot with the Overland Rig.

We had the first of several unexpected stops today. Number one, Memphis Equipment Company is the nations largest Army truck and parts dealer. The US Army uses a trailer called the M1102. It’s made of aluminum and designed for the Hummer. They show up for sale occasionally. I have never seen one in the wild. Memphis Equipment had several in stock. The sales guy had some practical, honest and helpful opinions on its suitability for my intended use. I would recommend Memphis Equipment for all your military vehicle needs. Their office is all glass and dark wood paneling. I would also recommend them for 1970s office film location. 

We left Memphis. Interstate 55 winds along the Mississippi towards St. Louis. The next stop was Dyess Colony the boyhood home of Johnny Cash. Google took us straight to the house. There is also a museum. We went there too. Their cash register worked fine. We didn’t do the tour. I donated $20, because I am down for the cause, but not getting on the bus for a tour down. The guy working at the register offered to show us how to get to the house we had just visited.

Did I mention we got to see a crop duster? Today it was zooming around Dyess Colony. They were dusting rice fields. I honestly didn’t recognize the crops that were growing around there.

We had a late lunch at Zaxby’s Chicken. I don’t think I have ever been before. The chicken sandwich was well constructed. A bit more substantial than Chik Fil A or McDs. The chicken wings were good. Not great food to eat while driving, but I am a chicken wing champ.  Merryweather got cheese curds. I wouldn’t order them again. The fries were unremarkable. Did you know the founder is a graduate of Purdue University? I do now. 

We finally crossed into Missouri. Last Stop of the trip prize for 2021 goes to Mildred Connover of International Falls, Minnesota. She correctly guessed New Madrid, Missouri.

New Madrid is a great spot to see the Mississippi River. The river turns north and west in a tight bend. You can see the whole river coming and going at the same time. New Madrid is most famous for being the epicenter of the worst earthquake in the United States. If visiting New Madrid for a short time can impart any wisdom into the nature of the New Madrid fault or earthquakes. I didn’t get it.  I have already done quite a bit of reading on the subject.  

The Museum is a local museum. It has an assortment of local stuff. The short film was handy. It was originally named and settled as Nuevo Madrid because Spain was doing the the naming. Merryweather walked away to see the collection before the film opening credits started. He built a house of wood on top of the earthquake simulator. The earthquake simulator huffed and puffed and blew his house down. The New Madrid museum had a working cash register but no collectible pin.  

I may be skipping over the headline on the New Madrid Museum. They have a ceremonial mace found in a pre-historic burial mound. I don’t think I have seen anything like in the USA. It looks like some Aztec Spaceship stuff. Here is a link. https://anthromuseum.missouri.edu/exhibit/lilbourn-mace

There are several mounds culture sites in Southern Indiana. There is a site in Illinois that was bigger than London at the same time. Pretty interesting.

Merryweather took the wheel after New Madrid. I took a nap. He ended up having to drive through downtown St Louis during rush hour while getting feedback on his driving from me. Road trips are the furnace in which future therapy sessions are forged.

We got home in time for dinner and to unpack and start laundry.

20210725 – New Orleans to the End of the Line

Filipino rough necks are no match for Bourbon Street on a Saturday night noise wise. Not even close. We are five floors up. I was shocked at how loud it was. I have been to a Pantera concert.

I woke Merryweather up at zero seven thirty. We walked over to Cafe Du Monde for first breakfast. It was busier than I expected but not unreasonable. I always go to the take out line. Thanks to covid all orders are “to go”.

Here is a pro tip for savvy travelers. The Mississippi River is directly behind Cafe Du Monde on the other side of the levee. Right there.

Street sweepers and sturdy men with high pressure hoses were cleaning Bourbon Street for a fresh Sunday round of entertainment. We saw several groupings of the pan handlers. Maybe a bible study or sharing tips on how to get more money. One of the guys felt strongly that nobody should be touching his foot. Biblically speaking, I thought he should have more empathy for the guy in the wheel chair with no feet. We walked back to the hotel via the Walgreens. The party needed to restock gold bond.

We took a nap.

For late breakfast, we went Le Bon Temp Roule for tamales and a beer. Merryweather spotted the Disco Warehouse. Despite the bubble machine, it was full of art and furniture and stuff.

We made it all the way to the ticket office of the Mardi Gras Warehouse where the floats are housed. We might go back tomorrow. We did get a picture.

We headed out of town down LA23 towards Venice. Venice is the tip of the boot in Louisiana. It was a pretty, but boring drive. There are levees on both sides of the road. The river and the gulf aren’t visible most of the drive. I was looking for the end of the road either metaphorical or literal.

We found it. On the way back we ate at Changes restaurant for first lunch. An overwhelming assortment of religious affirmations decorate the walls. They also have a railroad tie mounted on the wall to commentate all the props Dave Valant has sacrificed to the great Mississippi River.

They served a baked potato covered in shrimp and cheese sauce. Baked potatoes are a really solid choice. The secret sauce was suspiciously cheesy like a Velveeta.

Back towards New Orleans, I went to see the Lower Ninth Ward. I wouldn’t recommend it. Some of the roads in NOLA would embarrass a third world road crew. I haven’t been to many places like that, but I have watched all of Top Gear and Grand Tour and Jeremy Clarkson on a tractor. I did see what I went to see. Part of the 9th is below the river. You can look up at ships passing. Surreal.

Merryweather picked another gem of a restaurant for first dinner. The St Roch Market hosts several restaurants. We setup a base camp for raw and baked Gulf Oysters at Elysians. Merryweather also ordered Crawfish etoufee. I got a Bluesty Collins from the bar in the next stall.

Still haven’t found a place that will let me eat fistfuls of shrimp and crawfish until I pass out. New Orleans is all about its Southern Gentility.

On the street below, I heard a motorcycle with no muffler warning up for a drive around Bourbon Street.

We took a second nap.

The hotel keeps its nicest cars close to the front door as some sort of “hotel status symbol” You can imagine our surprise to see the Overland Rig front and center when we went back out to Rue Bourbon after the sun set.

Sunday was a little more relaxed. We walked the length of Bourbon. We bought 144 beads and got an invitation to hang out on a balcony. Waiting for a doorman to ask if you would like go up on the balcony actually worked. I still can’t believe it. I am all about the hustle and being charming and nice, but sometimes all you need is a arm full of beads. Life is weird like that.

If any one asks, Merryweather is definitely 21. You can tell because he is tall. That is the official way for determining age. Now that we have that cleared up…

Throwing beads off a balcony on Bourbon Street is ridiculous. It has the added benefit of allowing you to people watch and stand in one place. I sometimes feel like I am good at grabbing people’s attention. I walked away with no remaining beads, but humble.

20320724 – Lafayette to New Orleans

20320724 – Lafayette to New Orleans

I had thought choosing a nicer hotel would equal better rest. I was wrong. The hotel hosts a bevy of Filipino offshore oil rig workers when they are not working. They have a basketball hoop and a pop up canopy and a grill. They also have a penchant for smoking and yelling outside my window at 2 in the morning. They also yell down the hallways and empty the ice machine at 2:15 am. We headed out of town at second light.

It turns out we were thirty minutes from Avery Island, home of Tabasco. I love the smell of Tabasco in the morning, it smells like victory. We did the tour. We ate some food. We cleared out the gift shop.

The self guided tour is truly one of the best I have ever seen. It is very well done. There is also a jungle gardens where you drive around and see many Asian plants and such. It was also nice. We saw wild alligators and Spanish moss and cool trees and birds. There is a lot of bamboo. It grows like a weed on Avery Island.

We listened to a zydeco CD bought in the gift shop all the way through once.

The Wilco Marsh Runner is basically the riding lawn mower of the future. It has two tracks, passenger seating and an optional brush cutter. It has a top speed of 8mph on land and 1mph on the water because it also floats. Convenient financing is available and basically this thing could be easily towed behind my truck back to St Louis. I saw one being trailered last night. It was love at first sight. Who doesn’t want a tank for around the house?

I had in mind that it would be fun to stay outside of New Orleans on Saturday night. It was not going to happen today. I did stop in Morgan City. It is one of the small towns that dot US90 on the way to NOLA. There was a crafts fair on the main drag next to the sea wall. There was boat racing at a lake and a BBQ competition with live music and vendors underneath the overpass. Merryweather and I got homemade pies. I could not persuade my travel partner to hang around for live music or more food. We got back on the road.

Parts of the US90 highway are not very smooth. The truck gallops like a horse at 75 miles an hour. It is a about 100 bpm bounce.

We finally pulled into New Orleans with no solid plan. I pulled over in the shadow of the Superdome to find a hotel. I got something figured out, but the hotel was on Canal at Bourbon Street. The valet line was a block long. We talked to one of valets. He said come back in an hour and a half. So I updated the GPS for a diversion.

We drove over to Willie Maes Scotch House. The last time I was here. It was the year after Katrina. Time magazine was doing a follow up photo shoot on New Orleans. The kitchen was in the weeds. Lunch took more than an hour. It was still excellent. The original location was closed today. They sent us to the new second location in the Market at Pythian.

Merryweather got a shrimp poke’ bowl from another vendor. I got fried chicken and butter beans. It was delicious. The butter beans and white rice look boring, but the flavor is a surprise. Very spicy, balanced, delicious. The fried chicken is exceptional.

After food, we headed back to the hotel to check in. You can see Bourbon Street from the window. The visually impaired need not worry, you can hear Bourbon Street just fine. Not planning on being well rested tomorrow either.

We went out to check out the French Quarter.

I think the most interesting thing I saw was how comfortable some people are with their bodies. There is NO mystery in a single layer of Lycra or spandex. Some folks just let it all hangout but just cover it with a little stretchy fabric. New Orleans is also apparently also too hot for undergarments. Good for them! Maybe? I am keenly aware of my deficits in form and dress to minimize them. As much as I am shocked by the outfits people will wear out in public, I try to not to be judgmental. Lord knows I got some judgements. I got lots of opinions. Gentle Readers, Miss Manners taught me that silence is the better part of valor.

We gave some money to buskers. I gave some money to a bartender. We got some steps in.

Tomorrow will be bright and early for Cafe Du Monde or breakfast.

20210723 – Little Rock to Lafayette, Louisiana

20210723 – my first headline was funnier

We survived the night. I was certain that there would be a loud domestic disturbance In the parking lot. Slept very well.

We had breakfast at the Waffle Lodge House. Merryweather has learned the ways, customs and language of the Waffle Tribe. He loves the place. He says Texas Bacon Patty Melt, Smothered and capped. They bring him food. I tried ordering in Plains American. My food came also. The Waffle House next to Twin Peaks in Little Rock is very nice and clean and pleasant. Five stars for a Waffle House. I am not kidding. Seriously.

Mrs Jon Bruce Entertainment had strongly suggested we visit a presidential museum on this trip. Luckily, the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library was located close. We got timed entry tickets to avoid the crowds. Also, lucky. I behaved as best as I could. The library is basically ALL the letters that people sent to the president while he was in office. I imagine half the collection is written in crayon. Someday Robot Doris Kearns Goodwin will find a letter President Ivanka Trump sent to then President Clinton as a child. It will bring it full circle. “Grabbing them right in the pussy” will be seen as a reference to Socks the White House cat. History is written by the winners.

Bill Clinton is the Tom Jones of politics. There I said it. Don’t leave your women folk unattended if he is lurking around. This library has the same kind of sexual energy as a Justin Timberlake mosh pit. It’s a little scary. The docents aren’t just knowledgeable and helpful. They are 70 year old fan girls.

I also learned that HRC attend vacation bible school and that the Clintons tried to pass Obamacare. Unfortunately, no one knew what Obamacare was because Oprah hadn’t invented Obama yet.

I was disappointed overall. I wanted to see a picture of Clinton with PJ O’Rourke and Hunter Thompson. I had to settle for a tenor sax, half a Chilhuly and a couple of pictures of James Carville.

For some reason, there is a Central Perk backdrop and Friends replica couch for us young people to “hashtag the MySpace”.

As we walked out, I was still undecided on the next stop. Hot Springs National Park may be lame, but it’s a National Park. I am not going to miss one. We drove through the phalanx of tourist traps to the top of the hill. We then rode an elevator to the top of the tower on the top of the hill. There was a panoramic scenic vista. The gift shop had a pin for our collection.

The free scenic vista was excellent. I could have gotten out of here for free except for the pin. I wasn’t leaving without the pin. Plus we were right there. Its not like we could have not done the elevator tower too. I had really low expectations based on my last visit as a kid. I am glad we stopped. Merryweather had no interest in the hot springs bath house experience. Neither did my mom thirty years ago. This aversion must be genetic. Overall, Hot Springs National Park exceed my childhood memories.

We headed to Texarkana. We had a late lunch at Loca Luna, a local Mexican restaurant. It was excellent. I got arroz con pollo con queso con peppers and onion. On paper this is the same as I order in St Louis. In reality, it was so much better. The peppers and onion are thinly sliced, grilled not oily and not mushy. The cheese was shredded white cheese not cheese for dipping chips. Merryweather got Tahkos con Calle con steak. We needed gas and some Lonestar.

I stopped at the most questionable gas station I have seen in YEARS. As we pulled up, the entrance was blocked by a court arranged weekend with dad hand off. Half the pumps weren’t working. It was a gas station AND a Greyhound bus station. They had gas and Lonestar, but the amount of time and drama required to disentangle myself from the weird heaviness makes me think they could have thrown in the beer for free. Did I mentioned we tagged up Texas and got Lonestar? Win-win.

We drove by Diamond Crater State Park. Merryweather knows a lot about treasure hunting, but wouldn’t be tempted to try it out for himself. We pressed on to Lafayette, Louisiana. The Best Western Plus Vermillion River Inn and Suites is not off to a promising start.

We had a late dinner at Don’s Seafood in Lafayette. We had grilled oysters covered in cheese and bacon which got inhaled. The fried crab claws are fried. You eat them like a chicken wing drum (kinda). The shrimp boil was the spiciest I have experienced. The corn definitely wasn’t from Indiana. It was probably the healthiest thing we ate. I am going to try and eat more seafood tomorrow but healthy options, but also my body weight in shrimp and crawfish and oysters and maybe a grilled seagull.

Mrs Jon Bruce Entertainment mentioned that the last episode needed a lot of editing. My apologies for this one also.

20210722 – Joseph Smith was right. St Louis to Little Rock.

20210722 – Joseph Smith was right. The way from St Louis to Little Rock.

The Garden of Eden is located in Missouri. It sounds ridiculous when you hear the story of the Mormons. Absurd. A comedy tour de farce.

The thing they don’t tell you about Joseph Smith is that he was an avid canoeist or kayaker.

I know this because Merryweather and I hit the road for another adventure. We left Bruce Casa at 8 am ish. I drove to Hofstedler’s canoe rental on the Eleven Point River. Merryweather took a nap.

The Eleven Point is the third river of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Spring fed. Plenty of water. The Perfect spot for a paddle in late July.

I don’t think Merryweather has been in a boat with me since Glacier National Park. It wasn’t quite as exciting, but very close.

We put in at Whitten. There was another group setting up camp for the day. I was immediately struck by the change in the air. We had been driving down a hot dusty dirt road. Once we got the boat moving the air was cool and humid. Like air conditioning, outdoors. Like when you mom yells at you for leaving the door open. I am guessing there is a spring or cave close by. We found a couple of other spots like that down the river.

The river is pretty steep. The gradient is listed as 5.6. I think that means it drops 5.6 feet every mile. The pools are pleasantly short. The drops are exciting. The one thing Mike from Hufstedlers had told us about was the shelf.

The only other boat we saw was a family in a motorized Jon boat who said “there is a waterfall coming up in half a mile”. We bombed though it with a clean line and courage in our hearts. It was very cool.

We also checked out Bose Mill Spring dam. It was cold spring water. I got out of the canoe to take a picture. My feet were freezing.

We stayed dry until the take out. Merryweather’s feet had fallen asleep. So when he went to get out of the boat he wasn’t stable and grabbed onto the side of the canoe as he was falling backwards. I was in back. The canoe was angled off the ramp in about seven foot of water. I got all the way wet. Merryweather kept his hair dry. There were witnesses.

We returned our gear to the outfitter and hit the road. I had originally planned to head towards the Buffalo River next. The upper section is closed due to lack of water. The outfitter I had picked for the middle section wasn’t answering their phone. I took that as a sign.

We literally flipped a coin. Memphis or Little Rock. Little Rock won.

We crossed the Arkansas state line on a dirt road. The change in scenery is drastic. Leaving the Ozarks for whatever you call the plains of Arkansas is jarring. According to the internet, we moved from Interior Highlands to Gulf Coastal Plains. In reality, we moved from small farms with cows eating grass next to rusting farm machines to vast fields of rice or cotton or agriculture or something.

Merryweather was dropping truth bombs all day. My favorite… “John Locke said all men are born with free will, but he never saw you playing the cha cha slide for a crowd of people”

He also picked out a great restaurant for dinner. YaYas Euro Bistro in Little Rock. It was amazing. Our waiter was a pro. The food was excellent.

My choice of hotels was not as good. We are staying at a Ramada Limited. The limited refers to your expectations, maybe. Merryweather said “I think this maybe the Hotel from Rwanda.” The lobby smelled my glaucoma medicine. But the beds are comfortable and the bathroom works. And we are next door to Twin Peaks, extremely elegant, neighbors of distinction.

20190527 – South Dakota Kayak Challenge

20190527 – South Dakota Kayak Challenge

SDKC (South Dakota Kayak Challenge) we placed top 3 in our category (out of three). We canoed 72 miles in 12 hours 40 minutes. That is around 5.5 miles an hour in a canoe. That includes stopping so Calvin could talk BWCA with the checkpoint teams. We have the blisters to show it. There were 170 competitors and adventurers. The event was really well organized and run.

At the orientation meeting, they announced that this would be the final race.

The Missouri River was VERY high, VERY Fast.

I got to use Avenza Maps app with geo spatial maps from National Parks and the race team. A tremendous tool. It’s like having a National Park map on your phone and you can see your location on the map. Invaluable.

Calvin is a tremendous paddler. My dad did great support driving.

It was a great challenge. We got to eat some great food and fellowship. Also did some awesome sleeping when we were done.

Friday night we got to carbo load at the world famous Ice House in Yankton, South Dakota. The Ice House will sell you six Bud Light bottles in a bucket of ice for $12 that you can enjoy in the parking lot. Apparently, the tradition is to smash the empties under the dock. One of the weirdest local customs I have encountered.

20200829 – Race for the Rivers

I don’t want to brag but I did win a major prize at the Race for the Rivers today. Big shout out to my sponsors Jamie Watkins Bruce, Wendy’s Hamburgers, Diet Coke, and Orbit Chewing Gum. I ,technically, wasn’t just the last in my class. I was also last person off the water.

I think I should mention there was a slower boat, but they weren’t in the fast racing group like me and had and hour or two headstart. We started last.

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20210613 – Current River – Cedar Grove to Akers

20210613 – Current River – Cedar Grove to Akers

I was super impressed Echo Bluff State Park Lodge. I was eager to share it with Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment. So we booked the first available room. On a Sunday. One Day Only. And since we were in that neck of the woods, might as well go canoeing. So Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment went on a canoe trip with me. Don’t bother googling, this probably hasn’t happened since Cub Scout Day camp.

I choose Akers Ferry Canoe Rental for a livery. I have used three or four canoe liveries around Eminence. They were all great. Akers was particularly great. They put us in a Wenonah canoe with really low seats and low walls. Very Stable. Very Accessible. Floated like a dream. Like all the other liveries in the area I have used, the actual trip was shorter than estimated time. Plenty of water and I am an excellent paddler.

The Current River was pretty busy on a Sunday. Lots of boats. Lots of tubes. Lots of people hanging out on gravel bars. It was hot, in the 90’s. There was plenty of water in the system for a hot mid-June float. Floating under the tree lined banks in the shade was wonderful.

Not a lot of wildlife. We were on the water for about three hours. We made a short stop at Welch Spring.

Another cool thing we discovered. We met two of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park Rangers. They gave us a safety talk before the bus left. We also ran into them at Welch Spring. I did a little research. In addition to being pleasant, informative and professional, one of them is also an author. His book Moonshine and Watermelons is downloading to my Kindle as we speak.

On the way to the lodge, we got a moment of cell phone reception notifying us that the room was ready for check-in. The room at Echo Bluff State Park Lodge was great. We went to dinner at the world famous Dairy Shack. There may be another restaurant in Eminence, but I am not sure I want to know about it. We had burgers and fried mushrooms and tots. It was excellent. The cheese fries were drowned in cheese. The only fries that survived were following the ABCs of cheese fry safety and wearing life jackets. The only thing I wouldn’t get again. The ice cream looked great but you had to eat it quick.

We went back to the lodge. The rocking chairs on the back deck are a great spot to watch the occasional plane fly over. Looked at the stars and shared a pretty good shooting star. Sinking Creek burbles in the background. It’s was nice.

We slept about 14 hours.

Had a nice breakfast. Went looking for the Shawnee Herd. The wild horse pack that I had seen on my last trip are pretty elusive apparently. They had crossed the river on Sunday at a canoe take out close by. They were no where to be seen on Monday.

Star Chart on IOS has been on my phone for a long time. It’s great for constellations and satellites and planets, etc.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/star-chart/id345542655

We get infrequent planes flying over the house. I have been using FlightAware to figure out what is flying overhead. This is highly entertaining. We didn’t see many planes, but the ones we did see were WAY up high, above 35,000 feet, and headed to airports all over.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/flightaware-flight-tracker/id316793974