We stopped in El Paso, Illinois to attend Mass. The church was St. Mary’s and the sign in front of it said that this was the church that Archbishop Fulton Sheen was baptized at.
We drove on through Missouri to Joplin and cut down on I 49 to sleep at my middle daughter’s house. Her family lives in Northwest Arkansas. The drive down I 49 was beautiful, although hard to see in the dark. We would get another chance to see it the next morning on our way to Wichita, Kansas. I had never thought of Kansas as very appealing. It always seemed to be just flat land that went on forever. But eastern Kansas is nothing like western Kansas. There are rolling hills and lots of stockponds. The wind was very strong. After picking up a dog in Wichita, we headed due south on I 35. We went through Oklahoma City, the Arbuckle Mountains and Turner Falls area, Ardmore and Marietta. Then we crossed back into Texas. We spent the night in my house, and I got to sleep in my own bed!!
The next morning we continued our reverse of the areas we had driven and finally got back to Michigan. Even this far north, the leaves have not started changing except in very small patches. We picked up a Mastiff puppy and headed to Wisconsin. At first, it was just very windy, but then the rain started. It was not too bad for most of the trip, especially when we were sitting in traffic for about an hour because of a wreck ahead of us. But once we were alongside of Chicago, the rain got really bad. We could hardly see the markings for the lanes. We pulled over once, and when it finally let up, we continued our drive to Plymouth, Wisconsin. The puppy was very happy to be out of the cage, and he seemed to enjoy his new home and owners, who were very happy to see him.
There was an event going on in Plymouth and we couldn’t find a motel for just one night so we drove to Sheboygan. We were all tired and slept really hard. We woke up to a sunny, cool day. We needed jackets for the first time on the trip. Today was a rest day. So we checked out what there was to do, and we found Deland Park. It was amazing! As we drove up, we could see huge kites flying above the park. There were all sorts of kites. There was a marina right near the parking lot, and near the outer banks of the marina, there was a real lighthouse. There was also a beach with one person sitting there in his swimsuit after walking out into the water. Everyone else in the area had on jackets and coats. The park had three playgrounds in the area and a Lao, Hmong and American Veterans Memorial to commemorate “the service and sacrifice of the Hmong people of Laos who fought for the United States during the Secret War from 1961-1975, part of the Laotian Civil War”, according to Wikipedia.
After leaving Deland Park, we stopped and ate at Harry’s Diner which was reminiscent of the 50s. We thought it would be more lunch food, but it was actually a breakfast place. At first, the prices looked high, but when they brought out the food, there was so much that we were glad that we decided to split the meal three ways.
After eating, we were back on the road. We stopped for the night in Minock, Illinois.
Wednesday morning, we woke up in Atlantic, Iowa to a beautiful, sunny, 55 degree morning. The motel had an indoor pool so my granddaughter got to swim before we left for the day. Once on the road again, we headed for Nebraska. The news said that there had been five tornadoes during the night from Iowa to Wisconsin. Apparently, Wisconsin got the worse of it. We stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska. We looked for somewhere to go to walk around and get a little exercise. We found a beautiful place called the Sunken Gardens. It had some sculptures and gorgeous flowers. Because we are having a late Autumn this year, very few leaves have changed colors. However, this place has so many plants that are all displaying fall colors.
After a relaxing evening, we left Lincoln and drove to Hebron, where we picked up a Great Dane puppy. He is huge, but only four months old. He was so scared. His tail was between his legs, and he was shaking. We are basically driving the reverse of the route we took to get here. I noticed several things that are different up here from down south. When they are doing construction on the road, they sometimes have something called a zipper merge. The construction is in the middle and cars split and go on both sides of it. Another thing we saw was fields and fields of bright yellow crops. I looked it up and think that it was rapeseed, used to make canola oil. The final thing I noticed is that in the northern part of the country, there are many more traffic circles than we have in the south. I hardly know of any traffic circles around home.
I decided to go on this trip with my daughter somewhat at the last minute. Usually, I plan things out well in advance. This time I thought about it and pretty much just decided to go. So after posting pictures for my challenges, I packed up and left. The first day, we left about 10am. We ate lunch at Steak and Shake in Mc Alester, Oklahoma and continued to follow the same road through Muscogee and on to Missouri. We picked up a precious eight week old Cane Corso puppy who was really scared. She shook a whole lot but actually was very good.
The next morning we got up early. We drove through St. Louis and took pictures of the Arch through our bug-studded windshield. We crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, and immediately the traffic seemed to ease up. One thing that I noticed is that there are lots of semis with Canadian license plates on the road up here. Later that day we drove through Indiana, where the time zone changed, and into Ohio. It was getting late so we stopped for the night.
Tuesday morning, we drove to a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. As you drive into the city, there are numerous oil storage tanks and refineries. We got a glimpse of the “Bridge to Canada.” Unfortunately, I don’t have a passport or card; so we couldn’t cross over into Canada. I have actually been there before, when I was a child. My daughter and granddaughter have never been there yet. We continued our drive passing through Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. We crossed back into Indiana and found a nice spot to pull over to see Lake Michigan. Then we went into Illinois and Iowa . As we are driving I start taking pictures of this gorgeous sunset. As beautiful as it was, I had a strange feeling that this was not a good thing. My daughter’s map app locked up, and we missed our exit to deliver this cute little Cocker Spaniel, who had been so nervous that he got car sick. We noticed our mistake as we passed the exit. So we took the next exit, which took us down several dirt roads with deer all along the sides of the roads. It was dark by now, and we were getting very concerned about the weather. We dropped off the puppy and began looking for a safe place, because there was a tornado warning, and they were expecting dollar-sized hail. The first place we came to was a small gas station. We parked under the awning and the gentleman inside came running out. He told us if we wanted to protect the car from the hail, we should park on the other side of the pumps because of the direction the storm was coming from. So we moved the car and went inside. He proceeded to tell us that the station wasn’t a very safe place because of all the windows, and that we really hadn’t picked a very good place if there was a tornado. So we asked where the nearest town was. It was seven miles away. Since nothing was going on yet, we drove there and found a Walmart. At least it wouldn’t have many windows. At first there were very few people in the store. But as the minutes ticked by, people started trickling in to seek refuge from the storm. Several drivers of fully loaded cattle trucks came in and said the wind was shaking their trucks so badly that they had to get off the road. We stayed there about an hour until there was a break in the weather. We drove across the street to a motel where we got the very last room. Someone came in after us and said that there was flooding down the road, and they couldn’t get to the only other motel in town. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a room.
Towards the end of the trip, my ten year old homeschooled granddaughter came out of the hotel bathroom one night with all of the towels. She sat on the bed and started messing with them, and before we knew it, she had made an animal.
We told how how great a job she did, and then she asked if she could get more towels. My daughter went to the desk and asked if we could have more towels. The lady gladly gave them to us and said that she hoped the staff would leave the bunny long enough for her to see it the next morning.
A little later she made two other animals.
We asked her where she learned to do this, and she replied that she was bored and just started playing with the towels, and they just came out like animals. I’m looking forward to seeing if she makes any other animals. All of my grandchildren amaze me at the things they can do – so much talent that I know they didn’t get from me.
We have been to this amazing museum several times. Each time it seems to have gotten larger and larger, not the buildings, but the exhibits. There are even exhibits outside of the building, which is a work of art in and of itself.
All of the artwork is quite nice, and many of the themes make you think of both times in the past and present. Some of the artists are well known, such as John James Audubon. Others are not as well known, although all of the works of art are impressive. There are various genres of art from traditional to modern and contemporary.
Entrance to the permanent exhibits is free due to the generosity of the Walton Family Foundation.
This is my absolute favorite part of the entire museum. It has been here every time that we have been to the museum. The first time we went, we debated whether this was a real person or not. I don’t think that the string was around it at the time. This is so realistic.
We saw car license plates from all over the country in the parking lot – from Maryland to Oregon. This museum is an interesting stop for those traveling through Arkansas.
To find out more about the museum go to their website.
Just about a year ago, we took two of my children and their families on a three day trip. Our first stop was in Waco, Texas at the Mammoth Museum. Rather than being only a museum about mammoths, the sight was actually on the spot where the bones of mammoths had been and still were being dug up.
For years we lived just an hour and a half from this museum, but had no idea of how fascinating it was. It is also possible to help out with a dig, if you are interested.
I would highly recommend visiting this museum if you are ever in the area.