Thursday, May 22, 2014


5/20/2014 10:15pm a rest stop right after Boonville, Missouri

I’ve finally figured out the best way to sleep in my car: I drape a pillow over the arm rest and drape my legs over that, so my feet are on the passenger’s seat. Then I have a pillow against the driver’s side door, so I am sleeping sorta sitting up, but it’s also slightly reclined. And the eye mask is wonderful. So I’m sitting like that right now at the rest stop. Hopefully I can get a good night sleep and not be bugged by a squirrel in my car. No sign of him, but it wasn’t a big rodent. Tomorrow I’ll drive into Columbia and get my oil changed. Then I’ll figure out what I want to do in Missouri. St. Louis? Mark Twain National Forest camping? There are options. I could do with some more camping. Two days in some state park that hopefully has a shower…

Anyway! Kansas City! Is a pretty cool city. It has a lot going on in lots of different areas, and woah is it warm. Also: heads up if you are visiting, lots of things are closed on Monday. And Tuesday. The main museum was closed today, but not the contemporary art museum. The Kemper. Kempler. The… that one. It had hammocks outside, and I took a late afternoon nap in one. Not a long nap, thankfully. I wasn’t burned. Interesting art installation to have: hammocks. I say more museums should have them. It’s a good feature. The museum had free admission, which was nice. Not a big museum. I saw some great Thiebaud etchings. I really liked Paula Rego’s Recreation. I found it odd that one of their pieces, the medium was described as “silkscreen ink”. Uhm… There are many kinds of ink that go through screens. Which one is it? Acrylic? Feh.

There was a Jamie Wyeth painting with a whole bunch of whale bones. Interesting bit of repetition in this trip, as there were actual whale bones at the last museum I visited.

My first stop in Kansas City wasn’t the museum, but Hammerpress. The letterpress studio where Karen interned years ago. I didn’t name drop her, I just procured a few cards and looked at all the nice letterpress stuff they had. The guy working the shop recommended I go to “Little Freshie” for a snow cone, which I did! I got the pear green tea cone and it was delicious. I ate it and read a bit of the Hockney biography. I wandered around that area for a bit, then drove on to the museums. I was suspicious of how easy it was to find parking wherever I went. Suspicious in that “can I really park here for free for under 3 hours?” way or the “is this actually a permit area and I’m going to get a ticket?” way or the “is this really a parking lane or are the other cars on the street delusional?” way. But no tickets!

After the museum (and hammock nap) I went to YJ’s Snackbar, at Karen’s suggestion. The dinner special was an hour and a half away, so I got an iced coffee and let my brain solidify after being melted in the heat. I read, I drew, I talked to one of the fellas in the café. It was a great hole in the wall, three tables inside with lots of flotsam on the wall type place. Very charming. The dinner special was a soul food plate: pork, muffin, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, collared greens I think, rice with sausage. It was the perfect size to consume as well, and I gobbled it up! So good! I highly recommend YJ’s if you are ever in Kansas City.

Once my tummy settled, I hit the road. I opted to continue east on 70, as I was unsure if I wanted to go to St Louis or head down, but both would be options. And Columbia is a major intersection on the Interstates so I’ll figure it all out tomorrow. Once I get my oil changed.

And I should probably wash the bugs off the front of my car. There is starting to be a build up…

5/22/2014 Table Rock State Park, Missouri

Oh man, that night after writing that blog post! What a show. So that mouse (not a squirrel) was STILL IN MY CAR! It started scurrying about at 11 pm. I set out a bag with some candy in it, hoping it would go in the bag and I could snatch the bag and take it outside and release it far, far away from my car. But it didn’t take the bait. It continued scurrying about. I tried to lunge for it with a towel when it was on my dashboard, but no luck. Then I remembered: Walmart. Most are always open, and when I googled it, there was one 8 minutes away! So at 2:30am, I entered in my jammies, looking frazzled and tired and headed for the kill aisle. Traps! Poison! Hurray! I got some snap traps and set them with peanut butter and set them under my seat and on the dash board. And I waited… and the mouse didn’t go for them! I added some Ritz to the traps and set them both in the back, and the mouse did go for it! And I sat in my seat, still and eagerly awaiting the sound of the snap. But it never came. The mouse wasn’t setting off the traps! It just got the snack and … didn’t die! So I returned to Walmart and bought glue traps, because if it was too small to set off a trap, it should be small enough to get stuck in glue. When I returned to my car, the mouse was on my dash and quickly vanished into the steering column!! If it nibbled some wires that I need, I’m going to be so pissed (and hopefully not in a car accident). So I set a trap on the dash, two in the back, and one on the floor. The sun was starting to come up at this point, but I did get some sleep. And I was woken by the sounds of struggle from the floor glue trap. There it was! Caught! I grabbed a bag and quickly put the trap & mouse in the bag and poured out my water bottle into the bag, drowning the mouse and putting it out of its misery. I know there is a way to release a mouse from a glue trap using vegetable oil, but I didn’t want to buy yet another thing and at the end of the day: it was vermin. It wasn’t a lost animal that found its way into my car. It was a pest, it was getting into my dashboard, it would just find somewhere else to scavenge. It wouldn’t go “into the wild”. So I don’t feel bad about killing it.
At 7:30ish I wandered back into Walmart, changed, got a victory doughnut, and drove to Jiffy Lube. I got my oil changed and the Jiffy Lube manager told me that Table Rock State Park is a great park, so that is where I went! Though it was slow going. I had to stop and rest my eyes pretty often. Never got a full nap, but little bits here and there. It’s rough driving on just a few hours of sleep. And I wasn’t about to pump myself full of caffeine for, what, 4 hours of driving? I could take my time. And even taking my time, I still arrived with plenty of daylight.

Branson, Missouri is an interesting town to drive through. All the attractions seem to be family oriented, and run by families. Lots of team shows. Like a PG Vegas, but with no one I’ve ever heard of. I got a chocolate crème pie at a 50s diner and that was a nice cool treat. I drank a bunch of ice water too. Hydration is important! It was a short drive to the park, and there I got a site, returned to Branson and got a 5 dollar Subway footlong for dinner and breakfast, and got back to my site. Set up my tent. Had a lengthy, cherished shower, and then ate half my sandwich, worked on my scrap book and journal, then went to sleep right as the sun went down.

And oh did I sleep. It was warm, not windy or rainy, and just all around wonderful. I woke up 7ish and then just let myself nod back asleep. I’ll take my sleep when I can get it.

I showered once again in the morning, and had the other half of my sandwich. I think I’ll go find another State Park in Missouri camp there, and then go down into Arkansas tomorrow. But first I need to restock my food: bread, PB&J, apples, carrots. Need em! This isn’t a big state, so it’ll probably be only (only!) 3 hours of driving.

3-4 hours: easy no problem, 4-6: oi this’ll take a while, 6+: well, I’ll just plan a day to drive towards there and find a rest stop.

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