Lee’s Summit, MO
Places We Visited:
National World War I Museum
Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center
National Frontier Trails Museum
1879 Chicago & Alton RR Depot
Staying in one area for a week (woo hoo!)
Staying in two camp sites within the same campground
Eating a traditional s’more – A
Independently approaching a tour guide to ask a question – A
Accidentally traveling to another state – J, B, A, F, C
First things first—if you’re wondering, it appears we did NOT sustain any damage from the dead tree limb falling on our airstream last Monday. Swew.
So, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting at our dining table while a light rain patters on the roof; Aidan and Fiona are cozy on our bed watching Harry Potter and eating chips and hummus (yes, we’ve already become more relaxed about food in the bed ;), Jimmy’s working and Cassidy’s napping while we wait out the coming storm before hitting the road and heading to Kansas. . . .
It’s been a good week—it was so nice to stay in one spot (relatively speaking)—easier to relax and get into the groove. The kids and I visited some very cool places in the mornings and even got some homeschooling in in the afternoons. Jimmy’s still been working non-stop and hasn’t really left the airstream (unless it’s to take a phone call outside because the monkeys have invaded the house).
A re-cap of our week:
August 21: The eclipse! We were in a campground just outside of Columbia, MO and Jimmy was keeping an eye on the weather—clouds and thunderstorms had been predicted pretty much all day, but mid-morning the predictions changed—sunshine! And sure enough, throughout the eclipse we had clear skies. We watched from a field about 100 feet from our campsite and “experienced totality” together—we were all amazed and as soon as the moon began to move past the sun again, Fiona looked at me and said, “I would pay a thousand dollars to see that again.”
I don’t think any of us was expecting to get emotional about the eclipse, but it was truly awe-inspiring. I kinda wished I’d made a bigger deal out of it ahead of time, but. . . ya’ know, we had a couple other things going on and we did what we could; that morning we’d researched the science of a solar eclipse and also what ancient people thought about eclipses. Another big thank you to Julie from St. Charles (our RV neighbor at Pheasant Acres in St. James) for giving us eclipse glasses! They worked beautifully and none of us was blinded! 😉
After the eclipse we finished packing up and headed out—originally, we’d planned to stay another night, but another storm was headed our way and we didn’t want to weather it in that campground again.
It was a longer drive than expected to our next stop—we hit post-eclipse traffic coming out of Columbia and caught some edges of the storm that was heading east, but after about four hours we pulled into Blue Springs Campground. Aaaaahhh.
Backed into site #9 with Jimmy’s help and only moderate arguing (I was hangry and the Papa John’s pizza we’d stopped to get was sitting in the passenger seat taunting me. Side note: Bob D. no giardiniera** option on Papa John’s pizza in Missouri?! What gives?? They do have the GF option, though, so Jimmy and Fi were psyched ;).
Anyway, after some pizza at our picnic table we were all feeling much better and were approached by a neighbor with a question about our airstream (I have to say, one of the unexpected and very cool side effects of the airstream is that people want to talk to you about it! We’ve met several great families with the airstream-icebreaker. . . .). We began to chat and then her husband walked over to introduce himself and he invited us all over to their campsite later—it was such a great introduction to our new campground—Denver and Connie and their three kids hosted us that night and we chatted about travel and they gave us so many recommendations about traveling and sight-seeing in Texas. Denver and Connie—if you’re reading this, I hope you and your family are safe and our hearts go out to all Texans during the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
August 22: we stayed at Blue Springs Campground but had to move across the street to site #7 (more backing-in practice!). We loved this site—there was a huge shade tree and a large grassy hill at the edge of our site—so beautiful.
We had our neighbors, Jan and John, over for a short tour of the airstream before they headed out—hope your travel dreams come true soon!
Fiona and I trekked to the laundry house several times that afternoon—there was only one washer and dryer, so we brought over a camp chair and snuggled and read while we waited to change the laundry. There was something so wonderful about taking our time to do a single task all afternoon: walk a load of laundry to the laundry house, wash, read, dry, read, fold, walk it back to the camper, repeat. . . .
August 23: (Happy Birthday, Coco!) The kids and I headed to Kansas City, MO to visit the National World War I museum—such a well-done museum and the short movie at the beginning of our visit gave one of the most succinct overviews of all the factors that contributed to the start of the war. Besides many glass cases filled with WWI artifacts, there were replica tanks and a bunker for viewing as well as an interactive room where the kids could create their own digital war propaganda posters (this coincided with the current special exhibit) and there were these glass-enclosed, “quiet” rooms where you could sit and listen to WWI-era music, poetry and prose. We also went outside and took an elevator to the top of the tower for views of Kansas City.
August 24: I took the kids to Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center in Blue Springs—such a nice place! The Nature Center itself is big and sunny with lots of interactive exhibits about animals (and many animal puppets! Aidan and Fiona put on a show for Cass 🙂 Also, bird feeders lined one side of the Center and we saw hummingbirds flitting about—so cool! We visited the outdoor classroom (it had a wigwam!) and took a walk on one of the paved trails that had pages from a story about a little gray wolf posted along the path—surprisingly, though I usually have to twist Aidan’s arm to read aloud, he read the whole book to Cassidy as we walked along.
August 25: I took the kids to the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, MO—Independence was one of the main “jumping off” places for the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails in the 1800’s. Since we’ll be traveling along parts of the Santa Fe Trail route, we’re studying it and the pioneers in our homeschool so this museum was really fitting. Such a great little museum and it looks like there are plans to update and renovate it as well. The kids were not as interested as I was about the glass cases filled with artifacts but loved packing the 1/4 size wagon with supplies the pioneers took—as vegetarian pioneers, they left the bacon behind and never exceeded the wagon’s weight limit.
Just on the other side of the Trails Museum’s parking lot is the 1879 Chicago & Alton RR Depot—we almost didn’t stop in as it was getting close to Cassidy’s nap time, but I’m SO glad we did. We met our tour guide, Brian Stone, in the main room of the depot and he took us on such a lovely tour. We were the only visitors at the time to the small, two-story depot and Brian took his time talking about and demonstrating items in which he thought we’d be interested.
The second floor of the railroad depot was where the stationmaster’s family would’ve lived and it was set up to look like it would have in the late 1800’s. Brian really personalized the tour for the kids, asking them their ages and talking about what chores they would’ve done. The kids were so engaged it reminded me that THIS is how history comes alive for them—I’d been frustrated that they weren’t reading the placards in the glass cases at the Trails museum, but here, at the depot, they were enthralled because Brian was connecting it to them, to their modern world. An hour and 20 minutes in, when I had to cut the tour short to head home and give Cass her well-overdue nap, both Aidan and Fiona said they didn’t want to leave and begged to come back another day. Thank you, Brian! Great tour!
We had some errands to run and Jimmy mapped out our route to Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. Navigating the route amid road construction, detours, and our sadistic GPS (traveling down the highway, she suddenly instructed us to exit, travel through an industrial section of town and get back on the highway where we’d just exited. Seriously) proved a bit more than we’d been anticipating and, three hours later, when we finally made it to Whole Foods and noticed we were surrounded only by Kansas license plates we realized we’d crossed the border a couple days early 🙂
August 26: we were enjoying staying put in this nice campground and tried to stay another day but there were no sites available so we moved a mile away to Jacomo Campground for one night. Another great campground and this one was full of kids! We had a campfire and the kids played tag with a neighbor.
August 27: this brings us to today—we’ll be packing up and heading into Kansas this afternoon. . . .
Looking forward to the next leg of our trip!