June 27th, 2016, 7:25 pm, Ed Babler Memorial State Park, Wildwood, Missouri
I slept really well last night. The weather lightened up. If it did rain during the night, it was nothing stormy. I did have a lot of weird dreams which I am attributing to the Mexican Dinner. There were a series around a former Carson teacher, Darren Smith. He was becoming very successful. He took some new position and immediately started jumping up the ranks. One of the dreams was an actual slide show with his accomplishments. In what must have been lucid moments, I remember thinking how I needed to let Darren know right away. He needed me to tell him to take the position so everything would work out. I know. Pretty weird topic for a dream.
Anyway, I woke up totally rested at 6:00am. I didn't really appreciate that. I knew I couldn't leave for Babler State Park before ten o'clock, and I didn't really feel like laying around in the camper doing nothing. Remember, there were no trails. This place was a parking lot. I put my walking clothes on anyway and did circles around the place. Not very exciting, but I got a lot of steps in.
At 9:00, I called Babler to see when I could check in. I got a voice recording that took my name and number and promised to call me back as soon as possible. I started doing my departure prep, hoping for a call.
At 10:00, I called Babler again. I got to leave another message. I finally decided just to hit the road. If I couldn't get into the park early, I would find a WalMart.
The trip up was very nice. I had more than enough gas to make it, so I never had to stop. I listened to the end of a really good book on Audible, and that really made the time fly.
When I got to the park, I couldn't find headquarters. I just drove around and around in the beautiful forest for a while, but nothing looked like a place to check in. I decided I needed to go back to the front entrance and try again. The only problem was that I had no idea how to get there. Then I thought of a plan. I told Siri to get directions to Annie Gunn's restaurant. I knew that it was pretty close to the park, and Siri would have to route me to the front gate to get there. It worked.
I pulled up to a bulletin board that I had missed before. There was a box for park maps, so I jumped out of the truck to get one. The box was empty. Then I saw a sign that said something like, "Sign in at the Campground Kiosk". I followed the signs with the camping symbol. They finally pointed to what I had originally thought was a walking path to the campsites. I pulled onto the tiny little winding road and ended up in front of a little guard shack with a stop sign near it.
There was nobody there, but a sign said to find the park host in site #35. That was right next to my truck, so I went over and knocked on the door. A lady came out, walked me back to the shack, and checked me in.
I got to my sight. I had to back in, but that hasn't been a problem for me lately. I have learned to make tiny changes to the steering wheel and just follow the trailer back. I hop out and make sure I am on course sometimes. (Maybe I should've backed in last night!)
The sight is large and very shady. I am surrounded by huge REAL trees. You get dizzy when you try to look up and see the tops of them. One has green peach-like things hanging on it. I think it is a hickory nut tree. I'm not sure. I'll ask Cousin Dave when I see him.
I plugged the AC in before taking the camper off the hitch. Since I am picking Rachel up at the airport tomorrow, I'm just going to do my regular camp set up. Besides, this is a two-nighter.
Once I was partially settled in, I changed into my walking clothes and hit the trail. The trailhead for the "paved bicycle trail" is right next to my site. It leads to all of the others. The funny thing, and I need to get a picture of it, is that there is a big sign that says, "NO BIKES". I'm sure there is a reason bikes can't use the bicycle trail. I just can't imagine what it might be.
I got back and stopped out of my soaked clothes. For those who don't know, St. Louis is the most humid spot on the earth. You Houstonians don't know from humid, so pipe down. The only place I have ever been that is more humid is Puerto Rico. Not even New Orleans. My clothes were dripping as if they had come out of the wash tub.
I cooled down pretty fast. It was about 75* in the Colby T when I got back from the hike. I sat here for a few minutes guzzling ice cold drinks made with electrolyte water flavoring. Have I mentioned how much I love the icemaker? After that, I ate a quick dinner.
I spent about an hour figuring out where I need to go to get Rachel tomorrow. I wasn't sure what terminal. Then I couldn't find an address for the cell phone lot.
OMG!!!! The park host just banged on the door and scared the HELL out of me. Nobody has ever come to my camper before. I thought I was in trouble for hanging my clothes out to dry like trailer trash. Some parks don't allow that. Instead, she just needed to tell me that there was a water leak and all of the water in the park is being shut down tomorrow at 7:30. They aren't sure how long that will take to fix. That's not a problem for me. The sites here don't have water anyway. I am using my fresh water tank that I filled up this morning. I am using my water conservation plan. That means don't use dishes that need washing and don't flush liquids. I can go as long as 5 days like that, if I have to.
Anyway, Rachel texted me and said that it its Terminal Two. I was able to find an address for that and feed it to Siri. She comes in at 7:10, so I will be driving in daylight, which is less scary for me. Over the years, I have actually only flown to St. Louis four times. We usually drove up in the summer. When I did fly in and out, someone else did the driving. When we came for the funeral, we took the shuttle to the rental car. Anyway, I'll survive it and get my Rachel to her Aunt Mildred's.
I'm going to relax and work on that box of Merlot now. I am really feeling worn out for the first time on this trip. I think it is the finality of actually reaching the end goal, St. Louis.
I am going to post once more tomorrow. After that, I am going to wait until I start the trip home on the 5th. My blog is about the trip. Not all the fun I have in St. Louis. You'll see that on FB!!