Friday, August 25, 2017

Eclipse Weekend continued

Robller Winery is near New Haven, about 13 miles east of Hermann and only about 30 miles from the outskirts of St Louis.  Our plan was to spend the night somewhere around the area after their Reggae Jam Party on Sunday afternoon and watch the eclipse from the winery’s hillside on Monday, joining in their “Eclipse Party.”

Somewhere between a bottle of wine and “Jamin’” and “Stir it Up,”,  we decided that location may be crowded with St Louis area watchers.  So, after the last tropical beat, we took off for Mexico Missouri, a small town about 15 miles north of the exit on I70 for Hermann where there is a large gun reloading store that Dan wanted to visit on Monday morning.  Mexico is a small town but they have an excellent little city campground with electricity and even a dump station for $10 a night.  I found this quiet, little gem by using AllStays,  an indispensable app for those who roadtrip like we do,  a plan with no reservations.

While Mexico was still on the fringe of the totality area, we decided to go for the middle 63 miles away at Booneville Missouri.  Surprisingly there still wasn’t much traffic on I70.  We arrived at  New Franklin right outside of Booneville in plenty of time to unload the bikes and ride about 15 miles on the KATY  by the Roundhouse campground, called that because it was a roundhouse location.  The extremely friendly owner let us park for a few hours without any charge.  (We drove by a place in Booneville wanting $20 to park with others somewhat less). 

  Here are a few pictures from the memorable event

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As we rode up and back on the KATY there were a lot of bikers who road out onto the trail to watch—actually a cool idea.  They were all watching their phones for weather updates.  Luckily, just as the moon slipped over the sun, the clouds thinned out enough to get an excellent view, for at least one or maybe two minutes, all the while with cheers , whistling and somewhere far off, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.

We left immediately after the event.  Getting through Boonville was stop and go, which should have been a clue to what was ahead.  As we approached the overpass entrance to I70 we could not believe the line of traffic as far off to the west as we could see.   It looked to be standing still—or at least hardly moving.  In our great, spur of the moment wisdom, we just kept going—south to Sedalia and Hwy 50.  We never encountered any stopped traffic and hit nearly every light on 135th street  to 7 Hwy north to 10 into Lawrence.  And, we escaped the terrible rain as well. 

The PW is clean from the four inches of rain we received Monday night and put away. Yes, it was a quick trip, but one that we will remember that is for sure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse and other sunny happenings

Last week, while contemplating the fact that we have not used the PW since early June, we decided we would do a familiar roadtrip east to the Hermann area and wine country.  It happens that that area is also in the “path.”

Had we prepared for the trip as planned on Friday, we would have been ready to leave before we actually did at 12:00 noon Saturday.  What happened to our Friday is something that will have to be written about later.  Let’s just say it involves a RV generator, repair shop and a progression of mechanic calls.

So, anyway, back to the road trip that got underway at noon, Saturday.  Hermann is at least a five hour drive in the RV.  That may run 5 1/2 hours if I drive, which I did for a while.  Dan took a nap, which is about the only way he can stand my slow driving.  The traffic was not much different than normal making us wonder why MDOT had signs all over the place asking drivers to, “plan ahead” and “expect heavy traffic.”   We found out on Monday that someone at the office had a magic eight ball.

Our first stop in Hermann is the little Loutre grocery store north of town to grab a bottle of wine for our picnic supper at the Herman waterfront park.  I had planned on burgers with trimmings, but the grocery store was just putting out freshly fried fish.  We went with that.

The Hermann Waterfront Park is a big expanse along the river with well maintained grass and benches.  And we had the park to ourselves so we just spread the tablecloth out and enjoyed the river and fishing boats buzzing up and down.  One boat was working its way around a breakwater across the river from us when a big school of Asian Carp jumped all around the boat.  We watched as the boat turned around numerous times going back and forth through the school.  There were a few choice words expressed about how we forgot the binoculars.

As we were finishing, a couple walked up to ask about our RV.  As can sometimes happen, we found at least an hour of interesting topics to cover with these two complete strangers.  Turns out they were from Chicago and the Mr.  (don’t think we even asked names) was something like a water engineer for the city.  He shared how the cities around the Great Lakes were dealing with Zebra Mussels and Asian Carp.  Fascinating.  But, to top things off, the Mrs. was a geocacher!  So, we were off to find a geocache that I knew was there at the waterfront because I’ve looked before to no avail.  The two of us were successful.  We marveled at we actually found someone else “our age” who does this hobby.

Look closely at this picture to see a group of kids that threw rocks in the river the entire time we were there.  Always a treat to watch the sun go down over the Missouri River.

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There was some discussion as to where we would spend the night.  There is a campground in Hermann, but it was noisy and the only spots were cramped.   Since the KATY trail access point at McKittrick (right across the river from Hermann) is signed not to be accessed after dark, we stayed at the Loutre grocery store parking lot a few hundred feet away.  The next morning, we headed a mile west,  then back about nine miles east where we encountered a downed tree across the trail.  It was a cool morning and a beautiful ride.

Next on to Robller Winery at New Haven, further east down the river from Hermann.  We like this winery.  It has a family feel and friendliness that some of the Hermann wineries have lost.  And, we wanted to spend the afternoon sipping wine and enjoying their Reggae Splash weekend.  Glad we did because The Driftaways were a fun, entertaining group.  (the web site takes a bit to load, but sample of music is on the bottom of page).

Well, it’s late and I better continue this tomorrow.