Friday, August 21, 2015

The World's Largest Everything

Day 2, Aug. 21, 2015
The World's Largest Wind Chimes

Noon break update: We passed a peaceful night at Mile Marker 163 on I-70 in Ohio. We both slept REALLY well, and quite honestly, I wasn’t ready to wake up at 7 when the alarm went off. Neither was Joe—we ended up snuggling until 7:30, before we reluctantly decided if we wanted to ever get to St. Louis, we’d better hit the road.  The weather when we woke up was delightful—in the low 60s, no humidity, and sunny. A big improvement over the muggy humidity we’d left behind in New Jersey!

Another issue we had when we left HP, besides our full waste tank, was the fact that Joe noticed that Sam (the RV, that is) was due for an oil change. It would have been nice to have this done BEFORE we left, of course….. but whatever. His first thought was, he would just do it himself. But we don’t happen to have the oil pan etc. that we need, although they are easily purchased.  So we spent a bit of time this morning fruitlessly looking for a place that might be able to do the oil change for us. We tried a TA truck stop (they advertise oil changes on their billboards, but they said they only do trucks, not RVs) and two Camping World stores.  The first one said they could “give us an appointment at the end of September”!!  The second one was going to do it today, but after we found out they would charge $129/hour for labor AND it would take at least an hour and a half, we decided that was ridiculous.  So other than finding several goodies at the Camping World, we had no luck. At least, Cassie got to roll in the grass while we waited for Joe at the TA stop. We are now on the lookout for the next auto parts store or Walmart to pick up an oil pan, an oil filter, oil, and a new windshield wiper for the passenger side (which we also need.) Looks like more RV maintenance on the road is in our future.

We just finished easing our disappointment at a very ugly but nearby highway rest area, with tuna/egg sandwiches with avocado slices. And now we are proceeding toward St. Louis for the night, where I made a reservation at the St. Louis RV Park, which is essentially a parking lot (but it does have hookups and showers) and is within 15 minutes walking distance of downtown St. Louis, which is tomorrow’s adventure.

Evening update: Our afternoon went smoothly. We cruised through the rest of Indiana—a really uninteresting state, I have to say, for the most part. In Illinois, we added another “two state” town to our collection—Kansas, Illinois—which was at the same exit as our first “tourist stop”. We saw ads for “The World’s Largest Wind Chime”, and we simply HAD to stop and see it. We really love wind chimes! This was in the town of Casey, which turned out to be a small (population 3,000) town with two stop lights, which is luring people off the interstate with a collection of “world’s largest” items. This is small-town Americana at its best.

We found the World’s Largest Wind Chime in a lovely little grassy park adjacent to an adorable little café which sold ice cream, sandwiches, and wind chimes. The World's Largest Wind Chime itself would probably need gale force winds to ring it, because the wind catcher was down at ground level. However, there was a rope attached to the clapper, and Joe and I both rang the chimes. They were very deep and resonant, as one would expect.

The other interesting thing besides their size immediately struck us—the frame is supported by braces shaped like Stars of David and the Christian fish symbol. We hoped to find out more about them in the café, but there was no information there (the Christian music station and the “Have a blessed day” sign were in keeping with the theme, however.)

Casey is also home to the World’s Largest Golf Tee, which we skipped, and future home of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, the base of which is already in place. In checking on the Internet as I wrote this blog, I found out we somehow missed the World’s Largest Knitting Needles which supposedly are right across the street at the cute little yarn store which caught my eye. I have no idea where they might have been hiding the knitting needles—I didn’t see them (I did see a really large wooden ear of corn there as we drove past). However, we did NOT miss what might be one of the World’s Largest Pencils. It is on the corner of the main intersection a couple of blocks from the Wind Chimes, and it has a quote on it from the book of Proverbs.  Casey’s motto is “Big Things in a Small Town.” Pretty soon people will have to schedule at least an hour’s stop there to take in all the World’s Largest Everythings.

Continuing across most of Illinois, we stopped again at 4pm at Walmart, where we had a very successful shopping trip. We picked up all the items we needed to change the RV’s oil, as well as a toaster (which I’ve wanted in the RV for a while), a few other small items, and ice cream. I said to Joe as we left, “motor oil and ice cream—your typical Walmart checkout!” Joe’s comment:” Just don’t mix them up!”

After that, we headed for St. Louis in earnest—I had told them we’d arrive around 7:00. We were a little behind schedule (I hadn’t accounted for the stop in Casey) but crossed the Mississippi River in the early dusk, with the sun gleaming off the (what I assume is the World's Largest) St. Louis Arch. Our RV “park” is the antithesis of what we’d usually prefer—it’s an urban parking lot with hookups (although there IS a pool and all the other important facilities.) Also it has excellent wifi. The primary selling point is, as I mentioned, that tomorrow we can walk to the City Museum. We saw its roof on our way through the neighborhood—the ferris wheel on the roof was turning, and I could see the enormous praying mantis and a few other features. We are very excited to go—everyone says it is awesome.

So we're finished with dinner (chicken burritos) and it's basically time to go to sleep. Our bodies are one hour behind--officially we are now on Central Time.  It was noisy a little while ago—we heard fireworks and then some REALLY loud music coming from someplace in the neighborhood. But it's quiet now, and anyway we don’t care, we can sleep through anything. Looking forward to another good night’s rest and then some unhurried fun tomorrow.

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