You know you need to get caught up on blogging when you are writing about the Midwest while sitting on the beach in Florida. It seems a little out of whack but sometimes that’s how things go on the road. Since our last post we made it down through the midwest to our winter destination at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in the Florida Panhandle.
After Entegra, we stopped in St. Louis for a visit with family. We arrived on a gorgeous fall day with the sun shining on golden leaves and temperatures well into the 70’s. Not too far from my parents house is Dr. Edmund A. Babler State Park which has a campground, a really nice campground, in fact. Great location, nice campground, and has miles of trails to explore the suburban St. Louis woods – score! (Click here for a our RV park review.)
In a big city like St. Louis there is always something new to do and see. On this trip, we took the short drive down to Eureka to see the Route 66 State Park and Museum and Purina Farms. Dubbed “The Main Street of America” this iconic highway spans from Los Angeles to Chicago and represents a part of Americana. During its heyday, in the mid-20th century, Route 66 was alive with American’s new found love for traveling in the automobile. Speeds were lower and car travel was leisurely. The route was lined with roadhouses, motor lodges, roadside attractions, scenic views and became the embodiment of independence and the spirit of adventure.
Sadly, the official Route 66 is no more as it was decommissioned in 1985 but the nostalgia and embodiment of this famous road still persist. The state park visitor center is in an old roadhouse (with its roots dating back to 1935) and keeps the memories of this iconic road alive with interesting memorabilia. The 419-acre park also offers plenty of recreational opportunities with miles of hiking, equestrian, and cycling trails.
A few miles away from the Route 66 State Park was Purina Farms. Purina Farms is a great place for anyone who wants to learn about animals of all sorts from the barnyard to the house. The goal of the farm is to celebrate the many ways that animals enrich our lives and does this by offering a variety of educational and entertaining programs. We started out at the cow milking demonstration where a feisty Holstein was somewhat cooperative while children learned where their milk really comes from. Then we moseyed through the petting area on our way to the canine performances where eager pups dock dive, catch high-flying frisbees, and skillfully run through agility courses. As part of their outreach program animals on the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team are taken to various locations throughout the city. Professional trainers answer pet care questions and allow guests to pet the dogs and cats. Throughout the year, Purina Farms hosts special events when the farm comes alive with barnyard babies, wagon rides through the farm, and lots of animal–themed family fun.
After St. Louis we sped over to Louisville to catch up with our good friends Linda and Rob (of My Quantum Discovery Blog). We were having a water pump issue and Rob offered to put in a new one that Entegra supplied. How nice is that? In no time, Rob had our problem fixed but the best part was that we got to hang out with them for a few days (and buy a couple more bottles of Kentucky bourbon).
Driving down I-65, I happened to be reading the blog No Bad Days RV’ing (from our good friends Rhonda and Susan) and noticed they were on I-65 heading south to Nashville. Quickly I grabbed the phone and texted to see where they were going for their next stop in hopes of meeting up with them. While we didn’t plan on spending the night in Nashville, we weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to see them. We scored the last open site in the park which happened to be right next to them. Turns out we both have new RVs since we last got together so we spent the afternoon touring each others rigs and shared travel stories over dinner. What a lucky catch-up that was!
The next day we said our goodbyes and were off traveling south on a rural road with little traffic and smooth surface. We spent one night at a nice state park (Frank Jackson SP) in Opp, Alabama where we got a site with a great water view and enjoyed the hiking trails lined with Halloween scarecrows. The scarecrows are an annual event and local businesses and residents put up hundreds of them along the trails. Many depict scenes reflecting their business such as the local landscape company that had a scarecrow with a fern on his head and pruning shears in his hand. Some of the scarecrows were a little creepy and I was a little unnerved jogging past them in the early morning fog.
The next day we arrived at our destination in Santa Rosa Beach Florida, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, where we will be volunteering for a couple of months. Look us up if you happen to be in the area or come by and say hello.