Thursday, June 21, 2012

day 12: da na na na na na batman!

when we got up this morning it was nice and rainy - just like home! we knew we wanted to go to some sort of caverns and so we figured why not just head down the road to the Fantastic Caverns? we managed to get our tickets just before a large bus load of kids came in so we were the tour before them. good thing! there were so many of them they filled two tour trucks! Timmy got to sit in the front next to the tour lady while the rest of us sat in the trailer. 

we saw some amazing formations built after many thousands to millions of years. there was only one bat to scare mom but he didn't come too close to us. there was one section that was pure calcium and the columns were pure white and sparkling. it was a steady 60 degrees in the cavern which felt a little like home. it was interesting when the guide would shut off the lights and show how terrible the lightening had been back in the day. the first people to explore the cave saw only a fraction of the wonders that were there. we even got to see two large sinkholes that were in the cavern. one has a hour long crawl to see where the bats live but we didn't get to do that. 

the first ladies to explore the cave left their names printed on the wall of the cavern. on the tour they showed us how the area would have looked back when it was first found and how they would have mined for saltpeter. 

in the lobby there was a cool old Willys Flat Fender. tim and i thought we were so cool with our new bat hats. hehe

when we were talking to the owners of the Fantastic Caverns they told us that we should stop by Bass Pro Shop. we figured sure why not? wow we were not ready for that at all. it was *huge* they had live turtles and fish and supposedly a live alligator but not all of us believe it was alive. but the store was just massive, we didn't even see everything in the 45 minutes we were there! they had one section decorated to feel like you were underwater with the ceiling like the lake with the bottom of the boat up there and everything. 

after we finally found our way out of that city in a store we had a lot of ground to cover to the next town we wanted to see. we kept driving until we got to Devil's Elbow. there weren't many buildings but we did stop by the post office to mail some postcards and because this was one of the stops on the route. there wasn't much inside but a few trinkets so we kept rolling. 

one of the many signs in missouri that "marked" the route.
half the time they just helped us to get more lost. 
we continued down the road until we arrived in Rolla. here we found a couple of old trading posts. on the west end of town was the Totem Pole Trading Post. we wandered in and looked around for a bit but the cool antiques were well over priced and we had a long ways to go yet. 


when we got to the east end of town we found the Mule Trading Post. there was a cool old man who we stopped to talk to for a bit. 

then we moved just a little ways down the road and saw the world's largest rocking chair in Cuba, Missouri. they also had an indoor archery range but brooke and tonka didn't want to shock the people there with their sharp shooting abilities. 

also in Cuba was the old Wagon Wheel Motel which is largely unchanged from the old day of route 66.  it looked so cute and really well up kept. 

we still had a ways to go until we stopped for the night and we just had some I-40 driving. so to keep ourselves entertained brooke and i thought we would wear our lovely bat hats and watch the scenery. we only got a few strange looks from other motorists hehe.

we passed a small town where each business had a mural painted on a wall and has a nicely restored Conoco station. 

we finally made it to our KOA in Stanton. while we were gone there was the lynden fishing derby which timmy was really excited to be a part of. so to make up for missing it dad and timmy took fishing poles and they finally got to break them out and use them in this catch and release area. timmy caught a whole bunch of fish! 

only 2 days left of our trip!

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