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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 5: Happy Birthday in Hannibal!

Today there was almost no driving. We got the hotel room for two nights.  We spent the day seeing the town!
First, and foremost, it is Lon's birthday! I packed his happy birthday shirt for him to wear. It is now in the pile of stuff to get mailed home.
He loves his DS and all the stuff he got from Auntie Theresa. I saved it for him so he would have something wonderful to open on his birthday.

This frosty mug of rootbeer spins around next to the Dinette. They really have wonderful food. Started 70 years ago!

Sheriff Lon. He got the sheriff's pin at the Jesse James house.
After a wonderful breakfast of pancakes for Lon, and eggs and hasbrowns for me, we were off to Mark Twain's boyhood home museum complex! It has 7 buildings in all. The only one not open is the Becky Thatcher house and it is under renovation.
The docent asked Lon if it was his birthday today. He said it was. His ticket to get into the museum was free.  How nice is that?
Building one is the interpretive center.  I know I have been putting in histories of the various things we see, however, this is Mark Twain stuff.
Inside Mark Twain's boy hood home.  Lon was having fun. He was a bit concerned now that he has his DS he would never ever be able to play it. We had a chat about it. His games are for the evening when all the stuff of the day is over.  If the DS ever interferes with going out and doing something, the DS is mine.  Seeing and Doing are more important.
 Lon wanted to know how Tom Sawyer did that. It would be a useful skill to have,
Two blocks down is the Mark Twain Museum. Great place.
Blowing the steam boat whistle
Comparing ship dioramas.
 After the museum, Lon wanted to go on the Trolley Tour. Those can be lots of fun, so we paid our ticket and had to wait only about 10 minutes. We had the characters of Becky and Tom on our trolley. Becky gave Lon a frog. A plastic bendy stretchy frog
The Tom and Huck statue.  The first statue ever made of fictional characters, or so the tour guide said. 
We drove up to an overlook in Riverview park.  She stopped the trolley, letting us out to take photos. 
Lon and the Mark Twain Statue. 
Watching the Mighty Mississippi.
The Trolley Tour took us out to the Mark Twain Caves. Not something that was ever on my list. Lon wanted to go. We walked up to the hotel, got the car and went out there. At 1:45pm it was 98 degrees.  The caves are supposed to be 58 all year long.  I am terrified of caves.  But it was Lon's birthday so we went.  
Lon passed the sign that said no refunds after this point. We really were going to do this. 
Just inside. They have lights on, sort of. 
Lon would pat my arm every so often and tell me I was doing fine. 
Off to the side of our path
Last photo of the inside of the cave. When it was lit up it was not so bad. I tried hard not to think of the 50 feet of earth above my head.
On our way back to town, we stopped at Lover's Leap. To get a good photo and to see if I could find cell service. One out of two.
Lon had the option of going back to the hotel room or going up to see the lighthouse before we went on our dinner cruise.  Lon chose the light house. We are less than half way up the 247 steps. This is the old Mark Twain bridge. It not longer pans the Mississippi.
January 9, 2001
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- In an instant, a big chunk of one of this historic town's most prominent landmarks came crashing down. A 300-foot span of the old Mark Twain Memorial Bridge was imploded Monday morning. The span took months to build in the mid-1930s, but came down in seconds. The 64-year-old, two-lane bridge closed in September when a new, four-lane bridge opened a few hundred yards upriver.
Not a working aid to navigation. And it was closed off at the top of the stairs. We got a workout in the heat today!
We stopped for ice cream at Becky Thatcher's. Lon got Birthday cake, and I found the charm for Hannibal. Huck and Tom just like the statue.
On our way to the river cruise. Aboard the Mark Twain. While we were waiting for the train to pass, the Captain of our vessel was also there. He asked Lon to come up to the wheel house after dinner.
Our table. In the middle of the first floor dinning room
Our vessel
Having fun exploring the ship
Out the window.
Lon liked his dessert. The lady behind him gave Lon her dessert too, since she did not want a brownie. Lon was not so impressed with the food. He had a baked potato and some rolls. The food was not so great for me either. But everyone else seemed to like it alot. It was fun, and not so much about the food we decided
Lon's big surprise! He got to drive the boat! He took it very seriously. He did a good job keeping the ship between the navigational becons.
Happy boy
watching the shore glide by
Sunset on the Mississippi
After dinner, Lon wanted to stroll through town again. Nothing was open but Chocolaterie Stam. Of course we stopped in for some birthday cake gelato. He also got a few chocolates he ate on the way back to the hotel room. We really can not travel with chocolates in the car. They become soup.
I think Lon had a good day today. I had fun today too.

Time to move on in the morning.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 4: Museums in Missouri!

We stayed at a very nice place last night. I really enjoyed the nice hotel! We had a hard time finding a room in Council Bluffs! Seems there was an Olympic Swim Trial there!  Good thing we did not want to use the pool last night.  This morning as we are checking out of the hotel, we went down to breakfast, it was as if it was attacked by locusts. There was nothing left! We just went on down the road. It was a beautiful day!
  We stopped at the first rest stop on Highway 29 south. It was more of a sanity check than a rest stop. I did not leave anything at the hotel in Council Bluffs.  Whew!
We drove down the road a bit and saw a sign that said Lewis and Clark Museum.  Lon said, sure let's go ! It took us about 3 miles off the highway and back across into Nebraska, but it was SO worth it!

A replica of one of the barges.
Lon was fascinated by Seaman. The dog Lewis bought for 20 dollars in Pittsburgh.  He wants to know more about him.
And here is MORE!

Seamana black Newfoundland dog, became famous for being a member of the first American overland expedition from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and back. He was the only animal to complete the entire trip. He was purchased for $20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Captain Meriwether Lewis while he was in the city awaiting completion of the boats for the voyage in August 1803, for his famed Lewis and Clark expedition.
During the expedition, around May 14, 1805, both Captains, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, performed surgery on one of Seaman's arteries in his hind leg, that had been severed by a beaver bite. In early 1806, as the expedition was beginning the return journey, Seaman was stolen by Indians and Lewis threatened to send three armed men to kill the Indian tribe. Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery ate 263 dogs while traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail, but Lewis' Newfoundland dog Seaman was spared.
The final reference to Seaman in the journals, recorded by Lewis on July 15, 1806, states that "[T]he musquetoes continue to infest us in such manner that we can scarcely exist; for my own part I am confined by them to my bier at least 3/4 of the time. my dog even howls with the torture he experiences from them.      
Due to a transcription error in Lewis' journals, the dog was once thought to have been named Scannon. However, during Donald Jackson's 1916 study of Lewis and Clark place-names in Montana, he found that Lewis had named a tributary of the Blackfoot River Seaman’s Creek (now Monture Creek) and concluded that the true name of the dog was "Seaman".
In her book Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale Laurie Myers reports that Lewis and Clark scholar, Jim Holmberg, discovered a book written in 1814 which listed epitaphs, and inscriptions. The book lists an inscription of a dog collar in a museum in Virginia. This has also been reported by Timohty Alden The inscription reads: "The greatest traveller of my species. My name is SEAMAN, the dog of captain Meriwether Lewis, whom I accompanied to the Pacific ocean through the interior of the continent of North America." Holmberg's research was published in the February 2000 issue of "We Proceeded On", the newsletter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
In 2008, Seaman became the official mascot of Lewis & Clark College's Pioneers.
A monument to Seaman stands in front of the Custom House in Cairo, Illinois. Other monuments and statues that include Seaman can be found in St. Louis, Missouri, St. Charles, Missouri, Jefferson City, Missouri, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa, Washburn, North Dakota, Overlook Park in Great Falls, Montana, and in Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Seaside, Oregon.
Putting together a puzzle of a badger skeleton. They did not have any references to what it really was until you were done. The Corps of Discovery sent just a skeleton and a pelt back, to see if someone could figure out what it was!
The kids could go into and look at everything. It was a wonderful place. I am SO glad we stopped. It was amazing!
Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!
I just had to put that reference in. We stopped to add a quart of oil, and Lon got a mid morning pizza. Not needing gas just yet.

Yes, this is across the street from a gas station
 Now we are in Missouri!
There was a small sign that said, Highway 29 closed at milepost 99. This was back at milepost 115 or so. Everyone kept going, there was traffic coming the other way. Once we got up to milepost 99, it was indeed closed. I called Mark and there was a very very bad wreck a little further up the road. We were routed off the highway for a 9 mile detour. On Route W and Highway 59. I thought it was great. Lon thought it was fun going through corn fields on a one lane country road. We were thankful that we were not behind the cow truck! It was loaded with cows about 15 cars behind us.
There used to be a town there, all the buildings were boarded up. There were some wonderful looking old buildings.
This is still a town, and you know why I had to take this photo. (Craig is a town in Alaska too)
Are these soybeans? Not sure what they are growing, I just know it is not corn.
IF Lon had not wanted to go to the Lewis and Clark center, we would have got to the wreck before they started diverting people onto the detour. Good thing he likes museums. We were moving slow, but we were moving and that makes a difference at 100 degrees (f)
St Joesph! The Pony Express Monument is not close to the Pony Express Stable Museum. They have ALOT of museums in St. Joseph. We could have gone to many many more, but we did to get to Hannibal sometime today
 We got in to St. Joseph at 12:54pm and it was 91 degrees
What a great old sign ! It is near the Pony Express Stables
The Museum of the Pony Express
The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the High Sierra from St. Joseph, Missouri, toSacramento, California, from April 3, 1860 to October 1861. It became the west's most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph and was vital for tying California closely with the Union just before the American Civil War.
The Pony Express was a mail delivery system of the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express Company of 1849 which in 1850 became the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company. This firm was founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell all of whom were notable in the freighting business.
Patee House served as the Pony Express headquarters from 1860 to 1861. It is one block away from the home of infamous outlaw Jesse James, where he was shot and killed by Robert Ford.
This original fast mail 'Pony Express' service had messages carried by horseback riders in staged relays to stations (with fresh horses and riders) across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the Western United States. During its 18 months of operation, it reduced the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about ten days, with telegraphic communication covering about half the distance across the continent and mounted couriers the rest.

Lon loves dioramas. He can spend hours looking at them. He learns what they are all about and then will tell me about what he sees. It is wonderful
He did not want to go into the dimly lit building. He wanted to see it, just from the door
Bits of stuff they found at various stations
Lon got a smashed penny, but I do not know where we put it for safe keeping. We will find it and soon
This is the Fire Museum of St. Joseph. Open by appointment only. We just could not wait around that long. It is right across the street from the Pony Express Museum
They docent told us it would be good if we went up to the Pattee House Museum. It was two blocks up the street, but we drove up.
More information:
The Patee House, also known as Patee House Museum, was completed in 1858 as a 140-room luxury hotel at 12th Street and Penn in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was one of the best-known hotels west of the Mississippi River.
The Patee House was built by John Patée as part of his Patee Town development around the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad station. Office space included the headquarters and eastern terminus of the Pony Express, founded in 1860 to provide fast overland mail service to the West Coast. During the American Civil War, the Union Army Provost Marshal's office was located in Patee House. The Army conducted war trials in the second floor ballroom.
After the war, the Patee Female College operated in the building from 1865-1868. Its space was taken over 1875-1880 by the St. Joseph Female College, founded in affiliation with the Baptist Church. These private schools were part of the postwar expansion of educational facilities for young women across the country.
After outlaw Jesse James was murdered in 1882 at his nearby home, his surviving family stayed at the hotel during the investigation of his death. It was then called World's Hotel. Later the building was adapted to house the R.L. McDonald shirt factory and other light industrial uses for 80 years.
Since 1963, the building has been operated as a museum of United States history, with an emphasis on transportation. An 1860 Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad steam locomotive and 1877 railroad depot are displayed inside the building.
In 2008 the museum was selected as one of "America's Top Ten Western Museums" by True West Magazine. It was also listed in 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.
The building was designated a National Historic Landmark for its role as the Pony Express headquarters. It marks the eastern terminus of the Pony Express National Historic Trail. The Jesse James Home Museum is located on Patee House grounds. Both are owned and operated by the Pony Express Historical Association, a not-for-profit organization.
An overview of the hotel.
We liked this little sleigh. They had a lot of stuff in this place!
This section was built up like a town, with store fronts.
A little bit on Twain's life in St. Joseph
In the back, there was a Carousel. Lon had fun riding it. He was the only one on it. The place was not crowded
A train, in the center part of the building.
Behind the Patee House, there was the Jessie James house. This is the house he was renting when he was killed.
Notorious outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed in this house on April 3, 1882. He was killed by Bob ford, a member of the James gang, to collect a $10,000 reward offered by Governor Tom Crittenden.
Jesse died at the age of 34 after living a lawless career for 16 years. He was living with his wife and two children under the assumed name of Tom Howard at the time of his death.
Jesse was shot from behind while he stood on a chair to straighten a picture in his own home. After the shooting, Jesse's wife and two children and his mother, Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, spent the next two nights at Patee House, which was then called the World's Hotel.
Today the James Home is a museum dealing with the life and death of Jesse James. In 1995 forensic scientist James Starrs exhumed the outlaw's body at Kearney, MO, for DNA tests. The results showed a 99.7% certainty that it was Jesse James who was killed here in 1882. Artifacts from the grave are now on display including the coffin handles, a small tie pin Jesse James was wearing the day he was killed; a bullet removed from his right lung area; and a casting of his skull, showing the bullet hole behind his right ear.
The Jesse James Museum is operated by the Pony Express Historical Association with all proceeds from admission charges going to help maintain both the James Home and Patee House Museum.
The James Home was originally located about two blocks north of its present location, at 1318 Lafayette Street, on a high hill overlooking Patee House. In 1939 it was moved to the Belt Highway in St. Joseph as a tourist attraction.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Keatley purchased the James Home in 1977 and donated it to the Pony Express Historical Association.
Lon was amazed at the amount of guns Jessie James had. It was alot.
But it was time to get onto Highway 36 and go
across Missouri to Hannibal on the Mississippi!
We got gas in Cameron Mo, at 2:45 in the afternoon. Mileage was 1954.8 We got 9.25 gallons of gas at $3.24
We saw a sign for Jack Pershing Boyhood Home. We had to go check it out. Down another dirt road. Sadly it was 4:15 and the home was already closed, but the school house was still open.

Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site in Lacede, Missouri, is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a state historic site. General John Joseph "Jack" Pershing lead the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I and attained the rank of General of the Armies.
The historic site preserves and interprets the boyhood home of Pershing and the one-room Prairie Mound School at which he taught for a year after graduating from Missouri Normal School (now Truman State University) and prior to entering the United States Military Academy. The Pershing's family moved into the house in Laclede in 1866 when he was six years old and stayed there until 1885. The site was acquired by the state in 1952 and dedicated to the memory of General Pershing and the soldiers who served under him.

Battle flags that Pershing used, and some posters

Inside the school house. Not sure why I have a large break here. I will try to fix it later
The General's sword, watch and a ring. 
Did you know that General Pershing, while a cadet at West Point, invented the jumping jack?  
Lon did not know what this was. A root cellar! 
Back on the road
We saw another brown sign on the road. Walt Disney ! We drove through Marceline, Mo. and it was closed. I was sad, Lon was sad. It is almost 50 miles to Hannibal, too far to back track. We will see about it on some other trip.
The Walt Disney Hometown Museum contains a unique collection of Disney family effects, not able to ve viewed anywhere else in the world. Visitors to the museum are treated to interpretive exhibits focusing on the Disney family, Walts life in Marceline as well as friends and family who supported him in his creative adventures while growing up.Also availabe at the museum are hundreds of personal letters written between Disney family members, the only park attraction to leave and be operated outside of a Disney park, as well as other artifacts, effects and personal belongings from Disney family members.
The Walt Disney Hometown Museum is a private venture and its mission is to "Ensure that the world never forgets that Walt Disney was a simple farm boy from Marceline who grew up to become the keeper of childhood magic."
I really want to come back here!
We made it to Hannibal, without anymore stops. It was after 5 and not much was open anyway.
After a slight bump with our hotel. We had to change hotels, but it all worked out well. We are spending two days here in Hannibal. At the Best Western.
I forgot to get the camera out of the car when we walked across the street to the Mark Twain Dinette. In business now for 70 years. Best. Burger. It was so good. Handmade patty. Home brewed root beer. Highly recommend it! I told Lon the story of how his Gg made root beer once and all the bottles exploded. All night long. He thought that was a great story. He wanted to tell the waitresses about it. The owner spilled a container of sugar packets and Lon helped him clean it up. He gave Lon some andes mints for helping. And told him what a great kid he is.
After dinner Lon and I walked around the town, even though it was almost 8pm. The sun had not yet set. Lon has a list of things to go back and see tomorrow. He was fascinated with the river boat coming up the Mississippi. We went down to the office to see if they had tours. Well, you have to be 7 to go on the Dinner Cruise. Which is what we are doing for dinner. Everyone was so nice to Lon, wishing him happy birthday. One of the ladies is arranging for him to drive the boat tomorrow. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I will bring the big camera ! I might even take a movie! Then it was time to head back to the hotel. We ran into the grounds keeper for Mark Twain's Boyhood home and he said he would look out for Lon tomorrow to show him some special stuff too. What a wonderful town Hannibal is !
Everything we want to do is within walking distance of our hotel. SO nice. Tonight we took everything out of the car, shook out all the trash and we have a bag of things that can be mailed back home when we find a post office. Just trying not to let it get out of hand.