If you haven’t read Tim’s reports on preparing for this trip (this is his first time planning a trip), be sure to check out what it took to plan and prepare for this trip in a wheelchair.
Finally, we're driving to the final destination of this tour. It seems like we've been on the road for a month, but it's just been a week since we landed in Cincinnati.
It’s not nearly as long a drive as we took from Cincinnati to St. Louis. 247 miles as opposed to 384, so this day will be much shorter with only a planned bathroom, gas, and lunch break half way in Columbia, home of Ole Mizzou.
We check in and find the hotel’s only wheelchair accessible room, a downstairs unit in a cave-like outdoor hallway. The room is spacious and roomy, with a king-size bed against the wall, a roll-in shower in the bathroom, a full kitchen next to a work desk, and a living room with a sofabed. The sofa is too close to the TV to unfold it for a bed so I scoot it back a bit, revealing many tears in the rug repaired with duct tape.
I look for and find the thermostat for the air conditioning, try to set it, and find out that it does not work. That will not be a problem on this chilly day but if the weather takes a turn to hot and muggy…as it did in St. Louis…it will be. We leave the room to walk to dinner and let the front desk know that the A/C needs fixing, which they promise to do.
A two block walk up Main Street leads us to Gates Barbecue, whose motto is “hi, can I help you?” I would think you’d get that motto at a lot of places, but if it helps, why not? We order at the cafeteria-style counter. I can see the smoker a few feet back, open, with many pieces of perfectly smoked meat. Our eyes grow big. I want to try a burnt ends sandwich. My wife wants a full rack of ribs. Tim will share with us along with beans, bread, and salad.
The meat is perfect, delectable, and juicy-tasty. There are three sauces to try, mild, regular, and hot. We get all three and stuff ourselves silly. We still have over half of our food left, which the waitress in the dining room helps us pack to take back to the hotel. That fridge in the full kitchen will come in handy.
In the morning, after the hotel’s perfectly adequate breakfast (I think I’ve been spoiled by the
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch), we had a day to explore before tonight’s game. It’s a short drive over to Independence, home of one Harry S. Truman.
At the visitor’s center, we are informed that both the Truman home and farm are closed to visitors at this time because of ongoing refurbishment. We’re welcome to look from the outside and take pictures, but that’s it. The Truman Presidential Library is open, so we’ll stop by there in a little while.
At the end of the block is Clinton’s Soda Fountain. We go here to get some ice cream. We also go because this is where young Harry Truman got his first job, working after school. It’s not in the original location; a ranger tells us the original building burned down and it was moved here afterward.
The ice cream is good and the service Missouri friendly.
A few blocks away is the Truman home, which we walk around and snap a few pictures before moving on. A couple of blocks from here is a huge building with a spiraling steeple. We drive over to see what it is.
In 1831, Mormon pioneer Joseph Smith declared that the plot of land near the courthouse square was to be the new temple for New Jerusalem, the spot where Christ would come back to earth. The Mormons were eventually driven from the area but many returned and built the temple. The giant we now see is a newer version serving the Community of Christ branch of the Latter Day Saints.
Continuing on, we head over to the Truman Library. It’s eight dollars to get in. A short movie about Truman’s life is shown, then you head out into the museum where you walk through different stages of his presidential career…taking over for the deceased FDR, the decision to drop the bomb on Japan, recognition of Israel, the Korean War, the firing of Douglas MacArthur, “Dewey Defeats Truman,” and the economic and civil rights laws he pushed for.
There is a peaceful courtyard, overseen by a life-sized statue of the man where an eternal flame burns near the graves of Harry Truman, his wife, daughter, and her husband. Behind that, you can see the office where Truman spent days after the presidency working here at the library which is next to the research room. It’s a very worthwhile stop when you’re in the area.
Back at the hotel, we turn in for the night. Soon, I here shouting outside and I take a look. There is a couple getting to know each other VERY well in the porch across the way and several of their friends are running in and out of the room along with others laughing and causing a general noisy mess in the parking lot. We have a full-blown hotel party going on next door.
I ask them several times to be quiet and am summarily ignored. It does quiet down. Next, around midnight, a group checks into the room above ours, being noisy. Then, just stomping across the floor all night. This is never stopped. We have a very bad night.
Frustrated with the noise, we skip breakfast, not wanting to see anybody else from the hotel. Instead, we head downtown to the City Market where each weekend they have a fresh farmer’s market along with the shops and stalls that are there every day.
Most of the farmers today just have vegetables. Very little fruit except for strawberries. I taste some, but they are very bland. There’s a table that has a lady with baked goods and we try her cinnamon rolls. Very delicious, so we take some to share and head to a trailer at the end that’s making coffee and breakfast. We get some joe and a breakfast sandwich to share and head to some nearby picnic tables to eat. It’s all very good but while we’re there it starts to rain. Not heavy, but steady.
After eating, we head over to the walkway around the perimeter of the market that is covered and browse the shops and stalls. Delicious looking meat is being grilled at an Italian deli. A friendly gentleman is giving away many samples at the Bloom Bakery. After trying some of his mouth-watering morsels, we head in for more and get some cupcakes, danishes, and some bread for later.
Tim and I share a sausage from the grill and it’s delicious.
We get some cheese for later (the Amazing Race finale will be on Sunday night so we plan some snacks and wine in our room) in the deli. Many everyday produce stands are here with fruit, so we get some to help with our deficient vacation nutritional needs. The market is busy, friendly, happening, and a fun place to spend a day.
Back at the Residence Inn, we note that the A/C is now working and we rest up for tonight’s game.
Stick around, part 2 and the game is coming very soon!
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