After having a wonderful visit, we said a long goodbye to our girls and grandkids at a yummy local coffee and cinnamon rolls shop. Our goal was to take six days to drive the 2,400 miles back home.
1. First stop was in eastern Illinois. We had hoped to walk the Chain of Rocks Bridge across the Mississippi River; however, because of the flooding, both approaches were closed. I consoled myself with some photos of the bridge and with a promise to ourselves that we will be back to do it another time. (Chain of Rocks Bridge was an early Route 66 passage across the Mississippi River and is now a walking/biking bridge.)
2. St. Louis's Gateway Arch and the Museum of Western Expansion were beautiful!
3. Then we drove on to another museum in Independence, Missouri--National Frontier Trails Museum. If you ever have an opportunity, do visit it. Although it's small, there is SO MUCH to see, read and understand about this beginning spot of the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail. In particular, I enjoyed it because I know that some of my ancestors stood there and climbed in their Conestoga wagons as they began their trip to California.
4. Three other places held enough interest for us to make us stop on our way west.
Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve.
We didn't really have time to walk anywhere along the trails through the preserve; we just ate lunch and enjoyed the views.
Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, Kansas
Again, we gave ourselves an hour to walk around this gem of an arboretum and soak in the flora and fauna of the great plains.
5. We spent one night with our son in New Mexico where he lives and our last night with our PAL and her parents in Arizona.
ALL the changes in terrain and climate!
Then it was HOME AT LAST.
And for your amusement. A photo of the obvious.