Southwest – Day 4

Gateway to the West

Southwest USA Retirement Trip

September 2019

29 Days – 6,500 Miles – 19 States

7 National Parks – Several State Parks

6,000+ Photos

1 Trillion Insects Squished by Car Windshield

 From 108 Degrees to Snow

282 Feet Below Sea Level to 12,000+ Feet

Bison, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Lizards, Wild Horses

Elvis, Aliens, John Wayne Westerns

Walking In The Footsteps of Forrest Gump

And More! 

Bits and pieces of the old Rt 66
still exist in Missouri
Scott Air Force Base, IL / St Louis, MO to Joplin, MO
The first half of our drive today would be through semi-familiar territory.  When we lived here, we drove down to Fort Leonard Wood Army Base in mid-Missouri a couple of times.  Once we pass that, it would be all-new for both Beth and I.  We were excited!
Passing the Gateway Arch in St Louis.
 We rode to the top viewing deck several years ago. It’s a must-see if you visit!
 Built to commemorate the westward expansion…perfect sight as we head westward.
Since today’s drive is only about 310 miles, we could take our time.  Looking at the map last night, I found there is a botanical garden in Springfield MO. 
We both like visiting these, and this one was near the interstate.  Easy choice! 
Welcome to Springfield Botanical Gardens! 

Master Gardeners Demonstration Gardens included a large herb garden.
It was beautiful and fragrant to walk through.  Most of the plants were identified.
Interesting display of various thyme plants with a sundial in the middle.
Many Missouri native plants. Beautiful and easy to walk through.
Each plant is interesting as well as the overall garden display.
The summer season was ending but still very beautiful. Every season has something special in bloom.
One of our favorites! (Coral Bells)
Although planned as a “Dye Bed” with plants used to dye fabric for clothing, maybe the sign should be changed to “Die Bed”.  LOL
Actually, we were there at the very end of the season and it was very hot and dry.
Still loving this hot, sunny day!!!
Endicott Pear Tree is a direct descendent of a tree from 1628.
It is believed to be the oldest living cultivated fruit tree in North America. 
(See next photo for details)
Endicott Pear Tree is a direct descendent of a tree from 1628.
It is believed to be the oldest living cultivated fruit tree in North America. 
(See next photo for details)
Tall (!) corn and other grasses/plants.
In this turf plot, there are 4 different types of grass.   The hot, dry summer has not been kind to the grass.
Nice display of flowers by the Botanical Center.
Each area of the Gardens was beautifully maintained.
More flowers!   There were many nice displays like this along the walkway.
Iris Garden

It was interesting to see the different types of seeds/nuts on the trees.
(next 3 photos)

Dr Bill Roston Butterfly House
The butterfly garden certainly was a popular place.
Gray-Campbell Farmstead, an interesting display of life in earlier times.
Well, well.
Dinner bell.  Maybe chicken for supper??? 
A short walk from the Botanical Center building is the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. 
It was established in 1986 and covers 7.5 acres.
Every Japanese Garden seems to have a pond.  This is one of 3 ponds in the garden.
And every Japanese Garden seems to have a footbridge. 

Now it was time to head to the hotel in Joplin – only about an hour’s drive from here.

For more info on the  Springfield Arboretum: 

Following I-44 west to Joplin.  Not too far now. 
The clear skies were a prelude to what we would have for most of the next 25 days. 
We arrived at our hotel in Joplin tired, hot, and hungry from exploring the Botanical Gardens.
Not wanting to drive anywhere, we walked over to the Iron Skillet restaurant next door by the truck stop.
We were pleasantly surprised with a very good dinner.  Beth seldom indulges in liver and onions, but she said this was very tasty.
And, they had REAL mashed potatoes – not the instant ones.
I ordered a small steak and it was perfect.  
Medium rare, well seasoned, and no gristle. 
After dinner, I walked into the truck stop and spent the next half hour looking through interesting stuff on the shelves.
I thought about a locomotive horn for the Subaru – weighs about 30 pounds, needs an air compressor, and costs $300.  Maybe not.
After our nice dinner, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow’s drive through Oklahoma. 
See you tomorrow!
Mileage Today:  310 Miles
Trip Total:   1,074 Miles