Southwest – Days 1-3

First United Methodist Church – Lebanon, Illinois.
I served as organist here for several years.

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

 From 108 Degrees to Snow

From 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! 

Our home from 2003 – 2008.
Morgantown, WV to Scott Air Force Base, IL (Just east of St Louis, MO)

After a year of planning, we had our bags packed and ready to leave after church on Sept 1st.  Rather than driving to St Louis in one sitting on Monday, we drove about 250 miles on Sunday to Morehead, Kentucky.  Then, on Monday, we drove the remaining 375 miles, arriving in time for a late BBQ lunch.  Mmmmm.

Loaded and ready to go.  A month’s supply of “stuff” and we can still see out of the rear window!

We didn’t take many photos on this first leg since it’s familiar territory from home to St Louis

Our first night’s stay was at Morehead, Kentucky.  It must be a popular fishing destination, since there were several boats in the parking lot.
The next day, we had an uneventful drive across the rest of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
We arrived at Scott Air Force Base around 1:00, just in time for lunch.
What do you have for lunch when you’re near St Louis?   BBQ!
Our good friends Richard and Marilyn Boyd recommended Beast Craft BBQ since our old favorite, Big Mama’s BBQ, was gone.
It turned out to be an excellent choice!  We now have a favorite BBQ shack in Illinois. 
Yes – we love home-town diners!
Oh, my, so many choices.  How about one of everything???
After much thought, Beth got the Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich (pronounced “samm-ich”) and I got the BBQ Pork Steak.
Both were delicious and melted in our mouths.  And the pit beans were incredible! 
After lunch, we headed over to our old neighborhood.  
Along the way, we passed the YMCA where Spencer was a lifeguard in High School.

Next, we stopped by to see our old house.  Not much has changed except the tree by the driveway is MUCH larger. We also stopped across the street to see our former neighbors, Paul and Mayron.  It was nice to see them again. Paul and I used to explore the southern part of Illinois and Missouri on our motorcycles.
Our last stop before the hotel was Casa Azteca, one of our favorite restaurants!  Unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays. We ate here so often, I’m surprised they didn’t give us a reserved parking spot.  
Or plaque. Or memorial table.  Oh well.

That night, we rested well.  On Tuesday, we drove around the area looking at how much has changed since we left.  Then, we met Richard and Marilyn Boyd, Dean Herr, and Katie Hanley for lunch at Golden Corral. It was great to see so many old friends and catch up on 10 years of news.  After lunch, we drove over to the base to look around and shop at the Base Exchange.  Beth met a friend, Penny, she has known since we were in Alaska.  It was a great day!

Time to rest up for tomorrow’s drive to Joplin, Missouri as we venture into uncharted (for us) territory.  See you tomorrow!

Mileage Days 1-3:  764 Miles  (635 miles Morgantown to Scott AFB)

Trip Total:  764 Miles