May 21, 2017 (by Angela)
Because Jim needed to get some work stuff sorted out, we decided it would be better to stop for a longer stay. The search began to locate an RV park that had full hook ups, WiFi, TV, and with availability that included Memorial Day weekend for a month. A location was found, and we moved near Carthage, Missouri, and settled in for a bit of a stay.
We’d intended to get Jim a new phone for several weeks, so one of the first orders of business was to find Jim a phone. In addition, we took the plunge to split our service providers to increase our access while on the road. We’ve had phones and a decent size data package through Verizon. Now, I have Verizon, and Jim has an unlimited data package with streaming TV through AT&T. Here, the AT&T service has been much better than the Verizon service.
The Friday night after our move to Carthage, Susan and Craig invited us to go with them to the movies. We enjoyed a relaxing night out with them at the Route 66 Drive-in Theater. Jim and I had passed the theater on our 2014 Route 66 road trip, so this was really cool to actually experience a movie there. We had a great time; it was so much fun to sit outside and watch the big screen with friends.
The following Sunday, it was beautiful. We’d had three full days of rain mid-week, so all of us were ready for some sunshine. Hopping into the car, the three of us went to the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. George Washington Carver’s life was very interesting, and Jim and I both learned tons of things we didn’t know. In 1953, Carver was the first African American honored by the National Park Service. This National Park location includes a beautiful picnic area and an interesting 1-mile loop trail that is an easy to walk an extremely informative. Chewie wants to go there again, and he talks about the visit here.
While exploring the downtown area of Carthage, I popped into Mother Road Coffee Shop looking for postcards to send to the grands. I had already been amazed by the beauty of Jasper County Courthouse, and inside the shop, I found postcards made from photos of the courthouse. It just so happened that the photographer, Koral Martin, was also there. She and I had a lovely conversation. One day this past week, Jim and I both went downtown, and we visited Koral in her gallery. I think we chatted for about an hour and enjoyed every minute of it. I expect family may get some of her photo products for Christmas. Her work is amazing! My photo (below) of the courthouse was made on the cloudy, rainy day I first went downtown; I hope to get a better shot before we leave the area.
Koral had recommended that we visit Grand Falls near Joplin. Grand Falls is the highest continuously flowing water falls in Missouri. Even with muddy water flowing over the falls, the results of all of those days of rain I mentioned, it was certainly worth the drive there to see it. There is a park near the falls for picnics and walking/biking. I think it’s called Grand Falls Plaza.
Late this past week, storms returned with even greater intensity than the week before. When the tornado warning sirens began to blare Friday, we left the RV and headed for the Big Barn in which the camp office is housed. Several of us waited there as thunder boomed, lightning flashed, and rained poured so hard that it even ran across the porch of the barn. The three of us stayed until the warning had expired and that particular storm subsided. Three or four more heavy thunder storms passed through during the evening and night, but nothing like the one arriving late afternoon. Due to these storms, we agreed to postpone our plans for Friday night with Susan and Craig until Saturday night. That was a good call.
Saturday morning, with clouds and light rain in our area, we headed west into Kansas. As we drove, the skies cleared. It was a gorgeous day. We met a work friend, Lisa English, for lunch in her hometown of Coffeyville, Kansas. After that visit, Jim and I went to explore the Dalton Museum. You see, Coffeyville was the end of the Dalton Gang’s crime spree. In an attempt to gather money to leave the country while also claiming glory, the gang attempted to rob two banks at the same time. Coffeyville was the town in which they had chosen to do it. Never did these men expect the town’s people to fight back, but they did. It was an interesting and educational visit. The museum covers more than just the Dalton Gang and the gunfight; it has tons of city history in it also. The museum’s intent is to honor the men who fought and died for the town. Check it out if in the area.
We wrapped up our first two weeks in Carthage by having dinner with Susan and Craig at the place we’d intended to eat Friday night, and then we went to the Turtlehead Raw Bar in Joplin to listen to a local band. It was another fun night out with them.
Jim and I have other adventures planned for the next two weeks, so stay tuned.