Well, the Schaefer family has survived another excursion to Missouri. We had a great trip. It was quite nice to not have to think about work for a while and slightly depressing to have to go back in this morning.
We left last Saturday morning and arrived in Moberly MO for a late dinner with Maria’s Mom and Dad as well as her brother Adam and family. We spent Sunday through Wednesday there with them. We got in a trip to the beach at a Long Branch State Park in Macon, MO and generally relaxed and enjoyed family. I actually got in several Bible readings (to be posted later) as well as two books while there. Very nice.
Thursday morning Maria’s Mom headed for Chicago for an Avon gathering and Maria’s brother and family and us headed to Rushville IL to visit Maria’s Grandmother for a few hours. Adam has a pair of those two way radios so we could talk between vans on the way. These are a must have if you’re going on a trip with multiple vehicles. No flashing lights to signal for a potty break or warning of a pending missed turn. Not to mention “Did you see that (fill in outrageous sight here)?!?” We took Grandma out to a local park to watch the kids play and then had Dairy Queen on the way back to the nursing home.
From Rushville, we headed south to St. Louis for a couple of days. We stayed in St. Charles until Sunday morning. On Friday we went down to the Arch. The weather was absolutely beautiful – clear, sunny and a high of just shy of 80. We took the ride to the top of the Arch and saw the making of the Arch documentary, “Monument to the Dream”, in the museum below. If you go, you should see this movie. The Arch is an amazing architectural and engineering achievement. The methods used to build it are just plain cool. And to top it off, the film is made in the 1970’s-Leonard-Nemoy-‘In-Search-Of’ style with loads of dramatic musical flourishes and over the top narration. Of course the view from the top is spectacular too.
After the Arch we toured the beautiful Missouri Botanical Gardens. The kids really liked the hedge maze while I marveled at the enormous leaves on one of the tallest trees in the rainforest exhibit in the Climatron geodesic dome.
On Friday night I got a special treat. I skipped the evening in the pool (pools don’t do much for me) and have a drink with my friend from Virusdoc. St. Louis is his current hometown and he drove up to where our hotel was and we found a little microbrewry and sat down for a bit. He and I have had a regular conversation going between us since October or so. It’s been deep and rather personal at times. In a way he feels like an old friend, so meeting up with him while I was in town was a given. On the other hand, I had never actually met him, so it was a bit like a blind date. Strange combination, but we had a great talk. We both lamented the lack of challenging relationships in our lives, frankly in Christianity in general. Ironically, we aren’t really in a position to be that person for each other. For that kind of relationship to work at it’s best, you need to be able to see each other in real life, in the grit of everyday things. The world of blogging is a step or two removed from real life and therefore cannot provide all that one needs to stay on the narrow road. Don’t get me wrong, it can be quite helpful and I treasure his comments here because they frequently take me in a new direction (and they seem to be nearly the only comments here), but I need someone (and so does he) who’s right here in my life. Who knows, perhaps the post-post-graduate life will lead him to central Ohio. (hint, hint 🙂 )
On Saturday we went to the Zoo (free in St. Louis, but lunch cost us $27.50!). My middle daughter absolutely loves elephants, and of course they were the last animal we saw. She kept asking if it was time for the ‘ellies’ yet (she has a stuffed elephant named ‘Ellie’ she received in the hospital at birth and has almost not let go of in 7 years. I later discovered that one of the zoo’s elephants is named Ellie too.) When we finally got to the elephant exhibit, we arrived just in time to watch it walk through a passage between the rocks and out of sight. She was crushed! Looking at the map, I suggested that we press on, hoping I was reading it right and there was another vantage point down the path. Sure enough, we rounded the bend and here were 4 elephants, including the one we had seen leave now entering this area. Not only that, but it marched up about as close as it could get to where we were, as if to say hello. I had been praying in my head that it would do just that. I don’t know if that was God’s doing at my request, but she was thrilled nonetheless.
After the zoo, when our feet were thoroughly warn down, Adam and family went on home and we headed over to ride the large ferris wheel near I-64 to commemorate the 100 the anniversary of the 1904 world’s fair. It was a long wait and a somewhat short ride, but a great view on another beautiful sunny day. This wheel is smaller than the original 264 foot, 2,100 person capacity 1904 wheel. After the wheel, we headed back for one last soak in the pool before our return trip to Ohio on Sunday.
All in all, a very good vacation. Oh, and thank to VirusDoc for the tips on what to see while in town. We wouldn’t have found the Gardens or the Wheel without your tips.

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