Road trip to Kentucky
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.
Well, I’ve actually joined the group of Thoroughly Modern Grandparents. By that, I mean that last week ol’ Nevah and I traveled 1,300 miles all to watch our two youngest granddaughters play three soccer matches at a tournament in Owensboro, Ky., and simultaneously get in a good visit with our daughter and our son-in-law.
They live in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., so Owensboro was only about two-thirds as far as to their home. It took five days for the round trip, but we enjoyed the chance to see seldom-seen family and take in some soccer matches with kinfolks involved. While I can’t honestly say I’m a big fan of soccer in the generic sense, I was quite involved in cheering for our granddaughters.
The three matches they played ended up full spectrum — one win, one loss and one draw.
A bonus of the trip is that we stayed in an Airbnb that our daughter had rented for Friday and Saturday nights. That meant it wuz peaceful and quiet without the hassle of a motel or hotel. Plus, it wuz only about 5 minutes from the park where the soccer tourney wuz played.
In addition to the soccer and the family, ol’ Nevah and I enjoyed traveling the backroads, rather than the interstates. That enables us to appreciate the rural countryside and see where the average Americans like us live and work in the “slow lane of life,” rather than the “fast lane.”
So, here’s a bit of a travelogue on our route to Owensboro. We drove east through Ottawa to Louisburg and then south to my old stomping grounds at Fort Scott, Kan. From there, we followed Hwy. 54 in Missouri through Nevada, Eldorado Springs, Collins, Wheatland, Weaubleau, Hermitage, Macks Creek, Camdenton, Osage Beach, Montreal, Swedetown, Rolla, St. James, Steeleville, Potosi, Farmington, ending up in historic Ste. Genevieve, on the Mississippi River.
Nev and I choose to dine in local eateries featuring “down home” food. That first day, Thursday, we picked two good ones. For our midday meal we picked the Hickamo dining establishment. It wuz a combination farm supply store, hardware store and cafe. The fried chicken was super, as was the buffet that accompanied it.
For our evening meal, the Anvil Restaurant in downtown Ste. Genevieve, right across from the courthouse, proved to be a good choice. It’s small, cozy, and had an atmosphere about like the old “Cheers” show on TV. I selected the French dip sandwich and it came with more roast beef on it than I could hold together to dip in the au jus. I can honestly say it wuz the biggest and best French dip that I’ve ever eaten.
On Friday morning, we crossed the Muddy Mississippi to Chester, Ill., where we discovered the Reid Restaurant which advertised on a roadside sign, “Excellent Food and Lots of It.” The place could have added “at a very affordable price and the conversation is free.” I had French toast, an egg and a slice of ham half as big as my plate. The price for our combined breakfasts wuz about $11 — a bargain for sure. Plus, the waitresses were about as perky and friendly as they come.
We took the northern route on nondescript Illinois state highways and came into Evansville, Ind. From there we dipped south across the Ohio River into Henderson, Ky. We stopped for an hour to visit the Ellis Park horse track and I managed to drop about $20 at the simulcast betting window, but I did manage to scrape up one winning ticket. It wuz fun.
From Henderson, it wuz just a hop, skip, and a jump of around 40 miles to Owensboro. We met our daughter and son-in-law at the Airbnb and had plenty of time for a leisurely supper at the historic, limestone Miller Home in Owensboro. It was an up-scale restaurant, but the food wuz good and the atmosphere cordial and friendly. We finished the day at the first soccer match — which the kids lost 2-1.
The next day, the two soccer games were back-to-back at midday. So, we met the granddaughters at the team’s motel and ate breakfast with them nearby. After the soccer matches, in which they had a 1-1 tie and a 3-1 win, we headed for a BBQ joint in Owensboro with a widely known reputation for good meat — the Moonlite Restaurant. It was good as advertised and huge. It could seat several hundred folks. It boasted a BBQ buffet of pork, ribs, beef, chicken, mutton and seafood. The dessert table wuz to die for — (or, perhaps, because of).
I’ve been to Owensboro several times before, but had never taken in the splendid River Walk on the Ohio. So, we tried to walk off our BBQ overload with a long stroll on the river walk. I highly recommend it. It wuz stunningly tiled everywhere, clean, not noisy, artistic, functional and scenic. There were parks for children, fountains, and plenty of benches for just sitting and taking in the river scene.
In addition, there wuz an antique and muscle car show downtown, plus several places to listen to free music. I’m glad we took the time to visit it.
Sunday morning we headed home, going east from Henderson, to Marion, Ill, then the interstate to East St. Louis, then east to Jefferson City and finally to Warrensburg, east of Kansas City, home of the Central Missouri State University Mules. We ate supper at Heroes Bar & Grill in the campus commercial district.
Next morning we dropped south to Harrisonville, Mo., then east to Ottawa and back home. As always, it wuz fun going, but great to get back home.
Words of wisdom for the week: “Having folks who didn’t go to college pay for your educational debt makes as much sense as requiring the homeless to pay off your mortgage.” Have a good ‘un. ❖