Perhaps uneventful for some, today was a productive Saturday.
"A" took me to Hickory House for breakfast. I ordered over medium eggs with pineapple upside down pancakes and bacon.
Way too much food.
We discussed various topics such as probiotics, the working world, and traveling.
We even talked about fields which support both traveling and writing: motorcycle blogging, driving big-rigs, hauling RVs, and driving rock-and-roll tour buses.
The latter he could envision me doing quite easily?
Following breakfast, I blogged and laundered.
Later, I took a nap.
Again, not much in the way of sightseeing.
In the early evening, we ended up at another beer drinking establishment.
It was located right along Broadway in Cape.
Beer and liquor is big in the Midwest -- wine -- well, not so much.
I ordered a pint of Boddington's. We also had some fried catfish, wings, and sweet potato fries.
Healthy, I know.
Some close friends and acquaintances joined the festivities because what began as a party of two ended (at the height of the evening) as a party of 10!
I met two women who just returned from their very uneventful, 20-year class reunion.
I met another couple who recently booked their first airbnb just outside of Boston. They were traveling their to cheer on some of their friends who qualified for the big marathon.
Another couple were getting ready to tie the knot in Destin, Florida.
Later, yet another couple (Bret and Stacy) -- a talented creative duo -- joined the group. Brett designs, upholsters, constructs, and welds furniture.
A mix of organic with industrial.
Right then, I wished I had had an interior design firm to commission his work.
Chicago Art Institute graduate stuck working for Corporate America to pay the bills while he creates on the side. Challenging considering he works sometimes more than 50-hours a week. Stacy, his wife, finds herself in the same exact position.
Eventually, they see themselves in Nashville.
If you know someone who can shell out $6000 for artistically-rendered, functional interior design pieces, I offer instagram to preview Bret's work.
We closed out the evening past the midnight hour. I was happy to hang out with very hip, yet down-to-earth folks on my last night in Cape.
By 1 a.m., I was fast asleep.
(Sunday, July 24)
I departed just after 8 a.m.
Next destination: Sainte Genevieve.
I had a slight headache due to a lack of sleep.
I said goodbye to "A" and gave him what I would call my "big bear" hug.
I took the scenic route out of Cape by taking the 177 loop -- later joining 61.
Barns and more barns.
Corn and more corn.
Lutheran church after Lutheran church.
When I nearly reached 61, I stumbled upon a Proctor and Gamble plant to my right.
Route 61 did not disappoint.
Barns -- and more Lutheran churches.
I logged about 75-miles before parking the motorcycle on the corner of Market and Main Street in Ste. Genevieve.
From what I could see, the historic town was mainly centered around the different dwellings owned by the locals in the early 1800s. Before admiring the old houses, I had to eat.
I found a brunch place called Rust (along Main Street).
I remembered it being highlighted for its pastries in a local magazine called 573 (a big Missouri area code).
I told the owner about the write-up as I ordered a cup of tea, a bacon quiche, and a strawberry/rhubarb/blueberry tart. I also ordered a cherry-flavored phosphate (club soda).
I gorged on all except the tart; I saved it for later.
Before leaving Rust, I grabbed a winery brochure.
Then, on a wickedly humid and hot day, I conducted a brief self-created house tour. After about an hour, I was ready to call it a day.
I headed back to my motorcycle.
Seeing a sign for the ferry, I followed it to take pictures of the Mississippi River. The rough road (which was essentially Main Street) spilled right into the river.
A retired couple from Arizona asked me about the ferry.
When they knew I would be of little help, they cocooned themselves right back in their air-conditioned luxury car.
I jumped back on the cycle and headed to Hawn State Park.
I took 32-west and found it accidentally by being on the right road (4th Street).
Again rolling valleys and hills surrounded by rural America and a bounty of Lutheran churches.
Only... this time... the valleys got bigger.
A few times, I could feel my stomach drop.
Not roller coaster stomach drop -- more like playground swinging or zip-lining stomach drop.
Today presented me with the best motorcycle gliding I had experienced.
I though Southern Illinois would be the valley high point.
I was happily mistaken.
By day's end, I had logged nearly 140-miles thanks to my slap-happy stomach drop addiction.
Well-appointed signs and campsite numbers made my Hawn State Park arrival and stay simple.
Well-appointed signs and campsite numbers made both my Hawn State Park arrival and stay -- simple.
I pulled into my reserved spot, #38, and I set up my tent.
Following the tent build, I checked out the restroom and shower facilities.
I unloaded by backpack -- left it in the tent -- and got right back on the bike to visit Chaumette winery.
(I was told it had the best dining around.)
Knowing I was in for more twists and turns along the road, I was excited to ride.
I took 37 to Route B -- yes -- letters are a thing in rural Missouri.
I passed a tiger sanctuary, an abandoned winery, farms, and more valley scenery before reaching Route WW and the winery.
On the right hand side, I could see a pretty big compound.
The place was definitely set up for lavish weddings and/or events.
I ran into two individuals on my way into the winery. (After looking at their website, I am pretty confident it was Hank and Jackie Johnson.)
Hank welcomed me while Jackie was impressed I was on a motorcycle.
When I entered the beautiful structure, I could see wine pouring and tasting happening to my left (a huge banquet hall to the left of it), the restaurant area was to my right while a staircase (leading down) was located in the center of the structure.
I walked up to the tasting area and had a gentleman pour me a taste of his favorite red and white, so I could enjoy it with my meal.
I started my meal with a strawberry and spinach salad.
For my main course, I chose BBQ/Cajun-style shrimp to go with the glass of unoaked Chardonel I had ordered
I also ordered a flour-less chocolate torte (in a Chaumette port sauce) for dessert.
Everything was delicious.
Following my meal, I soaked in the vineyard.
An employee party was taking place just after 5 p.m., so I soaked in the vineyard for as long as I could.
When I arrived back at the Hawn State Park, I took an extremely long shower.
Then, I grabbed my journal to write and my phone to edit pictures.
Close to 7:30 p.m. a teen-aged girl approached me to ask if I would like to have dinner with her and her family.
I declined, but I thanked her for the offer.
We proceeded to discuss my trip, her trip, and camping.
You know -- how the latter makes you appreciate shelter -- specifically a bed.
I tell her that of all the camping I've done, her family is the first to invite me over for a meal.
I was not surprised by their gesture.
It's why I fell in love this with this state; it's why I will be making this state my new home.
The "Show Me" state never ceases to amaze me.
People here continuously find ways to demonstrate how darn hospitable and caring they are.
Mississippians are very similar; they, too, showered me with warmth and affection. However, resources in Missouri seem to be more plentiful.
Unless you visit, you'll never fully grasp my meaning.
Steinbeck's favorite state was Montana.
I lay claim to Missouri.
I listened to my neighbors prepare their evening meal as my journaling came to a close.
When I finished writing, I stopped by my across the way camping neighbors and thanked them for inviting me over.
They recommended more sites to see and AGAIN offered me food.
I declined explaining I had enjoyed a huge meal earlier.
We said our goodnights, and I headed back to my tent to sleep.
Never a dull moment in the campground.
I awoke to a rainless lightening and thunderstorm.
Not sure how that happened, but it did.
Lightening could be seen around the valley, thundering could be heard; however, the rain never came.
When I awoke the next morning (Monday), I showered, and I prepped and packed my bike.
Then, I said goodbye to the lovely family of four after a lengthy discussion of the previous evening's weather events.
It was an overcast day, yet I was completely at ease.
Cloud coverage was much more of an advantage than a bright, humid, sunny day.
Next stop: St. Louis.
Specifically -- Michael and Mary Ann's home along Lindell Boulevard.
Until we meet again, my friend!