August 31, 2007

Santa-Cali-Gon Days

Today was the opening of Santa-Cali-Gon Days on the Independence Square. It is a festival celebrating the location in Downtown Independence where the Santa Fe, California & the Oregon trails met.

Jean, Phyllis, Doug and Marlon were 4 of the over 200,000 visitors to the festival this year.

We went Friday evening when the crowds were not yet large and the weather was just right, in the 80's.

Phyllis tried on this hat made of paper (I guess that makes it a paper hat). It folds up flat.

Doug and Jean enjoyed the ice cream sundaes sold by one of the participating church volunteers.

After a couple of hours of walking around and looking at the wares for sale Phyllis, Marlon, and Jean take a breather and listen to some of the live music.

To see a few more pictures of Santa-Cali-Gon Days go to .

To be continued...

August 30, 2007

Brian & Leslie's House & Visiting a Friend

Today we traveled by car to Lee's Summit, Missouri to visit Brian, Doug's younger brother, and Leslie, Brian's wife of 3 years.

Brian greeted Doug at the door.

Buster the Cat wanted to know what we were doing in his house pointing that thing in his face.

Brian works for Sprint as some sort of computer guru. He helped us figure out our new internet telephone which can use wifi networks to make phone calls.

Leslie is an art teacher teaching Kindergarten thru 2nd grade. These little items are Capsters which Leslie makes from bottle caps. Each one has either a magnet or a zipper pull.

Buster shows us how he loves to drink out of the bathroom faucet.

Leslie shows us her bathroom which contains most of her frog collection.

This is Heidi, one of their hermit crabs (Perhaps spelled Hidey as their other hermit crab is Spidey).

This is Hidey the cat who wouldn't let us get within 10 feet of her. Actually her name is Cassidy.

After our visit, one last shot of Doug, Brian and Leslie.

Brian has come along way from the clothes basket days.

On the way back to Independence we stopped off and visited with Cynthia Moran. Doug and Cynthia worked together at Lofgren & Company CPA's in the early '90s.

She had just recently fell in a hole in her yard and advised us to stay away from holes in our travels.

To see more pictures go to .

To be continued...

August 28, 2007

Doug's Family and a Dead Mall

We left Worlds of Fun Village and took the RV on a short drive (20 miles) to Independence, Missouri to spend 9 days with Doug's parents (Bob and Jean).

Jean was in the midst of moving her office into a new building, so we went to see it.
On our way home, we drove by Truman High School, Home of the Patriots. Doug graduated from Truman recently in 1986.

On Monday, we decided to drive to Raytown, Missouri to visit Doug's ex-step-grandmother, Reatha. She was the second wife of Doug's paternal grandpa and the mother of his uncle, Raymond.

Before arriving at Reatha's we happened across Bannister Mall. One of the busiest malls in the Kansas City Metro Area when we moved to Colorado in 1994, Bannister Mall officially closed its doors as of May 31, 2007.

Formerly a shopping area very much like Denver's Park Meadows Mall, Bannister Mall had stores in it (like most malls) and all around it in the form of strip malls, big box stores (Walmart Supercenter, Best Buy, Circuit City, Toys R Us, Office Max, etc.) and restaurants.

The only holdout of any significant size is the Burlington Coat Factory. Note the sign proclaiming "Yes, We Are Still Open!"

You know business went south when even Saver's Thrift Store left town.

This is happening to malls all over the country. A neat website about such malls can be found at

Finally, we made it to Reatha's and had a nice visit. She loves to tell old stories about the past and she really kept us entertained.

Marlon caught Reatha, who turned 92 years old on September 9, on camera in this short video.

Raymond showed off the newest family cat.

That night Bob, Doug's dad, made us some new wooden jack pads for the RV. The plastic ones we had bought from Camping World were bending really badly from the weight of the RV. We really appreciated it.

Tuesday, Bob and Jean took us to bargain hunt at two of their favorite stores, Cargo Largo and Dirty Don's Bargain Center. We hope we are able to find places like those with great deals everywhere we travel.

Jean stopped working her Sudoku puzzle for this shot. Doug still hasn't finished the first one she gave him to work, although he's worked many others.

Doug's aunt, Phyllis, came over for a visit. Phyllis' daughter, Lucinda, is a poker dealer in Las Vegas.

As always, at the end of every day, Sammy and Chatfield were waiting for us when we arrived back home.

More pictures of the visit so far can be found at and and .

To be continued...

August 25, 2007

Worlds of Fun & Oceans of Fun, Kansas City, Missouri

After leaving St. Joseph, Missouri and Marlon's family behind, we headed to Kansas City, Missouri and Worlds of Fun. They have been open since 1973 but were recently purchased by Cedar Fair, the owners of Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio which has more roller coasters than any other amusement park in the world.
Three years ago, they built an RV Park at Worlds of Fun called Worlds of Fun Village. Here was our rv site. The rollercoaster in the background is The Mamba.
For those who don't bring a recreational vehicle, they have cabins and cottages which sleep up to 6 people. They seem to be an economical alternative to 2 or more hotel rooms.
Here's Sammy after the short drive from St. Joe which took a little over an hour. Riding just wears her out.
But she seemed to be doing better now than when this picture was taken 2 weeks earlier at our Goodland, Kansas Walmart stay.

She stayed like that for quite awhile after that first 4 hour ride.

Here was the sunset our first night at Worlds of Fun.
Videomeister Marlon put together this short video of our stay at Worlds of Fun Village.
The next day, Friday, we headed for the Worlds of Fun admission gate. It had rained quite hard for a bit on Thursday night and it was threatening rain Friday morning so, as you can see, there were no lines at The Mamba (the rollercoaster we could see really well from the RV).
So we rode it 3 times in a row...once in the front, once in the middle and once in the back. At that point, Doug realized he wasn't a teenager anymore and that once would have probably been enough.

We rode both old rides and new. Here's Marlon standing in front of a new ride, Spinning Dragons. On this medium thrill rollercoaster, the cars spin around as they move down the track.
This ride has always been a popular one in the heat of summer. Today the only wait we had was the time it took us to walk to the boat. Often called "The Log Ride", its true name is "The Viking Voyager". This was an Opening Day 1973 ride.
Doug takes some time out to say a little prayer, "Please let me get through this ride without getting sick."

Marlon begged Doug to let him stop by Camp Snoopy. Doug relented and Marlon got to meet the old beagle.
Then Marlon made Doug drive him around in the taxis of "Le Taxitour".
And Doug remembered that day 34 years earlier when Worlds of Fun had just opened and his mom was his first passenger.
We enjoyed our day at Worlds of Fun until this ape surprised us.
Saturday, we went to Oceans of Fun. For fear of wet camera, we have no pictures. We were joined by Alan, Susan, Jennifer, Shannon, Dillon and Mason. They came over to the RV for some junk food afterwards.
For more pictures of our stay here and visit to Worlds of Fun, go to .

To be continued...

August 23, 2007

Open House at St. Joe Police Department & Bye Bye St. Joe

Our last day in St. Joseph, Missouri started off in the morning at the Law Enforcement Center (LEC). A new expansion of the building, which houses both the St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office, had just been completed and today was an open house for the public.
Training Sergeant Marla Wilson (the lady in red) greeted us on the steps of the LEC and was our tour guide.
Several local politicians gave speeches in the training room of the Police Department explaining how the expansion had all come about. By the time everyone finished speaking, we decided it was kind of neat that our group of 4 was about the only "public" who came to the shindig. Most of the rest were somehow involved in the expansion project.

This is Marla's office where she thinks about ways to recruit new officers and train old ones.
Here Marla is explaining to our group (including both television and newspaper reporters) how the reception area of the St. Joseph Police Department now appears a lot friendlier and less scary than it did in the past.
This is the roll call room...straight out of Hill Street Blues.
Marla proudly showed us the gym housed in the building. She is an avid user of the facility.

Pause for a family snap. Notice Carol (the OTHER lady in red) mother like daughter...and it WASN'T planned.
Proof Doug, Marla, Sean and Carol were there appeared in the St. Joseph News-Press the next day. Marlon's black shoe DOES appear in the lower left hand corner, but wasn't mentioned in the photograph caption.
After the open house, we met Marlon's dad for one last big meal.
Trina showed up for a final goodbye as we left Sharp RV Park about 3pm. Thanks to Sharp for letting us stay past the noon checkout.
Trina had come to show off her new hair color. Not bad!

To be continued...

August 22, 2007

Fuji's with Trina & Delbert

Our final night in St. Joseph, Trina and Delbert took us out to experience Fuji's Japanese Steakhouse & Sake Bar.

Delbert and Trina look over the menu. They decide to start us off with some veggie sushi. This was everyone's first time trying sushi.

We look like we survived the sushi.

Now on with the show. Click on the play button to see our chef in action.

Thanks to Trina and Delbert for a fun meal!

For a few other pictures, see .

To be continued...