Today was a short day driving. I only had to go 365 miles, compared to around 600 Day 2 and Day 3, so I tried to sleep in an extra hour. But poor Slade's bladder wasn't having any of it, so I was up at 6:30 a.m., anyway, taking him out.
We left Springfield, Missouri around 9 a.m., after I had a very tasty breakfast at the local Waffle House. Ahh, one of the simple pleasures of life you just can't get in California! Ran into another Boxer owner at a rest stop between Springfield and St. Louis and chatted about the dogs for a moment.
I would usually drive from St. Louis, along the Mississippi River on the Missouri side, but the Midwestern flooding closed the Louisiana, MO, bridge I would usually cross to get to Pike County, Illinois. If you have seen CNN or read the USA Today lately, the towns of Clarksville, MO, and Grafton, IL, may sound familiar. These are two towns that are now flooded and the nearby highways I would usually travel on are closed. So, I had to take a longer way around, through Alton, Illinois, whose local casino overflow parking lot was under water.
By seeing the highway closures and the depth of the Illinois River as I crossed it, the flood news I had been reading about and watching on TV truly came to life for me. Corn, soy bean and wheat fields are flooded, ruined. Local Pike County farmers have not had an easy year, with bad ice storms this winter breaking limbs off trees, so they had to be cleared from fields before they could be planted; the flooding, and then, to add insult to injury, a hail storm with quarter-sized hail hit Sunday, beating the ready-to-be harvested winter wheat and shredding young corn plants' leaves into ribbons. That will delay the corn harvest this fall by about two weeks. So, aside from fuel prices, there may be other reasons why food prices rise this fall.
Once I arrived at my in-laws' comfortable, rural house, I unloaded the car, taking small breaks in the air-conditioned house to get out of the humidity and wipe the sweat off my face - yuck! Where is that dry heat of Arizona!? It was only 86 but felt SO much warmer! After making the dogs comfortable in outdoor dog runs (which Ripley is STILL protesting at 11:30 p.m. at night with barks and howls ... not that I blame him. I would prefer a fluffy dog bed in an air-conditioned hotel room, too, but this IS farm country and dogs don't live indoors here ... or at least that what I've been told. Slade's run was outfitted with a breezy fan and lots of straw ... he was sound asleep when I checked in on him a few hours ago, not waking up until I called his name twice. I keep trying to reassure myself this is OK .. I can be such a wuss when it comes to my dogs.
My MiL Peggy made me my favorite dish of hers for supper, roast beef with all the trimmings. Yum! Then she took me out on her new "toy," a four-wheeler, ATV, whatever you want to call it. We headed out to Grandpa's creek property down the road to see if a certain cow had calved yet. Couldn't find the cow, but Peggy did manage to roll the ATV over on a steep, muddy hill, dumping us into a small muddy ditch. Fortunately, we were just fine, except for Peggy's pride. She told me not to tell anyone - I told her I was taking photos and blogging about it.
Personally, I thought the whole thing was funny. Within a few hours of arriving in farm country, I am sweating profusely and covered in mud. Who-hoo! Aunt Sam and Uncle John then stopped by to show of Aunt Sam's new toy, a Gator, and she drove Peggy and I over to Grandma and Grandpa's house (about a mile down the road, int he opposite direction from the muddy fild we rolled over in) so I could chat with them. Overall, it's been a good day!
Even better was that there was a package waiting for me when I arrived this afternoon. I didn't get around to opening it until tonight. My Creative Escape Paint Can Secret Sister had sent me my paint can here, Oh, it was SO much fun opening the package!
Emily Barklage did an fabulous job, outfitting my paint can in soothing shades of green and blue.
And inside, WOW! Tons of embellies from Tim Holtz, Heidi Swapp, Heidi Grace and more, clear stamps, popcorn, Goldfish crackers, and, proving she is super thoughtful, a goodie for each of my boys! They arrive with my DH and family tomorrow - I am sure they will love the Play-Doh and bouncy balls! Y'know what else is a coincidence? I drove right past her town when I drove in to St. Louis today! I wish I had known, I might have stopped by to say hi! Thank you, Emily for such a fabulous paint can - can't wait to meet you at CE!