Monday, September 12, 2005

Lake of the Ozarks State Park, MO to Kanakee, IL

number of free tix received: 2; number of creepy campgrounds encountered: 1 (total at this point: 3); number of runs scored by St. Louis Cardinals: 2; number of runs scored by NY Mets: 7.

Illinois was kind of boring. I'm sure it is a fabulous state and there's lots of fun stuff to do there, but in all honesty, it was boring to drive through. On the upside, J! called his parents to find out if the Cardinals were in town and as they were playing the Mets and Martinez was pitching we decided to catch the game. Just to make J!'s dad feel better, we parked in a really dingy part of town near the stadium, put on our Red Sox hats to make sure all those Cardinals fans knew what was up, and went to the stadium to find out about tix. As we were standing in line, a nice man from ballpark services (he must not have seen our hats, I think) gave us free tix! So lovely. We got great seats--next to a lady who was such a fan that she was carrying around baseballs to be autographed.

Our original plan was to stay about an hour outside of Chicago in Chebanse, IL, at a KOA there, then to drive into Chicago the next day. Of course, when planning this trip back in Phoenix, we hadn't expected to go to a baseball game in St. Louis, which meant we were a bit late in getting to Chebanse. Around 11 we finally saw the sign for the campground on the freeway, exited and drove five miles east (a bit of a surprise for us as we'd been used to camping about five yards away from the interstate). Finally, some peace and quiet out in the country! As a disclaimer for my next comment--I'm sure, in daylight, the KOA in Chebanse, IL is a lovely, child-friendly kind of place where puppies delight in prancing around and no one ever gets mad. At eleven at night, however, this is the Bates Motel of KOAs. We pulled in and espied a flickering light on the top floor. Looking back, it probably read "Welcome tired campers!" or something equally harmless, but at the time we were both fairly convinced that it was a human skull. And also there was some kind of skeleton dressed up in a KAO t-shirt. But maybe they were just decorating early for Halloween. Anyway, we pulled in and backed out again in about 30 seconds and found a Motel 6 a half-hour up the Interstate.

Yeah, Martinez!

Huge Cross #2!
This one was more impressive--it even
included the 14 stations of the cross and
the scene at Golgatha with the theives.

Our Motel 6 bathroom counter came
conveniently equipped with a bottle opener
for those times when you want to
wash your hands while you drink a beer.


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