August 7: My original plan for the day fell through (due to my poor planning). What to do?
I decided on two objectives:
One, get a picture of the Missouri River.
Two, go shopping – specifically for souvenirs.
One task turned out to be unbelievably easy. The other, seemingly impossible.
I woke up to the sound of thunder this morning at about 8:00. It didn’t bother me. I spent a lot of time in the car yesterday and I will be spending even more time the next two days. Surely, I could afford a lazy morning and let the rain fall for a bit? I checked the weather forecast on my phone. It predicted the sun’s return around 10:00. Perfect.
The forecast proved accurate. I left the motel around 11:00 determined to get a picture of the Missouri River. Even though I have crossed it several times the past few days, I had not discovered a place to get down by the banks. After studying my trusty maps a bit, I came up with a plan.
Missouri River video
My plan panned out. I found a park right next to the river. People were fishing. Others were just sitting in their cars watching me. That gave me an uneasy feeling. I think the correct term I’m looking for is “ookie” feelings.
Trip musings (* expelled) video
A short 1.7 mile trail along the bank looked interesting. But I looked around and noticed about 5 people (all men) just sitting in their cars. Just sitting there. Watching me.
The paranoid side of me surfaced and I left the park.
The trouble with that decision was the fact it was just after 12:00.
So, I drove a bit. Hoping to stumble on some great find. I did not. My dad has talked about when he used to go to a new city. He would just walk around and get lost to see what he could find. I tried doing that in the car. If you’re lost by design it’s called wandering.
I headed back into Independence to find some lunch and get some souvenirs. But I found the Frontier Trails Museum and went through that instead. As I left, I asked the lady at the desk if she recommended anywhere for lunch.
She gave me a map of historic downtown. I became a little familiar with the square on Monday. I lost my car there and experienced moments of intense panic. But I braved it again. By sheer dumb luck (and I’m condensing this story a lot so trust me when I say it was luck) I happened to pull into a parking spot right in front of one of the places she recommended to me.
I had a tasty sandwich. And decided to go in search of a place that sold souvenirs. Every city I’ve ever been to has had at least one souvenir shop in places such as this. I checked in on Facebook mainly so I could find my car again. And then I walked. And walked. And walked.
No souvenir shops. Zilch. Zero.
Not a problem. My motel is across the street from a Walgreens. I would stop in on the way back to my motel.
First, I went to the Truman Museum. Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States, was an Independence native. Although he had some tough decisions to make during his time in office, I’m not sure I would have voted for him. I text my dad and asked for his opinion. “Did grandma and grandpa vote for Truman?” I asked.
I didn’t get a response.
I headed back toward my motel and stopped at Walgreens. Then at the K-Mart next door.
No souvenirs in either.
Okay, this is my thought on the subject. It kind of stinks to be a suburb of a major city with professional ball teams. Anything close to a souvenir was for Kansas City Chiefs, the Royals, or even the Missouri Tigers.
While sitting in the parking lot of K-Mart I Googled “Souvenir shops near me.” It pulled up one store. Using the directions on my phone I set out for the hunt. I followed my blue blip as I closed in on my prey. I circled back when I missed my turn. I became frustrated when my blue blip kept jumping from place to place. “I’m not a rabbit! I’m not hopping.”
I became irritated but also more determined to find the *&%# shop. Finally, after several trial and error moments, I achieved success. It was a sports fan store. But after what I went through, I went in anyway. I walked around the whole store and on my way out I found plain ol’ Missouri shirts. And I bought one.
On the way back to the motel I stopped at an ice-cream shop I discovered this morning situated right in front of my motel. I splurged on a banana split.
I was thirsty though so I got a Dr. Pepper from the vending machine in the lobby of my motel. That made pop number two for the day. I am eating like I just turned 20 instead of… you know, not 20.
I’m in for the night and planning my route for tomorrow. I sure wish I didn’t have to go back. I could keep going.
Must go back. Must go back. Must go back. When that fork in the road comes, head west. But would it be so awful if I headed east?