We Reflect What We Follow

What do you do when a teenager spent the whole month of June making new friends with students from all over the state suddenly discovers herself back home, alone, while all said new friends are within driving distance of at least a few other new friends?


Pray that someone takes a vacation to your middle of nowhere, yet full of state parks rural area. And finally, someone is coming for a one day visit and makes plans for her to spend the day with their family sightseeing and swimming.

Except it rains.

For days.

And nights.

And there are those pesky flash flood warnings. That turn in to actual floods. That close the parks.

And said day trip is cancelled.

And said teenager follows along on social media while the rest of the group catches a train to the other side of the state to spend the weekend with a group of new friends there.

So, you sacrifice your day at the river to take said teenager to the city two hours away so they can go to Six Flags with a few other new friends who didn’t make the other side of the state trip. Except you can’t really afford for everyone to go right now, and it’s 100 degrees outside, and you’re still dealing with that heart-rate thing, so what do you do?wpid-wp-1436710355173.jpegYou simply raise your eyebrows when your husband says, “Let’s just pick a road and get lost.” wpid-wp-1436711183240.jpeg

And then you come to a little town. Well, you PASS a little town, make your husband stop in the mwpid-wp-1436710812667.jpegiddle of the road, find a place to turn around, and go back to said little town.

Because it’s cute.

You find the cutest redone train station, a set of tracks over the road with a commode thrown out under it, and the cutest little village to walk around, shop, eat, visit, or take photos that I’ve managed to see in a while.

It seemed that almost every place on this strip was for sale. They all were in excellent condition and upkeep. So, if you’re looking for a picturesque, small town America community to invest in, might I recommend Labadie, Missouri?

Our next turn in the road took us to Babler State Park. Apparently its “real” name is Dr. Edmund A Babler Memorial State Park, but I’ve only ever heard of it as Babler State Park.

We got there minutes after the visitor center closed, so we missed out on that. We did drive through the park, however, looking for deer.

We were looking so hard through the undergrowth out in the forest that we literally drove right past one standing on the mowed shoulder inches from the Durango. As she stepped back towards the wood-line, I saw the movement and turned and saw her! So, we went back to visit. She wagged her little white tail at us and just stared us down. Pretty sure she thought we were crazy.

The park was almost empty. There were a few people at a large pavilion for a barbecue or something similar, but other than that we didn’t come across many people. I think the lack of a river and the intense heat were probably keeping people away this afternoon.

We took a few more roads we didn’t know and wound up at the one place I had mentioned way earlier in the day that I had thought about going. Mind you, it wasn’t on hubby’s list at all, and I said “thought about” because I didn’t want to do the walking it would require in the heat.

Well, we were simply driving roads and seeing where we wound up, so imagine our surprise when we wound up right at St. Louis Premium Outlets!

Of course we went ahead and parked and walked to Rack Room Shoes. It was meant to be!

Except it wasn’t.

I typically leave that store with four pair of shoes and several I intend to go back and get.

I left empty handed. Sadness.

We did hit the Skechers Outlet across the way, however, and leave with hubby two pair of shoes! WIN!

As we left there we knew we needed to be headed back in the general direction of Six Flags. Hubby picked a route he knew would lead the right direction and then intended to take roads we hadn’t taken before to get the rest of the way there.

Except before we got too far he saw a sign for the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. And I said, “I’ve always wanted to go there. I don’t really know what’s there, but I’ve heard it’s really nice.”

wpid-wp-1436712063659.jpegAnd you guessed it!

We detoured.

So, what’s there is a ton of ponds, lakes, corn fields, sunflower fields, deer, rabbit, cranes wpid-wp-1436712377042.jpeg(aka great blue heron or goony birds), coyotes, birds, butterflies, fishermen, and I’m certain things I’m forgetting.

I totally wish we had time to stop and fish with that great blue heron! I tried to get a picture of him standing in the water below where he was fishing, but as soon as I pushed the button he flew up on the wall. It did result in this up close and personal picture and a conversation about the fishing below, however.

Yes, I think I could pack a cooler, my fishing poles, and go back to the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. Except I’m going to have to come up with a much shorter name for it. Like, Lotsalakes. Yep. That’ll do.

Once we found our way out of the maze of roads marking the 30+ lakes, we set off down a path running parallel to the Katy Trail. This path was beautiful and had many, many wineries I had never heard of along it. Beautiful places!

And then, DETOUR.

Yes, we had been detouring all day, but they were by choice not road closure. And they were while we had time to dally, not when we were on a deadline to pick up a child. And they were on twisty, curvy, no shoulder roads, with tons of traffic due to a detour in the middle of wine country running along the Katy Trail.

We saw some absolutely beautiful property. Well, I would have if I had been brave enough to look right or left.

Eventually we made it back to civilization, had time to stop at a Hardees before flying into Six Flags, and got there just in time to pick up our daughter who had a great time seeing her friends.

You never know where a tank of gas and an open mind will take you! I hope it will take me back to a few of those places again some day soon!

Did a tank of gas and an open mind take you anywhere this weekend? What did you experience that was new?


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