Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ultimate Road Trip - Day 3

We woke in Jefferson City Missouri to sunshine and a promise of warmer temperatures.

We had our free breakfast at the icky Motel 8 and hit the road. It was a little chilly but it soon warmed up.

We passed through the Land of the Ozarks an area that would be very busy in the summer as it has many lakes.

Missouri is very flat as we drive towards to Oklahoma state line. We saw signs stating the world's largest gift shop so we decided to stop. The gift shop wasn't opened until 10AM but the candy shop was open!

Since we had picked up some souvenirs in the candy store we decided not to wait until 10AM to visit the gift  store.

 We continued to head west to Oklahoma.

Finally we crossed into Oklahoma around 11AM. Oklahoma is the first state we've hit that has toll roads it cost us $8 to cross the state. However the speed limit is 75 miles per hour or 120 km.

We stopped in Claremore for lunch and then went for a stroll around town. This town is famous as the birthplace of Will Rogers the cowboy, actor, comedian, radio personality and speaker who never met a man he didn't like.

Statue of Will rogers reading the Claremore newspaper.

The historic Hotel Will Rogers was dedicated on February 7, 1930 and Louis Abraham, Walter Krumrei, and Morton Harrison financed the hotel. Their plan came together after Louis' father had come to Claremore to take mineral water baths and was cured of rheumatism. He fell in love with the place, but felt that Claremore had been held back as a health resort for the lack of suitable hotel facilities. The fireproof structure of concrete and steel unique for it's time and furnishings cost $321,000 to build.

During World War II, it was designated as a bomb shelter. It was Krumrie that chose the Spanish decor, partly because of its resemblance to Will Rogers' home in Santa Monica. The six story hotel contained 78 rooms and seven apartments.

Back in the car with Clinton or Elk City OK as our destination for the evening. Just on the outskirts of Oklahoma City was the Hard Rock Cafe Casino.

There are signs along the highway for the Cherokee shopping "experience" since we needed gas and water we stopped.

Found a Hampton Inn in Clinton that had a restaurant attached to it called Montana's Mike's which had ribs and steak for dinner.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ultimate Road Trip - Day 2

We woke in the Hampton Inn in Springfield Ohio on our second day. At 7AM it was pitch dark, somewhere we had gained an hour when we crossed into CST.
We ate breakfast at the hotel as it was included and then headed out around 7:45.

Our aim today is to head towards St. Louis Missouri and stay on the other side. That meant heading towards Indiana and Indianapolis. 

 The sun is shining it is 1 degree Celsius or 37 F. This part of the country is farm land and extremely flat.

Then we crossed into Illinois.

We stopped in Casey IL to visit the world's largest wind chimes and to stretch our legs.

The Bank of Casey, going to bat for you.

World's largest wind chimes.

The town was dressed up for Christmas.

There were yellow ribbons tied to the lamp posts for their soldiers serving overseas.

Since we had bought bread, ham and cheese last night we decided to just make sandwiches as we drove.

We then were outside St. Louis Missouri.

We were able to get some great shots of the Arch as we drove by St. Louis.

We continued on our way to Jefferson City, state capitol of Missouri. We were hoping to find a hotel downtown so we could walk around but ended up at a Motel 8 (yuck) at $60 for the night.

I asked the clerk at the desk for a restaurant recommendation and she mentioned a German place. We also found a place called Bingham's in the Truman Hotel which looked like a good menu according to the tourist booklet in our hotel. We drove there and when we entered there was a sign saying they were no longer serving dinner in the dining room but you could eat in the Library. We sat in the Library once we looked at the menu full of fast food we left and headed to the German restaurant where we had a delightful meal.

Das Stein Haus was fantastic. The owner is the chef and he comes out and has a shot of pear schnapps with each table. The food was so good!! The weiner schnitzal was just perfect not greasy at all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Ultimate Road Trip - Day 1

Our plan for this winter is to get in the car and head for Arizona and Nevada. We booked some timeshare in Scottsdale but this got cancelled due to some other requirements (another post). We have a week booked in Sedona and then a week in Las Vegas. Then we have a condo rented for two months and then plan to head to Mazatlan for two weeks before flying back to Vegas and then a leisurely, no plans, drive back home.

We left Toronto on Monday, November 26 and stopped to visit friends who have kindly offered to keep an eye on our home while we are gone. After a great visit, with muffins thrown in for the drive, we left at 10:30 and headed to the US border which was much busier than we envisioned on a Monday morning.

Once we were through we passed through Buffalo where there was snow!

We crossed into Pennsylvania early afternoon. We decided not to stop for lunch but rather just grabbed subs and ate them on the drive.

The plan is to get as far as we can in the first few days so that we can slow down and enjoy some heat and sunshine once we are further south/west.
Next state was Ohio.

We headed towards Columbus and arrived in Springfield Ohio around 6PM and checked into the Hampton Inn. The room was nice and we decided to go out and get some cheeses and wine for dinner as we were surrounded by fast food joints.

Oct 18 - Basel Switzerland

It's our last full day of our trip and we are on our own in Basel. It was a beautiful sunny day.

We strolled out and had breakfast in a small cafe.

With no particular destination in mind we window shopped along our way.

 We begin at the Mittiliere Rheinbrucke (Middle Rhine Bridge), this historic bridge is the wooden predecessor of today's stone bridge dated 1225.

We followed the Rhine River along the edge and landed in the Martinkirchplatz and then wandered up the narrow lanes towards Munster.

There were many interesting sights along the way.

We reach Munsterplatz and explore Cathedral square.

The 12th century cathedral is built of the distinctive red sandstone, and was partially rebuilt after the earthquake of 1356. On the façade we noted the statues of the city's three patron saints, Mary, Henry II of Germany and his wife Kunigunde. This used to be a Celtic and a Roman site in former times, but the current building was begun in 800 in the Romanesque style, with Gothic vaulting added later.

 Inside the church, we saw the misericord seats, a new word to me. It is defined as a ledge projecting from the underside of a hinged seat in a choir stall that, when the seat is turned up, gives support to someone standing. This cathedral has seventy-four 14th century misericords.

The Jesus window is superimposed by a six-pointed star, and the tomb of Erasmus, the famous Dutch scholar and humanist are also located in this cathedral.

Beneath the cathedral are quite a few crypts.
The tombs of bishops from the 9th to 13th century can be found in the Münster Crypt, which can be entered from both sides of the choir. On the columns, a Romanesque frieze depicts hunting and other scenes and ornamentation, while ceiling frescoes portray scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, Christ’s childhood and the lives of St Martin of Tours and St Margaret. Visitors can also see the excavated walls of the earlier 9th century cathedral. There are other monuments including dated life-size Romanesque statues of bishops, on each side of the altar.


 I thought the cloisters were just amazing and beautiful. And we had a great view of the tiled roof.

From the cloisters, we had a fine view of the river and its bridges, and the Black Forest and Jura.

Hotel Krafft am Rhein, situated on the northern bank with its view on the cathedral skyline opposite on the southern bank.The writer Hermann Hesse lived there for some months, and wrote there his "Steppenwolf"

Take the ferry boat ( Swiss franc 1.60 for adults, children half fare)  by the staircase behind the cathedral and cross the Rhine without a  motor.

We then decided to walk across the bridge and had a magnificent view of the cathedral.

We walked to the Basel Paper Mill but it wasn't worth the effort, it was very disappointing as we were led to believe that the area had been rejuvenated to include shops and restaurants. We then headed back towards the centre of town.

We stepped into the courtyard of the Kunst Museum and there was a copy of the Rodin statue The Burghers of Calais which was cast in 1946. There are twelve casts.

We sat in the Munsterplatz and soaked up the sun and a beer.

Time for a pizza lunch.

The pizza was so good we came back here for dinner!