Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How I Spent My Vacation, pt. 1

Yay, I'm finally back from vacation! Did ya guys miss me? I missed the internet, my own bed, and a few things like that - but I'd really rather just be on a permanent vacation. However, I am so far behind reading all of the blogs I am addicted to that I don't know how I'll ever catch up.

But, who cares about any of that? Let's get to the good stuff. Now, some of you already know that the Disney World vacation was cancelled because with rising gas prices and other stuff going on, it just wasn't the smartest thing to do financially. So, my vacation was spent bumming around and doing whatever struck my fancy at the time. For example, my first day of vacation was Saturday, July 7 and I spent it with family and friends celebrating my cousin Sabrina's 30th birthday. She's a local celebrity in our small hometown because she was the only baby born (in that town) on 7/7/77 and she weighed 7 pounds and some odd ounces, there are 7 letters in her first name, blah, blah, blah. I could go on, but we all just get so sick of hearing about the wonderful Sabrina. Actually, I'm just joking - we all love Sabrina and she truly is wonderful. She's my favorite cousin, except for all of my other cousins who read this blog in which case they should know that they are actually my favorite.

Anywho, for Sabrina's b-day a huge group of us went to Hinode in Springfield and had an outrageously wonderful dinner. If you are not aware of it yet, Hinode is my absolute #1 favorite place to eat ever! I highly recommend you smother all of your food with their "shrimp sauce" because there is nothing better in this world. And the chefs are highly entertaining. Because there were so many of us, we had two table/grill combinations reserved and therefore we ended up with two chefs. One of their favorite tricks is to try and flip a piece of shrimp into a customers mouth. I've seen it done a million times and it's usually about 50/50 on whether the person actually catches the shrimp or just barely misses it. So, of course we all died laughing when Travis agreed to try and catch a piece and then didn't realize the chef had flipped it yet so that while he sat there with his mouth wide open the shrimp bounced off of his forehead before he ever even moved. After we all finished, we went back to Sabrina's house to have a little party in her honor.

On Monday, July 9th, I convinced my mother to call in to work with personal business and go on an adventure with me. I had been wanting to check out Grand Falls in Joplin for several months now. Somehow I have managed to live in this area my entire life and had only recently learned that this place even existed. But I didn't want to spend an hour drive time for that 1 activity, so I took the opportunity to show my niece and nephew, Jessica and Charlie, just how big Big Brutus really is. I had been there a few years ago, but I really enjoyed it and I knew the kids would too. It is located in Kansas, but not really very far from Joplin. Now I had an excuse to stop by and see the falls.

Plus, I knew that on my way to Big Brutus, I could easily swing through Webb City to see the Praying Hands statue that I had never managed to drive over and see. And to top it off, I have recently started becoming obsessed with Route 66 and I knew we would be close enough to Carthage that I could swing through town on the old highway and try to find the old bridge that I've heard so much about. We did not find the bridge (apparently there's more than one alignment of Route 66 through Carthage?), but Jessica idolizes me and consequently loves everything I love so she was excited to get to stop and eat at a joint on Route 66. Overall, we had a pretty awesome day. Below are quite a few pictures of everything, sorry if you are on dial-up.

Praying Hands - Webb City, Missouri.

Big Brutus - West Mineral, Kansas. Doesn't look so big, does it?

Jessica and Charlie in front of the left, front "crawler" (wheel).

The kids standing inside the bucket scoop.

Going up and inside the belly of the beast.

Boys love to play with big toys.

One last look from a distance.

Grand Falls in Joplin was beautiful.

Dead snake!

Playing in the water.

The falls trickle down through the surrounding rocks.

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