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YEAR #2 - STOP #55

"Show Me State"
is our 25th visited state

Today is a very special day for us, it marks a few milestones in our travels. In just a short 16.5 months we have now completed our visit of half of the lower forty-eight states. True that it's only a number, 24 of 48, and it in no way means our goals have been halfway met.

The Eastern United States that we have now visited are made up of a lot of the smaller states, specifically the 13 original colonies of the New World. While looking at a list of states it appears we are half done, but look at this map and it clearly shows we are only about a third of the way across the country.

With the exceptions of Wisconsin and Michigan we have visited every state located east of the mighty Mississippi River. These will probably be the last two states we visit because we are saving the Great Lakes Region for last.

Let's also talk about the time factor! If we have visited a third of the country in less than a year and a half, it stands to reason that five years should be plenty of time to SEE IT ALL! We figure it will actually be closer to seven years before we finish Lap #1 of our journey.

What does all this mean? Not much really in the big scheme of things, but today, THE POD did cross over the Mississippi River for the first time. Now we can begin to explore the western two thirds of our beautiful country.

SATURDAY - Today we are going to explore two caves at another state park located about twenty miles from our campsite. Onondaga State Park is home to Cathedral Cave and Onondaga Cave. Both tours are operated by a private concessionaire and not the state park service.

First up this morning is Onondaga Cave. The tour begins as most do, just outside of the gift shop. A short film informs us on the history and ownership of the cave. It also touches on the care and maintenance that is now in place to keep the cave inhabitants, and the cave itself, healthy so many future generations of visitors can experience it just as it is today.

While the tour is just under a mile long there are actually only a few stairs to climb. The walkways are ramps made of cement with handrails usually on both sides. While the roughly grated cement is good for making the surface less slippery, it is hard on a bare knee if you do find yourself on the ground. Don't ask me how I know! I now have a nice scrap on my right knee and a muddy stain of the back of my new shorts.

You'll see in the pictures that some of the walkways are very steep. I took my tumble on a relatively flat spot, right after I let my guard down and took my hands off the handrails. All I can say is, lesson learned!

Heading down the steep ramp into the cave.

A brightly lit section with many formations.

A huge flowstone we got right up next to.

What! Floating rock formations. We just called them lily pads.

Our second tour today is Cathedral Cave. This tour differs from most of the rest of the tours we've recently done for two reasons, first off the tour starts from the campground with a 1/3 mile hike up a forest trail. The second thing is there is no electrical lighting in the cave, so everyone is issued a flashlight to carry on the tour.

Just inside the entrance was a bat hanging from the ceiling.

The highlight of the tour was the 25 foot tall Cathedral Bell flowstone.

TUESDAY - Our third cave tour for this stop is going to be Meramec Caverns. It is considered to be one of the Top Ten cave tours in the United States. This will be our 4th visit to a Top Ten cave and our 19th overall. We still find each and every cave tour interesting, informative and something unique usually presents itself before the tour is over. Of course no two are completely alike.


The Grand Entrance to Meramec Caverns.
Extra long soda straw formations on the ceiling.
The reflection pool next to the walkway.
Beautiful natural coloring.
Same shot with unnecessary colorful LED lighting.
Looking up at the ceiling.
A shot while approaching the underground theater.
Let the light show begin.
Just as beautiful without the fancy lights.

I almost forgot to share with everyone a curious little roadside attraction we stumbled across just outside of our campground. It's advertised as Canoehenge.

It's a circle of canoes with their bows buried in the ground with a fire circle in the middle. Funny what you can find if you just keep your eyes open.

Here is what we saw from the roadway.

This is what we found directly behind it hidden in the woods.

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