Geoff Folsom

Geoff Folsom

We like to take time away from the house, but with two dogs, that can be tricky.

You either have to get a pet sitter who is willing to take on a hyperactive puppy who is not fully potty trained, bring the dogs with us (which is not a good idea for the aforementioned reasons) or come back within eight hours or so. We decided to go with the latter.

Jefferson City was playing host to a baseball card show, so we decided to take a nice Saturday drive based around that.

We started by getting breakfast at Taco Bell in Washington, which wouldn’t have been worth mentioning at one time, but most Taco Bells got rid of breakfast during the pandemic, so it was nice to have the breakfast Crunchwrap back.

We decided to take a different route to Jefferson City than we did the last time we went, about a year ago. We headed out through Hermann on Highway 100, which was pretty busy, then went the rest of the way on Highway 94. This was a great route. It ran along the north side of the Missouri River. Even though there was only one spot where we got a good view of the river, it was a nice drive mostly through farmland with a good view of the hills on the other side of the river.

Even better, there was little traffic, which was a nice change from taking Highway 50. We took that home from Jefferson City last year and got behind lots of slow traffic, which is a big problem in Missouri, where they apparently don’t believe in passing lanes on two-lane highways.

Having spent a lot of time in Portland, Oregon, I got excited to see a sign that said Portland, Missouri, was a few miles away. But the community didn’t make much of an impression on me, since I don’t remember actually driving through it.

The card show was the best I’d been to since I got back into collecting, with lots of cheap autograph cards and even some old soccer cards, which are the subgenres of the hobby I’m starting to gravitate toward.

We then had lunch at a barbecue place downtown. The last time we went to Jefferson City was shortly after the pandemic started. The State Capitol was under construction. The downtown was dead.

What a difference a year makes. This time, a car show (not to be confused with the card show we’d just been to) took over downtown. People were everywhere. After lunch, we checked out a downtown book and magazine shop, which took me back in time.

We decided to go a bit out of the way on our return trip and went down to Osage Beach. I’d last been through there in 1999, when I was going to the Texas Tech-Missouri football game in Columbia.

I’d heard a lot about Lake of the Ozarks, first from the videos of pandemic pool parties last year. My mother also said some unflattering things about it, but it turned out she was talking about another lake in a different part of the state.

Osage Beach (at least the parts we went to near the highway) felt less like a resort town than a suburb with all the big box stores. The weather was great, about 15 degrees warmer than in Franklin County, with a nice breeze that was reminiscent of the (ocean) beach. I’d like to go back and see more, hopefully during a less busy time of year.

Since I have a weird habit of liking to visit grocery stores from other regions, we stopped at Hy-Vee. We also went to Randy’s Frozen Custard and got frozen treats.

I certainly wish they still had the Shoney’s restaurant with its all-you-can-eat seafood buffet that I stopped at in Osage Beach on my way home from the game in 1999, but like most Shoney’s, it’s long gone.

We drove back on Highway 42, getting on Highway 63 in Vienna. I was tired, and my blood started to boil when we got stuck behind cars going 10 mph below the speed limit. Then, lo and behold, a passing lane appeared. Hey, MoDOT, let’s get some of those in this part of the state.

We got on Interstate 44 in St. James. We got off soon after and went to the Fanning 66 Outpost, which we’ve tried to go to before, only to turn the wrong way at the exit. They have what they claim is the world’s largest rocking chair, as well as a great selection of sodas from around the country. They even have offbeat soda flavors like butter and ranch dressing (the most bizarre I got was bacon).

We got home a little after 5 p.m. Our dogs were fine, and we had the experience of a nice day enjoying the countryside.