Our trip went great! We headed for Smithville Lake, which is a Corps of Engineers lake about an hour from us. Since the generator/inverter conversation is still not going on, we got a 50 amp plug-in. It wasn’t hot that day but was supposed to get hot on the 15th! YAY! Perfect weather for my birthday! We have hardly ever run both air conditioners because we needed to, but have conducted some of Jim’s rolling scientific experiments to check on the power load. A couple of those have not ended so well, but progress is ongoing. The mounted fans in front worked great this time. Those are a lifesaver for me. We only used the AC for a little while the whole time we were there.
The campground was just outside the very small town of Smithville where there is a world class destination restaurant in the old Justus Drugstore, right on the main street into town. Jonathan Justus, the chef’s family ran the local drugstore for decades. Not sure of the history of it all, but now it is a local farm to table, locally sourced, all that jazz restaurant. I have been wanting to go for years. When we couldn’t really come up with another good bus related idea, Jim took it on to make a reservation for my birthday and the campground was definitely within biking distance. On Wednesday we rode all around and into town a couple of times that day, about 14 miles. Jim’s thermometer said it was 104 degrees when we got back to the bus! It cooled down to 97 by the time we went in for dinner.
While we were parking the bikes, a guy leaning over the patio said, “You don’t see many panniers on bikes anymore.” I laughed and said, “Where do they put their stuff?” We got into a conversation and it turned out he was a bike messenger in San Francisco for 14 years, so WHOA! We talked about proposed bike touring projects that had been trashed by locals fearing those renegade bicyclists, just like the Katy Trail. After a minute, Jim said “Are you the chef?” And he introduced himself and indeed he was Jonathan Justus.
We talked some more and then we went inside and embarked on a sensory delight such as I have never experienced. Artisan cocktails. So many ingredients! Pickled grapes! A salad with bleu cheese/black pepper ice cream. Kobe beef tenderloin sliced so thin I don’t know how they were able to arrange it on the plate. With a pile of shaved asparagus. Rabbit wrapped around a sausage with bacon. Local ceviche.
Jim surprised me with the birthday candles making it clear that I am officially a senior citizen – GAH! I remember my dad totally embracing and always asking for his Senior Citizen discount. So I always ask. I guess I should feel good when people say they never would have guessed. Or they are just plain liars. We did get a discount at the campground!
As a friend said, it’s not the new 40, but it a’int bad. And you gotta’ celebrate! Thanks to Jim for a great birthday plan. We are going back in a couple of weeks for a test run with the kitties, all three of them. Please send Valium. For them and us.
More birthday photos here. They’re worth it for the food alone!