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Vacation so far has been a lot of Missouri travel. Got back last night from a two day trip to Springfield. We left Friday morning fairly early heading down 63 to 54. We drove through Lake of the Ozarks which I had described as a tourist trap shit hole for drinking on boats, date rape, and meth. There are also lots of local little restaurant/bars with names playing on fishing, beer, and date rape (no meth yet) and we decided to take advantage of that to grab some breakfast at one of them, Hookers or Crack Whore or something like that, a little before ten. We found a lively crowd of drunken revelry happening in celebration of the USA/Slovenia world cup mach. I heard a local calling to check in with her boss saying: “Its started early, the US world cup game started at 9:00”. We felt we had an appt. with destiny as we caught the last 20 minutes of the game, just in time for the US to come back to tie. Breakfast was good as well.

We stopped at Ozarkland as we had both forgotten our hats and it was a hot and sunny day. We ended up getting some close outs and I got a leather brimmed Lake of the Ozarks hat for $3.25. The check out lady was very funny and engaging and every line was a joke. She confirmed Ha Ha Tonka State Park was worth the trip.

And it was. We met another very nice lady who wrote out an ambitious agenda of short hikes for our 90+ day of humid hiking. We walked up to the remains of a castle built by a KC business man at the turn of the century. It was very cool and a nice hike with lots of drinking fountains. We also hiked up to the water tower which was very D&D. The glade trail wasn’t all that as it was supposed to be booming with wildflowers which it wasn’t (right now its time for Brown Eyed Suzans, Cone Flowers and Butterfly weed). We caught the natural bridge which was pretty cool but it had a very heavy handed gravel trail across it that took away from its natural beauty. We drank a lot of water and slowed our pace when we started to flag and the heat and humidity thinned out the crowds nicely.

We drove on to Springfield and took 44 West until we saw hotels. We looked at a local place but it looked meth-ridden so we cruised down to the America’s Best Inn and payed a little more. Firm bed but the remote didn’t work and it had ants.

The hotel was also across the street from a Buckingham’s Barbecue. Since there is no good barbecue in Columbia we ran across the street for dinner. I had smoky links and beef brisket (excellent) and the pot beans were first rate. I tried Harry’s greens which were also great; my fries were highly skippable, but nice and salty for having had sweated a gallon of water or so earlier in the day.

After dinner we napped and then cruised down to the Outland Ballroom for the show. There was a long line and it looked like young hipsters were the target audience. Friendly though and we talked a bit with a mustachioed young fellow while we waited. He was a David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) fan.

The show turned out to be great. Rubik was the opening act straight from Helsinki. They had really complex fun stuff with lots of instrument changes and complex clapping. Just really fun and though I couldn’t make out the words there was a nice spirit to them. The crowd, whom I am quite sure had never heard of them, were really into it and there was lots of dancing, jumping and clapping which we joined in.

It was hot so we ran across the street to a coffee shop and I had a nice frozen coffee drink that was excellent and sat well with the two beers I had blasted through in the first act. I don’t know why Christian music and mind altering substances go together so well. I think  a few beers and a stiff espresso drink puts you in an ecstatic place to really get into it. Church ought to look into this phenomenon.

This might be a good place to talk about the crowd. Mostly Christian so in spite of being in a smoking bar there was very little smoking and drinking going on. The non-intoxicated crowd was fun and not overtly christian by dress. But polite. If someone bumped you they apologized. They looked like hipsters and were mostly young and pretty. It was an all ages show so it ended at 11 which I liked.

David Bazan was good. We saw him use the bathroom at the coffee shop before he went on. We speculated he was doing a few lines. Putting in a singer song writer in the middle act was strange but the break from jumping was good. He seemed sincere and his stuff was ok, but singer-songwritery. Hard not to be when you’re a dude with a guitar. But he had his fans.

Finally mewithoutyou came on. They were as great as I had hoped and it was a fun show. Everyone was super into it and I think all of us sang along to my favorite which was part of the encore, “lets forgive everyone all the time for everything” and “Allah, Allah in every blade of grass”. All that good stuff. It felt like worship and ended up being one of the best shows i’ve ever seen.

Categories: religeon, travel
  1. Malvo
    June 30, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Mike…you have great comedic charm in your writing. Isaiah and I went with Wesley to Ha Ha Tonka a couple years ago and you’re right- that place is totally out of D & D. It was a fun time and I recommend checking it out in autumn- it’s beautiful. Glad you are having a good summer!

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