What A Day!

Saturday turned out to be a LO-O-ONG Day. Our Ladies Who Lunch group were off on an adventure. We were going to lunch in a cave.

The River Cave is in a bluff above the Gasconade River. It’s located about 145 miles from home so it’s a long way to go for lunch. Frankly, I’m glad I went once but I wouldn’t break any speed records to return.

The drive was on Interstate highway until we got about ten miles from the cave. Most of those ten miles were on a narrow twisting Ozark style blacktop road. Then we switched to a gravel road, complete with ruts which bounced us around. We reached the parking lot where we were to be picked up by the shuttle to the restaurant. When it came, it was just an old car … not a van … and it jounced its way up an even narrower more deeply rutted road to the cave in the side of the bluff.

We stopped at two small shops up there. One had candles and some candy. The other had what were purported to be crafts but was mostly jewelry. I did find a china teapot which I bought to add to my collection.

From the shops it was a shortish walk to the elevator which transports you up to the restaurant. Once we got up there, we walked into the cave which the original owner had carved out of the rock. He removed 21 tons of rock to make this cave. I’m not sure why he decided to do this.

We had reservations and were shown to a long table. Our drink orders were taken quite quickly and it wasn’t long before our waitress took our food orders. She came back in a reasonable amount of time with salads. Then the waiting began.

We waited and waited. Other groups came in, ordered, got their food, ate and left. We were left sitting there. Then when the food came, the ladies who had coleslaw had to send it back because something was wrong with it. One woman had ordered chicken and it wasn’t cooked through. My chicken salad was tasty but I was surprised that the chicken on it was shredded breast rather than grilled chicken. By the time we finally got our meals and ate them, we were all out of the notion of having dessert.

We did complain about things and the hospitality manager came to the table and tried to explain what took so long. Unfortunately, her examples were based on people who order steaks and none of us had ordered that. So that didn’t go over very well. Altogether, our lunch took 2.5 hours!

Back in the elevator to the shop area, a short wait for the shuttle and then we were back at the parking lot. We headed home.

We were traveling in two vans, caravan style. The front van called. They were going to stop at an Army Surplus store because the group organizer had never been to one and wanted to see what it was like. So off the highway we went to that store. It’s a shame I didn’t want to buy camoflage gear because this would be the place to get it. It was decided we’d stop for ice cream after we left there.

We had trouble finding the shop selling homemade ice cream. Turns out the Garman was giving us directions to their old location. But we eventually found it — after more phone calls between the vans — and lined up to order our cones. Two of us had gotten their cones when the electricity went off. Fortunately it was light enough in the shop that the clerk could keep scooping ice cream. There was a nice variety of flavors. I ended up with a Cherry Lorraine waffle cone.

All the shops in the strip where the ice cream shop was had lost their electricity. Some locked their doors. That presented a problem because we were looking for a restroom. There was a tourist information center nearby and I suggested we try there. I was told it would be closed and the group headed for a filling station.

The filling station was closed because of the power issue which we think was caused by someone hitting a power pole. However, there was an old car show setting up at the visitors center and we were able to go inside and use the restrooms there. The only problem was there was no light in them. I fished my flashlight out of my purse but the batteries were dead.

Eventually we got everyone back in the vans and headed on home. As we drove, the front van called us again. The leader’s daughter-in-law had been in a bad accident. They were waiting for the ambulance. She damaged her face, head, and back. We should pray for her. So we drove down the highway praying for Patty. Her mother as well as mother-in-law were in that front van. I can’t begin to imagine how they felt. If you’re so inclined, please add Patty and her family to your prayer list.

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