Stanberry, MO and a Bridge Detour

The sign on the bank said 100 degrees the day the mules and I arrived in Stanberry, MO. The welcome was warmer than that. The route I had in mind from here? Not so hot….

Stanberry and surrounding locales is home to a large Amish community. Here an Amish buggy tied up one block North the town’s main square.
Top hat, flag and the century mark on the thermometer: summer – and the 4th of July – have arrived.

Bridge Out: You Can’t Get there From Here

I came through Stanberry, Missouri with my mules because it was on the way to Rock Port. Rock Port. That’s where I was going to cross the Missouri River from Missouri in to Nebraska. Wednesday morning (today) I headed in to town looking for a cup of coffee. I found what I was looking for in Big 4 Hardware. The coffee that is

Big 4 Hardware (Stanberry, MO)

While sipping Steve Lockhart’s coffee (he’s the guy that signs the checks at Big 4 Hardware) I learned my plan for crossing the Missouri River in Rock Port wasn’t going to work out. Recent flooding had closed the bridge from Missouri in to Nebraska.

To double check, I called the Rock Port city hall. Sure enough, the lady on the phone verified the bummer news. The bridge from Rock Port, Missouri to Nebraska was out due to flooding. The next closest bridge was 60 miles upstream in Bellevue, Iowa.

Bellevue, Iowa. That’s just south of Omaha, a 60 mile detour from the way I’d originally planned to travel.

So…..from here in Stanberry, instead of heading due West for Rock Port, the mules and I will head North West to Iowa. There we’ll cross in to Nebraska.

Not that I’m in any great hurry. Tomorrow’s the 4th of July. Everyone in Stanberry has been telling me, “you are staying for the fireworks, right?”

Telling me, not asking me.

“Of course!” I tell them. The mules and I are having a great stay here. Folks have been incredibly hospitable. Beside, to split out on the Fourth of July would just seem… unfriendly and unpatriotic.

Thanks for the amazing welcome Stanberry. That river crossing can wait. Let’s shoot off some fireworks!

Stanberry Folks

Here are some photos of the folks in Stanberry that made our visit so enjoyable.

City Hall: great big thanks to Hailey Luke, Laverne Smith and Melissa Goucher for arranging for the mules and me to stay at the city’s park. Today was Hailey’s last day at work before she moves on another job nearby. Good luck in your new endeavor Hailey.
Tom: I met Tom at the hardware store this morning. I mentioned the mules like bananas but I preferred something stronger. This afternoon he putt putted in to my camp on his 4-wheeler bearing a 5 gallon bucket of water for the mules. And half a dozen bananas for the mules. And a chilled bottle of homemade elderberry and wild grape wine for me. Thanks Tom! If you were around, fair readier, I’d share a mug-full with you. Instead….
…I’ll be drinking that wine with the mules. See how Brick’s positioned herself in to the photo. Subtle, eh?

Some More Stanberry Pics

Here are some more photos of Stanberry. I’ll start with some photos of my trip to Stanberry from Trenton, MO, where I spent 2 days resting up the mules. It took 3 days to ride the 60-odd miles from Trenton to Stanberry.

Cell phone reception a little funky? It could be the turkey vultures. Here, a tower a few miles west of Trenton, MO.
Most of the roads we’re travling are small and two lane. I swear the sky is getting bigger the farther West we’re riding.
Or are the roads getting smaller? Here, a road 3 miles south of Stanberry. I heard a mail carrier describe these roads as “mud roads”. They were dusty when I traveled them, only one ingredient away from mud: rain.
You love them or they make your teeth hurt: wild gooseberry on the side of the road. They’re a week or two from getting ripe. This one on a shrub I tied the mules next to on one of their lunch breaks.
Stanberry’s park. The downtown is laid around the square park.
German note to buggy drivers. Loosely translated, “if your horse poops, you scoops”.
Sign in the window at Gambino’s Pizza:
Firearms Welcome: Please Keep All Weapons Holstered Unless Need Arises. In Such a Case,Judicious Marksmanship is Appreciated.
Our digs for the night: here, Brick grazes at the base of the guy wires that hold up a communication tower.

Stanberry Thanks

I’ve been in Stanberry 24 hours and I already have almost as many folks to thank for the amazing welcome. Here’s a partial list (with my apologies if I blanked on your name or mis-pelled it. Sucker punch me tomorrow at the 4th of July Parade and I’ll add you to the list). Thanks to:

  • Hannah Slaydon and Larry: for the mule water, prime rib sandwich, ice tea and bowl of ice cream. And I’d just entered the city limits…
  • Dave Hibbs: for permission to camp at the Jaycess tractor pull strip
  • Tom: the mule water, bananas, homemade bottle of elderberry and wild grape wine and chilled Keystone beers
  • Eddie: of Big 4 Hardware for the coffee, bug spray, neck cooling wrap and compass. And chilled beers.
  • For everyone mowing the grass before the fireworks: cold drinks
  • Mary and David: loading up all my gear so we could move it in advance of Thursday’s fireworks
  • The folks at the Public Library: for internet access, coffee and the map of Iowa.

10 Responses to Stanberry, MO and a Bridge Detour

  • Bernie, you are spreading your humanness everywhere you go. The connections you make with people are sure signs of hope and understanding, at a time when this country is so troubled. It is often easy to slip into pessimism and loose sight of what a great bunch of people we really are. So thank you! Many times over,
    We live way out on the Olympic Peninsula. We are about twenty miles from Canada which we see across the Straits. So it is not often that we think of Carolina, Tennessee, Nebraska or Missouri. So this is another thing you bring by sharing your travels. Thank you again.

    • Todd. Great comment. You’re right about it being easy to slip in to pessimism. Thing is, that negativity is almost driven by hear-say: hearing this bad news on the TV, hearing about that disaster on the internet. It’s important to remember these are carefully curated distillations of chaos intended to sell advertising or garner social media attention.
      The “real” reality, the one I walk through daily, is a far more accurate representation of what our country is all about.
      It cheers me to hear you’re enjoying my simple posts from the road.
      Enjoy your view across the Straits. I was born in Seattle and have wonderful memories of Vancouver circa 1972.
      Have a great 4th up there!
      Bernie

      • And a grand Fourth to you Bernie. Quick question; do your mules handle firework OK? We have ten horses here at the farm. Some of them get a bit riled, but nothing to worry about. But then they are Blue Star Arabs!

        • The mules and I enjoyed an amazing July 3rd fireworks display here in Stanberry. They did fine so I’m guessing they’ll be okay tonight. We’re really close to where the fireworks get shot off. Just to be safe, I’ll tie them up nice and snug before the sound of freedom kicks off. Enjoy your Arabs and fireworks!

  • Route 2 at Nebraska City is usually good, but sometimes floods over the road on the Eastern side in Iowa. Inquire locally. It sounds like you are having fun. Bon Voyage.

    • Ha! The Wagon Teamster! Happy 4th Bob. Sounds like you’re familiar with the area. As to flooding, this is just one of those years. From what I hear, the Nebraska City bridge is closed. The good news is my route is taking me North West. So I’ll just head North a little sooner than expected.
      Of course you know all about delays and the vagaries of equine travel. Just roll with changes, be grateful and drink all the home brew you’re offered.
      Big howdy to Jacquie and the critters.
      Bernie

      • Hey Bernie, Your best bet is the Lambert Ave bridge in Plattsmourh, NE. I asked a friend at the nuke plant in Brownsville. It has the least traffic and is the closest. He has to detour to this bridge everyday. Happy 7-4.

        • Yep, just looked it up. You and your friend are absolutely right. The cool thing is new route will put me on 63 miles of rails to trails (the old Wabash Line) from Coin to Glenwood, Iowa. From there, it’s a short run to Plattsmouth. Thanks again for the heads up Friend! Big howdy to your buddy. Happy 7 – 5 (because no one celebrates July 5th).

  • Just seeing your posts about your visit to Stanberry! It was so great to have you in town and fun to hear of your adventures. Thank you for joining us for dinner on the 4th! Safe travels and we’ll keep track of your travels 🙂

    • Dear Eric and Brianna,Lovely hearing from you. Your having me over for dinner was one of the highlights of my trip. Along with Josh and my 38 block record high* Jenga tower! Big howdy to everyone from me. Bernie *gravity cheating

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