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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

When Michael booked us into the Lewis and Clarke State Park, I never really looked at a map. He said "It's about fifteen minutes north of Weston." and I just shrugged and said okay. Weston Missouri is this little town north of Kansas City where everyone goes on weekends for wine and distillery tours and antiquing. Fall is crazy pants there. One year we took the Cabbage to a pumpkin patch and orchard near Weston. We thought we'd have lunch in town, but when we drove into the town, Michael just continued on driving through because there was no place to park. Anywhere. Weston Bend State Park was number two on the list of best state parks in Missouri last year. It is nearly impossible to book a campsite in this park. So, Lewis and Clarke seemed like our best option. 

We arrived Friday afternoon and set up the camper and Michael ran water through the lines to clear out the antifreeze. Things went surprisingly well with our first setup of the year. I noticed that we were missing some food items, so Michael suggested we find a nearby grocery store. He looked up grocery stores and found that we were ten minutes from a Walmart. He entered everything into his navigation system, who we call Hazel and then proceeded to follow Hazel's instructions. Along the way, we passed a billboard for Atchison Kansas and the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. I said to something to Michael about it and he said "That's weird because, we are no where close to Kansas." Which I should have known better, because Michael is the type of person who, when facing north, will say he's facing any other direction than north. So, yeah, that Walmart we were headed to was the Atchison Kansas Walmart. What this really meant was that we were ten minutes from the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. 

This completely changed our itinerary for Saturday. 

Saturday morning, we found ourselves back in Atchison and wandering around Amelia Earhart's old stomping ground. We did not go inside her house. It is now a museum and was not open at the time of our visit, but we peeked in the windows and walked all around the outside. The brick path around the house is dotted with memorial bricks where loved ones and friends have donated money to the museum to get a brick in memory of someone. So many of the bricks are memorials for women pilots and members of The 99s and so many of those bricks shared words of gratitude for Amelia Earhart. My eyesight blurred as I became overwhelmed with tears. Amelia Earhart broke the rules that conventional society had established for women during a time in history when it was so much more difficult to break those rules. She did not just inspire women to be pilots. She inspired us to defy convention, to be true to ourselves no matter what, to take risks and seek out adventures. When I wasn't playing Little House on the Prairie, I was sitting in my tree flying an airplane and being stranded on a deserted island. I was Amelia Earhart. She was one of the first to teach me that women can do anything, be anything. We make our own rules. 

Michael and I eventually made it to Weston and out to a creamery where we ate so much cheese, but Amelia Earhart took over this trip. Later on, when we were reminiscing about our day as we sat around our campfire, Michael said "My partner is basically Amelia Earhart reincarnate. How could we not visit Atchison." Atchison had not been part of our plans, but it turned out to be the best part of the adventure.