Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



Day 9 – Rt. 66 trip

I have not been sleeping well, but then again, I often don’t at home either. So this morning, Bob got up before me and went to the Branson Tourism Center to get back the deposit we paid to hold our seats for the time-share sales pitch. I thought they had said it was non-refundable so I was happy to be wrong. They didn’t give him a hassle so they got some points back if anyone is keeping score. The hotel recommendation was top notch, so we left town with another belly full of Clocker’s Café food and coffee.

It was already 83 degrees at 10:30 am so we deemed it a top-up, air conditioning day. It was nice to not have the sun beat down on me all day. We drove back up to Springfield to pick up Rt 66 and head west. Bob filled the gas tank at $2.79 for 91% octane. The little Mini does not like regular gas. We have not noticed much change from what we see at home in the trees, flowers and weeds so far. Our big lesson of the day was most attractions along Rt. 66 in small towns in South West Missouri, South East Kansas and North East Oklahoma are NOT open on Monday. When you plan your trip try to be in a large tourist area on Monday.

That being said, I will continue with photos and captions. Lucky you.IMG_1075

A tribute to the individuals that lost their lives storming Normandy. On the                          Branson Strip, Rt. 76, Branson, MO


Multi-branches of service memorial in Branson, MO


Long, straight road over hill and dale between Branson, MO, and Springfield, MO


1940’s era stone building Phillips 66 station. Many similar stone buildings in the area.


Above, war memorial in front of Tendercare lawn care company in Carterville, MO.

Below, the sign to go with the memorial



I liked the name so it rated a picture. Unfortunately not open.


Above.  There is only 13 miles of Rt. 66 in Kansas so it was a photo stop.

Below.  The retro station was not open.



A nice mural to prove we were in Kansas.


We hit the jackpot. The pharmacy was open. Kristal made our ice cream lunch for us.


We made about six attempts to find the Vintage Iron Motorcycle museum in Miami, OK, only to find it not open, but gone. Our EZ66 book let us down today. The website for this place looked great and said it was open all year.


Above, world’s largest totem pole near Foyil, OK.

Below, also at the totem pole site. Gift shop closed.


Aha, a necessity room near the totem poles. I love the name. It was clean and stocked.


Love the turtle. He was about four feet tall and seven feet long. Just sitting on a corner a few miles from the totem poles.


We are staying in downtown Tulsa, OK tonight. Across the street from our hotel is a four story medical center (hospital) with a nearly empty parking lot. Sure doesn’t look like home and we haven’t heard a siren yet. Let’s hope they have a quiet night.

We had dinner next door at Baxter’s. My Southwestern Cobb salad was above par and Bob’s Cajun Alfredo chicken and penne pasta was yummy. I stole a bite. I try to remember to do a check-in on Facebook when we eat so you can keep track of how far we have traveled and where we end up at the end of the day. That page is under Sue Carmichael Spitulnik. See you there.



Day 6 – Rt. 66 trip

Staying with family in a private home certainly has its perks. I made my own coffee this morning and added 2% milk bought especially for my visit. The rest of the day I have been pampered, to the point Lisa did our laundry. Thank you!

For four months after we started planning our trip, Bob was adamant he would do no work while traveling. Two weeks before we left, he told me he would be bringing his computer. This morning he spent about an hour on a conference call with other members of the construction team at Home Leasing and a client, mostly listening to the others, but then making an informed comment. The client’s response was, “Give us a minute.” Silence ensued for about five minutes. When they came back on the line, they agreed his idea was an out-of-the-box excellent suggestion. He claimed later this wasn’t a vacation day for him, except he’s been pampered the rest of the day too.

With Larry driving, we finally went to breakfast at County Bob’s in St. James, MO. We had a chuckle about the name. I put that photo on my Facebook page under the name Sue Carmichael Spitulnik. I had pork chop and eggs again. I have been trying to remember the first time I had that combination and why I like it so well. Haven’t come up with the memory yet.

From there we went further north to Meramec Caverns in Stanton, MO. The Land the caverns are on has been privately owned through four generations. Neither Bob nor I had ever been in a cave before. We got our feet wet spelunking in a well-lit, very safe, cave that has a 50 feet wide and 20 feet tall opening and is over 16 miles long in its entirety. We went in about half a mile, down 332 feet and had our mouths open in awe the whole time. The cave was used by the Union forces during the Civil War as an ammunition factory because they could extract salt-peter, potassium nitrate, from the dolomite stone to make gunpowder. The Confederate soldiers, Jesse James among them, destroyed the factory during the war. Ten years later, in 1874, he and Frank used the cave as a hide-out after robbing a train because it is large enough to hide a whole gang, their horses, and supplies completely from view. It also has a river for water and “side rooms” for privacy or storage. The stalactites (hanging from the top of the cave) and stalagmites (sticking up from the mud) were beautiful as they had such varied shapes and sizes, and some were millions of years old. The experience was well worth the money and they give a military and veterans discount if you can prove your status.


Frank and Jesse James statues outside Meramec Caverns


Stalactites in Meramec Cavern

On the way to the Caverns we saw a license plate that said Cherokee Nation. Where we are from in New York state we have Native American reservations who belong to the Iroquois Nation, but we have never heard of a special plate for them. We are speculating the car belonged to a political representative of the nation and has a special plate like members of the House of Representatives and Congress have. But, that is only a guess.

Larry drove Rt. 66 on the way back to Rolla and made tourist stops for us. We drove through Cuba that has lots of murals on the outside of buildings, then on to Fanning to stop at The US 66 Outpost to see the Giant Rocking Chair. The gift shop there is a must. There were hundreds of flavors of pop; we call it soda in New York. Some of the flavors were Barf, Dog Drool, Birthday Cake, and normal ones like cherry cream, grape, and different colas. We bought some socks with silly sayings to give as gifts. Many other things caught our eye, but we resisted knowing we still have 19 more days of travel.


Mural on side of Fanning Outpost in Cuba, MO. Murals line the route.


At Fanning Outpost


Merchandise bag worth keeping


Another funny bathroom sign. Expect to see more.

Our “lunch” stop was at Soda & Scoops in Rolla. This home-made ice cream shop was opened by a couple so their daughter who has Downs Syndrome would have a pleasant place to work. We met the daughter and saw the Mom. I will be talking about the bourbon spiked espresso ice cream with chocolate chunks for a long time. Its name was Exhausted Parent. To keep the ice cream from dripping out of the bottom of the waffle cone, a Hershey’s Kiss was put upside down in the point. The ice cream is made in Madison, Wisconsin. It will be my goal to find another store that carries it.


Soda and Scoops menu in the store. Below – a unique table for children.


We spent the early evening looking at before and after pictures of the house Larry and Lisa have been remodeling for the last three years and then Larry cooked steaks outside for us for dinner. It was a very relaxing day.

Day 2 – Rt. 66 trip

I started the day with a cold-pond temperature shower in the Days Inn in Lakewood, Ohio. I have to say the bed was wonderful, the halls were quiet, but the room cleanliness and repair were the worst ever in our travels. I’ve never felt uncomfortable walking barefooted in a hotel room before. When I called the front desk about the water temperature, they said let it run longer. By the end of Bob’s shower, the water was lukewarm. The refrigerator and air conditioner are both very quiet. A big plus for me. I won’t bother with the details about the condition of the room. Believe me when I say we won’t be staying here again even though it is only five minutes from the kids. I would also advise others to avoid the place. We thought about raising a ruckus and checking out, but didn’t want the hassle of moving. We left the do not disturb sign in the door all day and came back to the room the way we left it.

We had coffee and a pastry at the Blackbird Baking Company for breakfast. The pastries were so good we bought two to have in the morning before we get on the road.



two unknowns purchasing pastries

When we finished, we went to the kids where I was reprimanded (in a loving way) for not telling you yesterday that I made the fabric passage picture that was behind Jon’s Emmy. I must be getting old. I remember Jon coming to the house one day while he was working at 13WHAM and asking for help making the gift for his then fiancé, Dung Tran. She is Vietnamese by birth, but a US citizen since her teen years. Her name is pronounced like the word young. I don’t remember tracing, cutting and then stitching all the letters onto the grey back ground but both Jon and Dung said I did. I wouldn’t mind being reminded of doing more nice things like that.

We met Dung about the same time we met Jon when they were boyfriend and girlfriend. We have enjoyed our part in their long-distance relationship, then marriage, when Jon worked in Rochester and Dung taught school outside of San Francisco. When Jon left Channel 13 for a job in Bakersfield, CA, they finally got to live together and start their family. Then he was offered the job in Cleveland a year and a half ago, so here we are.

While Dung was still in the Bay Area, she got more education and received a national teaching certificate so she could get a teaching job anyplace in the US without having to be certified in the individual state. She has just been hired full time to teach kindergarten in Cleveland. I understand not a lot of teachers go the trouble of getting the certification. It’s a lot of work, and not very easy to accomplish. We are proud of our “bonus kids” just like we are of our own for their accomplishments.

There was an air show along the Lake Erie waterfront today. I can’t guess at the number of people that filled the parks, streets, condo balconies and restaurant patios. We were among them. We came into downtown Cleveland about 11:15 to get a good parking place in one of the garages then walked into city center for lunch at the Winking Lizard. I had green siracha coated chicken wings that were cooked perfectly. Bob had a burger whose “bun” was a filled quesadilla. On top was a bacon wrapped fire roasted jalapeno pepper with cream cheese inside. He said it was very good. I helped him eat his fries and shared some with the sparrows that lined the next table waiting for a handout.


Jon Doss – WEWS Channel 5 sportscaster, Theo Tran-Doss, Dung Tran-Doss

I don’t know if you know any TV personalities personally like I do so I will tell what it is like to be seen with them in public. If you are any kind of sports fan you know about the Cleveland Cavaliers (pro basketball), The Cleveland Indians (pro baseball), and Cleveland Browns (pro football). This year the Browns are expected to be very good. Walking with the local sportscaster in crowds is an experience. At one traffic light a man driving a van honked and waved, then yelled out the window, “Channel 5 Weather?” Jon responded with a big smile and wave, “Sports!” The next guy a few streets later got the job description right with a shared grin. Another hundred people and a guy said, “Jon Doss!” and kept walking. He was recognized again and I was able to say to that man, “Seeing this as a parent makes me proud.” Jon and Dung call us their Rochester parents. Jon said someone calling him by name is not very common. It was entertaining to watch people try to figure out where they knew him from without being intrusive. And lots of people were looking at Bob’s handlebar mustache too. I blend into the crowd which is fine with me. We left the air show about 2:00 to take Theo home for his nap. Bob and I took one too. The weather couldn’t have been any better; sunny and in the mid 70’s.

About 5:15 pm we went to Crocker Park, a shopping area like none I have ever seen, west of Cleveland. It’s not a mall per say, but a retail village that spreads four blocks by two blocks with 123 restaurants and stores that have deluxe condos on the higher floors. It is not uncommon to see Porches, Maseratis, Bentleys and other exotic vehicles parked along the streets. Jon says the professional sports players hang out at one particular steak house and some live in the condos. There are expensive, comfy lounge chairs on the sidewalks and beautiful planters full of colorful flowers. The chairs were occupied by people drinking Starbucks. I think I need to bring my daughter and grandson next time we visit. Molly would love the shopping and William could check out the cars and tell me all about them.

We ate supper at Alladin’s, which is much like the one in Rochester. For you out-of-towners it is a middle eastern restaurant. I’ve never had such good humus and my lamb was yummy too. I forgot to take a picture. Afterwards, we went for ice cream at Graeter’s. I am a sucker for good home-made ice cream. Mitchell’s has the corner on ice cream in Cleveland, but I liked what I had tonight. By the time we got back to the Doss’s we all had in over eleven thousand steps. That includes 2 ½ year old Theo. He eats well, loves to run and sleeps better than any of us.

Back home, Jon and I shared a nightcap then we said our goodbyes. Theo will not be happy when he gets up in the morning and Grandpa Bob and Grandma Sue don’t show up. Maybe we should do face time with the little guy more often.




It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. According to the National Day of Calendar, vanilla ice cream is sold more than chocolate. I’ll have to think about that. It seems when we go for ice cream, there are more chocolate cones in view than vanilla, especially when it is soft ice cream, or custard. But if you think about the fact that pie à la mode usually uses vanilla and sundaes are often made with vanilla, then I guess the calendar information must be right. Really, what difference does it make in the long run. Continue reading


I used to work at The Olive Garden restaurant. We could sneak soup or bread sticks when we were hungry, but we could get suspended for eating the Andes chocolate mint candies that were given when the check was presented at each table. Over such a little thing as that? Yes, because when there are fifteen-plus empoyees on duty and we all eat our fill, the big box that should last all evening, disappears in about an hour. The candies are so good, and a refreshing minty taste remains when one is allowed to slowly melt in your mouth. Continue reading “Yum-Yum”

Made From Milk

I was recently in a friend’s home and we got on the subject of milk. Her comment, with a bit of a snobbish air, was, “Milk is only for babies. No adult should drink it because of how it is digested.” I didn’t know the explanation of  “how” so didn’t argue. I did have a private chuckle when she informed me we were having pizza for lunch with a healthy fruit and yogurt salad. I thought, “Do you know what pizza cheese and yogurt are made from?” I’m still wondering why eating a milk food product is different from drinking the base item because I was afraid to ask. Maybe I’ll bring up the subject another time, in another way, to see if I can get an explanation, perhaps next summer when I invite her for a drive to get ice cream. Continue reading “Made From Milk”

Website Built with

Up ↑