Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Missouri was the goal for this stop. It was one of three things we wanted to make sure and do on the way to Alaska, besides the family stops of course. Determined to see the Clydesdales, and baby ones at that, we booked this tour and purchased tickets last September. They sell out fast and the guide says every tour is fully booked.
Knob Noster State Park
I’ll give you some insight into the planning for this stop. Warm Springs Ranch was out of the way for our track West and we didn’t want to drive Lucy all the way there and then back track. Instead, we settled upon a state park a little over an hour away and figured Bitsy could make the day trip. So that’s how we happened upon a place called Knob Noster. This is a very nice Missouri state park and the only one we’ll get this trip. A little cold (in the 30s again at night) and a little wet from 14 days straight of rain, but peaceful nonetheless. We stuck to the road on our hikes for the most part to avoid all the mud.
A nice set of stepping stones to get to the top of the dam. Also, a warning sign us Floridians absolutely never see – “ice not checked for thickness”. Good to know. Of course our goal is to never be anywhere with frozen bodies of water. Ok, well maybe just the glaciers, but that doesn’t really count.
According to the city of Knob Noster’s official website, the name comes from knob, meaning “the hills”, and noster which is the Latin derivation of our. Thus Knob Noster for “our hills”. Cute little town with just over 2,000 residents and home to a surprising Thai restaurant find.
This place was highly rated on Google for Thai cuisine. We drove up and weren’t sure we should venture in. We found an older lady seated at what looked like a regular office desk and another little old lady in the back cooking madly. That was it and the wait was over 45 minutes for take out. That didn’t work for lunch, but the smells so enticed us that we ordered our dinner here after the Clydesdale tour. Pretty good Asian cooking for nowhere Missouri, made to order.
Warm Springs Ranch
To the main event! Of course we had to drive about an hour and 15 minutes to the ranch and opted for the road less traveled. This put us on small winding farm roads. You know the ones with the yellow squiggly road signs. A great view of fields, farms and huge farm implements.
And the money shot! Warm Springs Ranch
Actually we knew we were almost there when we rounded a turn and – gasp – a Clydesdale grazing in the pasture ahead! Absolutely beautiful. And you know it’s a Clydesdale by the size and those lovely feet.
This is a grand setting for totally pampered horses with over 14 miles of white fencing. Warm Spring Ranch in Boonville, MO is one of the Budweiser ranches, but the only one that boasts breeding and training the babies.
The tour started with movie clips of the famous horses from Super Bowl commercials and other special appearances. These included a delivery of beer to the White House after the repeal of Prohibition, Rose Bowl Parades and of course St. Louis Cardinals home games. All of this set to the tune of the Budweiser song. You know it and I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. “Here comes the King, here comes the big number one! Budweiser beer, the king, is second to none….”
It sounds crazy, but this thing had me tearing up. I know we’re talking beer, but the Clydesdales pulling that huge wagon with the Dalmation on top is truly iconic. I can’t think of too many things more American, more apple pie, more widely recognized. Whether you like Bud or not, who doesn’t love the Clydesdales? After the film, they walked us around the farm and described the breeding process and what goes into making up a team or “hitch”.
It starts with this guy, or a few studs like him, paired with one of the mares with the best markings. We were fortunate to tour during the prime foaling season, and yes, we saw babies! Two, in fact, less than a month old – Jake and Sally.
Baby Jake, born March 19th – getting a bit of lunch
Sally was laying down the whole time, so we didn’t get any pics of her. Plus the mommas are not too keen on you getting a close look. Mostly I saw a lot of the backside of big momma Jane protecting her baby.
There are 3 hitches that travel the country doing appearances for over 300 days out of the year. The hitch consists of eight Clydesdales at about 2000 lbs each, and they pull the huge wagon. Each hitch travels with three semis – two with the horses including two alternates, and one with the gear. The Dalmation gets to ride where he or she chooses, but they prefer to be with the horses or in the air conditioned cab if it’s hot out. Seven handlers go along and do everything from groom and outfit the horses to drive the trucks. The tour ended with free beers and a chance to pet one of the Clydesdales.
Me and my new friend Stan. And the best part of the Clydesdale – the hairy feet or “feathers”. Over 18 hands or six feet tall at the shoulder makes for one imposing horse. Just gorgeous. All this, and the hitches traveling around the country are completely funded by the sale of Budweiser, so drink up!
It’s Not All Glamorous
I’ve been told that I need to give equal time in the blog to the less than glamorous tasks. So here you go. There are a lot of things we don’t have to worry about in the motorhome compared to a sticks and bricks house, but plumbing isn’t one of them. Regularly we have to dump the holding tanks and that’s probably the least favorite task of all.
Here’s Pat all gloved up and ready to do the honors at our full hook-up site. I normally have the job of watching the business end and making sure the hose stays in the sewer connection. Sometimes it requires my foot on top, sometimes not. This is also one thing I remember from camping in the motorhome with Mom & Dad. Mom and I never left the coach when Daddy was dumping the tanks. We left him completely on his own with that stinky job! Ah but we don’t dwell on it. Just do it when needed and move on. Not a bad price to pay for new scenery at every stop.
Two Down, One to Go
I mentioned three things we wanted to do on the way to Alaska. The first one was the Hyundai Motor manufacturing tour in Montgomery. Number two was Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri to see the Clydesdales. And number three? That one’s in Kansas and you’ll read all about it in the next post. See you on the way!