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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big Muddy and Wide Missouri Crossings

Getting smarter as we travel--got clothes and jewelry set out last night and so got on the road 15 minutes earlier than usual--not much, maybe--but was able to actually sit down and eat breakfast instead of gulping down a coffee and eating in the car. By 9:20 we were going past the Indianapolis airport on the West side of the city. The temperature had risen from 41 to 46 degrees. The airport was eerie--only one plane--a FedEx transport on the ground and absolutely no air traffic at all. Usually I catch shots of planes landing practically on the car. Just strange.

We eventually came to the Cumberland Road rest area in Illinois where the groundskeepers in heavy jackets were raking leaves off the lawns while the remaining plowed mounds of snow melted around them. The sidewalks were heavily covered with residual salt, recalling the ice that so recently posed hazards for travelers urgently rushing to the rest rooms. I cheerfully greeted another lady who was in shirtsleeves " Isn't it a beautiful day? Look at you in a light weight blouse!" She just as enthusiastically greeted me as her husband said " It's like summer!!!"

As we continued on our way there was a black cloud on the horizon above one of the many farms along the road. When we reached it we saw that it was a huge flock of birds. There were many groups of geese headed North as well, adding to the general glad winter is over for now euphoria.

Eventually, we came to construction on the bridge over the Little Wabash River which is like a trickle in comparison with the Big Wabash which we crossed into Illinois. Somewhere along the line, I'll have to look it up, we also crossed into the Central Time Zone and thus gained an hour. I love traveling East to West! In Effingham, where we've stayed in the past, we recorded the optimistic water tower and the gigantic cross. It was here that Bill asked me " What State is known as the Mother of Presidents?" Answer to follow--but I didn't know! Which led me to ask " Whose is the first Presidential Library?" A question to which I also don't know the answer! Neither did he so I'll have to look it up. Along with the answer as to where the plane went down in Pennsylvania on 9/11.

These random questions pop into our heads as we move along--sometimes they get answered sometimes not. We also try to imagine how some of the names of the towns we pass are pronounced--sometimes our laughter puts us in danger when Bill is trying to drive at the same time. Then there are the towns where we play--where are you from/ Hunka, Pa! etc. See it's not all just Willie's Place and navigation in the Pondmobile!

In Keyesport, Ill , just about to enter St Louis the sky totally changed--the cloudless blue became a total cloud mass without a patch of blue to be seen. It appears there were streams of rain before us and the temperature which had reached a balmy 63 rapidly dropped to 59. Just a few minutes, a few miles had elapsed and it was as though we'd entered an entirely different place. We crossed the Mississippi and when we reached O' Fallon the temperature had climbed to 68, Bill turned on the A/C and we left St Louis and that cloud cover behind us.

Now, we had entered Missouri--home of the alphabet soup roads! More than 26? No problem, just double up. What is the pattern or system or rhyme or reason for assigning the letters? It is undecipherable. A and Z are in the same area; YY and H are at the same exit. Whoooooo knows?

Around 3 we arrived at Boonville and checked into the Comfort Inn which is right next to Russell Stover's and I mean right next door--walking distance. Happily, I have some really good German chocolate with me and have found that following WW I tend to take fruit in place of chocolate and don't have a craving for it so felt no temptation at all. As I was gathering my stuff from the car a long distance truck driver came out of the candy shop with a huge bag. Bill said " Hi, I see you went to Stover's !" The guy laughed and said " Yeah, I didn't make it home for Valentine's Day!"

At 5 we headed out to the Stein House Cafe downtown--the building dates back to the 1800's and was made into a bar during the depression. In 1945 it became a restaurant and bar and continues today. Tony, our young bartender, is a native Boonviller and loves it here--the people, the history , the town. He says it is family and familiar. Full of info about the town and the fact that it is Boonville without an " e " since Daniel never signed his name with one. Interesting, if true. And so our evening ended with Bill able to smoke at the bar--unlike Vermont and with me having the house citrus honey dressing on my salad. Made with honey, mayo, lemon juice and a citrus seasoning made by NIFTA--now I've got to find that on the internet.

In closing, an answer--Ohio. A few thanks--to Gloria who suggested I take a picture of the trunk to show that you can take it ALL with you! I added the back seat, too with the seltzer for Bets and our travel larder. Too bad the stuff for Barb is already gone from the trunk.

To Glen who provides a link for Jean Shepard's I'm Tired of Playing Second Fiddle to Your Old Guitar. On Willie's Place, coincidentally, it was mentioned today that Jean's sister, her best friend, died on Monday.

To the manager of this motel who provided the link for the pictures of I 70 in Boonville taken only two weeks ago. Compare them with my shots just before the Boonville water tower. Talk about changing weather.

So good night for now. Tomorrow a visit with Bill's buddy, another PCV.

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