Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 20, 2008

Illinois to St. Lou Mizzou

We had to park with all the big-rigs, at every rest stop, because we couldn't fit into regular parking spaces. Because we had the car transport, and because Brian had no experience backing up trucks with trailers attached, we had to make sure that wherever we stopped, he could pull forward. This included all rest areas, hotel and restaurant parking lots. I took this because we look so silly next to the 18-wheelers. This was taken just over the Indiana/Illinois state line. We'd just crossed into the Central Time Zone, it was around supper time, we were exhausted and we needed a referral to a hotel nearby. So the kind folks at the rest area suggested The Lincoln Motel, just down the highway apiece, in Marshall, IL. The room was like $25.00 a night, but it was a clean, homey place. There was this restaurant across the road that served the most unbelievably delicious and inexpensive supper and breakfast buffets. We ate well that night and the next morning!

A slice of small-town America, near the hotel in Illinois.

The next day we left early again, because we wanted to stop in St. Louis for a little while. The highways going into St. Louis are a bit of a clusterfuck.....somehow we ended up crossing into Missouri and then back into Illinois. Had to get off I-70 east in an industrial area and get back on I-70 west. We stopped first at Anheuser Busch to take the tour.

Budweiser Clydesdales' barn and the dalmation doggie that rides on the wagon.

The tour was really interesting. Brian's eyes were glazed over when we were in the bottle room, looking at all those beer bottle zooming around on conveyor belts being filled and capped. By the way, if none of you have ever taken a tour of a commercial brewery, the sound of the bottles clinking together on the belts is deafening. The brewery employees have to wear protective ear-wear. Then at the end of the tour, we were taken into a tap room to enjoy free samples for 20 minutes. Brian was pretty stoked because the cups were so generously sized!! No dixie cups at Anheuser Busch!! Because I am not a beer drinker, I gave him mine. (the t-shirt reads: Man Belongs to the Earth, Earth Does Not Belong to Man)When we left the brewery, I shot this funny photo of Brian bowing down before the front doors. Check out the AB employee standing there with her hands on her hips, looking at him. I remember when I shot the photo, she said that guys do that all the time.

We got a bit lost after we left AB, and ended up driving through the middle of downtown St. Louis at lunchtime in the U-haul, towing the car. That was a bit hairy. We finally found a large parking lot that could accomodate large vehicles, so we parked and walked to see the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
First, we were hungry, so we had lunch on this riverboat called The Robert E. Lee, in the Mississippi River. It's a stationary restaurant and all the waitstaff were dressed up in period clothing - the women in showgirl dresses, boas, fishnet stockings and feathers in their hair, and the men like riverboat casino workers w/ the red & white striped shirt, dark vest, arm band and hat. The music was Dixieland Jazz. The lunch buffet, $4.95, was catfish, hush puppies, gravy and other southern staples. After we ate lunch, we dipped our hands in the Mississippi River.

I loved the McDonalds riverboat motif. Right next to this was a Burger King riverboat.

After lunch we walked around the Arch and I took a bunch of artsy fartsy pics looking up the side and straight on and so forth. You can take an elevator-type tram to the top, but when I went inside, the trams were on a schedule and the next one wasn't leaving for several hours and we had to get back on the road, so we headed west and stayed overnight in Columbia, MO. I've already posted the one photo from Columbia, of the Liquor Guns & Ammo store.

When the pioneers were making their way west in the mid-1800's, St. Louis was the last major city before kicking off the trip west. The Gateway Arch was built to commemorate the spirit and courage of those brave souls who were blazing their way west, in search of the promised land, gold in California, silver in Nevada, and a new and better life.

When we left Columbia, MO the next morning on our way to Kansas, Brian got to talking with a guy in the hotel parking lot. His name was Gill. He, too, had a U-haul, and was moving his family west, to the gold fields of Eastern Oregon. We were going to San Francisco. And to show you what a small world it is, the man's sister was a teacher at Brian's high school in McMurray, Pennsylvania. We wished each other good luck, shook hands and set off west again. We think about Gill every now and then, and wonder how he and his family made out in Oregon.

As we pulled back out onto the highway, it occurred to me that we were like modern day pioneers. The U-haul was our wagon which contained all of our worldly possessions. The car transport was like the horse or cow we were bringing with us. We were headed west, like so many others before us, hopeful that we could make a new life in California. Sometimes as we were driving on the highway, you'd see wagon wheel ruts come out from under the asphalt on the side of the road and shoot off in another direction. Then later on down the highway, more wagon wheel ruts would join back up. Except we covered the same ground in 10 days that took the pioneers months and months to do.

Next up: Visiting the Kansas location of my all time fave rave movie.


  1. Having to park so you can go out frontways. Mmm. Rings a bell. Like last summer when reverse gear failed on my car. I put traffic cones in front of it with a sign to say that I needed to get it out frontways next morning to take it to the garage, but someone STILL parked in front of it!


    Great Pix, JoJo.

  2. I love your travellogues; makes me feel like I'm there. And I KNEW Winthrop rang bells with me. It's somewhere I've actually BEEN ;0)

  3. I went to the top of the Arch and promptly threw up! (Hey, I was 8) I kept telling my dad I was scared and didn't want to go, he didn't listen...Guess he should have!

  4. I've always wanted to see the arch!
    I agree with Diane, Jojo, I love taking trips with you ......