Virtual Travel – Missouri

Show me the way to Missouri.

 

Government Towns

1946 – State Capitol     1989 – University of Missouri

 

The small town of Jefferson City is the Missouri capital city. The state capitol is much like most of the others, design in the classic style (photo from Wiki)

AP of Missouri State Capitol Building.jpg

 

Jefferson City is the 15th largest city in Missouri. The only state capital that is lower in ranks of cities within a state is Olympia, Washington – which is the 24th largest city in the state. As the photo below shows, there is no skyline to Jefferson City. (Note – 17 state capitals are also the largest city in the state. The largest state capital by population is Phoenix, with 1.7 million people in the city limits).

 

And if you find yourself in this small state capital what is the #1 rated activity according to Tripadvisor? The Old Penitentiary, rating higher than the Capitol itself.

Missouri State Penitentiary

 

State Symbol time!

State Animal – Missouri Mule. In the 1800s mules were the ‘workhorse’ of the farm – and Missouri was the center of the mule population.

 

State Horse – Missouri Fox Trotting Horse. Developed in the Ozarks in the 1800s this horse is famous for his trotting gait.

 

State Dessert – Ice Cream Cone. Famously invented at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.

Ice cream cone - the official state dessert of Missouri.

 

 

Jefferson City is just down the road from the much larger Columbia, Missouri. It is home to the University of Missouri. (photo from website commonapp.com)

University of Missouri

 

 

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The comic strip Beetle Bailey was written by Mort Walker while he was still attending the university. It is celebrated with a sculpture.

2012 07 01 200 Columbia MO.jpg

 

 

Roads in Missouri

1947     1954     1979     1997     2007     2010

Missouri is home to the most famous roads in American history – Route 66

As the song says ‘Well it goes to St Louis down to Missouri’.

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In the crossroads town of Ash Grove there is a restored Sinclair station filled with kitsch.

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Missouri claims they are the first state to award a contract from the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 (aka – The Interstate Highway Act), and then they started construction. Having driven from St Louis to Kansas City on Interstate 70 I believe they haven’t improved it since it was completed 60 years ago.

Public Roads - Three States Claim First Interstate Highway ...     

 

Today it is 250 miles of left lane drivers. Easily one of the most frustrating drives I have had is a Sunday late afternoon drive across Missouri! (except anytime you drive an interstate in Indiana). (Photo from Missouri Public Radio)

Transportation chief says I-70 is 'completely falling apart' and ...

 

U.S 60 parallels I-70, only across the southern part of the state (and not between two major cities). The road is smooth and traffic free. Good for drivers, apparently not so much for this armadillo.

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River Crossings

1958     1980     2001

With the Mississippi River and the Missouri River, there are plenty of bridges in Missouri.

 

St Louis area.

Chain of Rocks Bridge links Missouri with Illinois just north of St Louis. This bridge was built to bypass St Louis for both US 66 and US 40 traffic. It was completed in 1929, and closed to most vehicular traffic in 1970.

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Complete with a bend in the middle of the river.

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The Eads Bridge is a massive railway and automobile bridge linking East St Louis to St Louis. It was opened in 1874, to a throng of people watched a ‘test elephant’ cross the bridge to show how strong it was.

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The McKinley Bridge was the first bridge to take Route 66 traffic across the Mississippi River (photo from Wiki). It is not named for President McKinley, rather the bulder of the bridge and owner of the Interurban company, coincidentally also named William McKinley.

McKinley Bridge.jpg

 

 

Kansas City has their fair share of bridges as well, crossing the Missouri River (photo from Reddit)

 

Christopher Bond Bridge (photo from public radio Kansas City)

 

 

Jefferson City Bridge

Get Ready For Highway 54 Traffic Jams In Jefferson City | Traffic ...

 

 

They don’t have to be large to be cool – The ‘Swinging Bridge’ at Osage Beach, in southern Missouri. (photos from Missouri Life). It actually rocks a bit as you drive across it.

Swing Across This 88-Year-Old Suspension Bridge • Missouri Life ...

 

 

 

 

Transportation

1973     1995     2013

With most of the access of the early 1800s being along the rivers, Missouri held a key position. Boats could come down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh or up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St Louis, and then on to Kansas City along the Missouri River.

From here there were overland routes to the West Coast. Among those were the Butterfield Trail. In 1858 John Butterfield started a stage coach that delivered mail, using a route that went southwest from Missouri, across the Southern Rocky Mountains, and on the the west coast to San Francisco. (drawings from Wikipedia)

 

 

The far more famous Oregon Trail started in Independence, Missouri. The map below clearly shows the route coming up river from St Louis before the long, arduous overland route west.

Oregontrail 1907.jpg

 

Today there is a marker to show the start of this trail. Independence is far more renown for being the hometown of Harry Truman. (photo from Wikipedia)

The Oregon Trail Beginning Marker | Oregon trail, Oregon, Oregon ...

 

Railroads

The railroads started not much later than the trails, with the first railroad in the state starting up in 1851. By the mid 1860s you could cross the state on a train.

Union Station

2012 07 01 82 St Louis Union Station

 

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2012 07 01 81 St Louis Union Station.jpg

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Jefferson City Station. Built in 1855, and rebuilt in 1984. (photo from Wikipedia)

Jefferson City, MO train station | Built in 1890 by Missouri… | Flickr

 

Kansas City Union Station (photos from Wikipedia)

KCUnionStation.jpg

 

The National Museum of Transportation in St Louis has a great collection of artifacts, but has the most emphasis on trains. (photos from Wikipedia)

Frisco and the Zephyr.jpg

 

 

 

Airplanes

St Louis has a strong history of aviation, starting with the Spirit of St Louis – the plane that Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic.

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TWA was once headquartered in Kansas City, with their primary hub based in St Louis.

A busy day for TWA (Trans World Airlines) at the airlines' largest hub, Lambert Field (St. Louis Lambert International Airport), ca. 1985.  TWA's hub grew in 1986 when the airline bought Ozark Airlines, which operated its hub from Lambert's B, C, and D concourses. In 1985, TWA had accounted for 56.6% of boardings at STL while Ozark accounted for 26.3%, so the merged carriers controlled over 80% of the traffic.

 

 

 

The Cities

1975      1980     2017

St Louis is the largest metro area by population. A very old city, St Louis in the mid 1800s was already up to 8th largest in the country, despite being basically on the western edge of the country at the time. In 1910 it was 4th largest.

Unfortunately of cities that had more than 100,000 people in 1950, St Louis has lost more than any city except Detroit and Youngstown, Ohio.

Urban renewal has resulted in a number of newer buildings downtown, resulting in a somewhat modern looking skyline.

2012 07 01 4 St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg

 

 

St Louis was the hometown of Chuck Berry. In the Delmar Loop neighborhood there is a statue of Chuck, near a bar he often played at for fun.

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This stadium is the 3rd baseball stadium in St Louis to be called ‘Busch Stadium’. A baseball only stadium built in a quasi retro style, the stadium continues to be one of the best attended venues in all of baseball as St Louis is a very strong baseball town.

2012 07 01 9 St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg

2012 07 01 194 St Louis Busch Stadium

 

The earlier stadiums include Busch Stadium I – aka – Sportsman’s Park. This stadium was originally completed in 1902, and served as the home of the Cardinals until 1966. For many years St Louis had a second team, the Browns, and it was their home too. In addition to those teams, college and professional football teams used it as well.

By the 1960s the neighborhood around the stadium was in decline, and attendance was dropping. In addition teams had learned that they could ‘encourage’ the local governments to build them a new stadium bu threatening to move to another city. (Wiki Photo)

Sportsmans Park - history, photos and more of the St. Louis ...

 

Busch Stadium II – In the 1960s and 1970s there were a number of multi purpose round stadiums built across the country. Busch Memorial Stadium was one of the earlier examples. Note the roof arches along the top of the stadium mimic the famed Gateway Arch in the background. This stadium was used until 2005 when the new stadium was built on the same footprint. (Wiki Photo)

Busch Memorial Stadium - Wikiwand

 

 

 

The Gateway Arch is St Louis’s most recognizable landmark. Towering 630 feet above the city, the arch is now over 50 years old and continues to be the tallest man made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and the tallest structure in Missouri.

It was designed by Eero Saarinen in the 1940s, but not constructed until the 1960s. It is a tribute to the fact that St Louis was known as the Gateway to the West.

2012 07 01 63 St Louis.jpg

 

2012 07 01 3 St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg

 

2012 07 01 17 St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg

 

 

The Old Courthouse is part of the Gateway Arch National Park. Dating from the 1860s, the building was the location that Dred Scott sued for his freedom.

2012 07 01 16 St Louis Gateway Arch.jpg

 

 

St Louis in 1904 was a happening place. Not only were the first Olympics ever to be held in the U.S. hosted in the city that year, but they also had a World’s Fair (where the Ice Cream Cone was invented). Today there are a few landmarks in a park dating from that amazing year in the city’s history.

2012 07 01 96 St Louis.jpg

 

2012 07 01 102 St Louis.jpg

 

 

The Missouri Botanical Gardens is one of the highlights of the city.

2012 06 30 141 St Louis Missouri Botanical Gardens.jpg

 

2012 06 30 106 St Louis Missouri Botanical Gardens.jpg

 

 

 

Kansas City is 250 miles west of St Louis, directly across the state on Interstate 70.  One of the more interesting areas of the city is known as the Country Club District, dating from it’s original development in the early 1900s near a golf course.

2012 07 02 26 Kansas City Country Club Plaza.jpg

 

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City Hall is a classic Art Deco skyscraper  that was completed in 1937.

2012 07 02 52 Kansas City City Hall.jpg

 

From the observation deck you get great views of the city.

2012 07 02 65 Kansas City City Hall.jpg

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2012 07 02 61 Kansas City City Hall.jpg

 

Kansas City was one of the few cities in the 1970s to built sport specific stadiums. They are not downtown, rather out at the edge of town in a sea of parking lots. (Photo below from Kansas City Star newspaper)

KCQ: How KC's Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums were built | The ...

 

2012 07 02 6 Kansas City Stadiums.jpg

 

 

 

 

Small Towns and Countryside

1977     1985     1987     1991     1993     1999

 

 

While there are two large cities on each end of the state, the vast majority of the cities are small. A number of them have historic significance, and have been featured on the maps.

Sainte Genevieve is a small town on the Mississippi River. It has the significance of being the first European settlement west of the Mississippi River in the state, having been founded in 1735. The town has a historic district that is a popular tourist attraction. (all photos from Wikipedia)

Bonjour, Sainte Genevieve, Missouri! | Trailer Life

File:Photograph of the Greentree Tavern in Ste Genevieve MO.jpg ...

 

 

Weston is another small town on the far western end of the state along the Missouri River. At one point in the 1800 it was one of the largest ports on the river, with over 265 steamboats docking. It is also home of the McCormick Distilling Company, the oldest continuously operated distillery in the country.

File:Photograph of the Greentree Tavern in Ste Genevieve MO.jpg ...

 

Weston , MO - Picture of Hatchery House, Weston - Tripadvisor

 

 

Hannibal is Mark Twain’s boyhood home. As most know, it is also located on the Mississippi, making it the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn’s adventures.

Missouri is one of those states that  has a wide variety of attractions – cities, towns, scenic countryside and rivers.

Hannibal, Missouri: Walk in Mark Twain's Footsteps

Tom Sawyer And Huck Finn Statue In Hannibal, Missouri Photograph ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Louisiana

Bonjour de la Louisiana. Our trip today takes us to the bayou.

 

1977 – Bogue Chitto River. This river is 65 miles north of New Orleans in a park with more than 1,000 acres.

Government State Louisiana 1977.jpg

 

 

1979 – Bayou. Much of southern Louisiana is made up of bayous and swamps.

Government State Louisiana 1979.jpg

 

2005

Government State Louisiana 2005

 

The residents of these parts are very proud of their alligators.

2019 05 17 64 Moss Point MS Gulf Coast Alligator Farm.jpg

 

The bayous have a unique beauty.

2019 05 17 92 Moss Point MS Gulf Coast Alligator Farm.jpg

 

 

1981 – Acadia. This area of Louisiana has the strongest French culture. In Louisiana the counties are known as parishes. Some of the parishes in this area are over 25% French speaking (although not a French someone from Paris or Montreal would likely easily understand).

Government State Louisiana 1981.jpg

 

We passed through this area in 2019, making a stop at the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island.

 

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2019 05 20 203 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpg

 

 

Acadia is rice growing country.

2019 05 20 224 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpg

 

In New Ibiera is the Conrad Rice Mill, America’s oldest.

2019 05 20 230 New Ibiera LA Conrad Rice Mill.jpg

 

2019 05 20 242 New Ibiera LA Conrad Rice Mill.jpg

 

 

 

 

1984 – Mississippi River. The river is the economic driver for Louisiana.

Government State Louisiana 1984.jpg

 

Bridges in New Orleans.

2019 05 19 165 New Orleans Mardis Gras World.jpg

 

 

Many overseas freighters come up the river to New Orleans to dock and offload.

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The tourist sternwheeler leaves for a tour.

2019 05 18 254 New Orleans.jpg

 

 

Upriver at the crossing from Vicksburg, Mississippi to the town of Delta, Louisiana.

2015 09 24 31 Vicksburg MS.jpg

 

2015 09 24 34 Vicksburg MS.jpg

 

 

 

1986 – 1992 – 2001 – Music

Government State Louisiana 2001

 

New Orleans is music, food and partying.

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1990 – Flowers

Government State Louisiana 1990.jpg

 

With the warm weather and abundant rain, Louisiana has amazing flora and fauna.

 

2019 05 18 69 New Orleans Botanical Gardens.jpg

 

 

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1998 – State Capitol. While New Orleans is the center of the world for all things Louisiana, Baton Rouge is the capital.

 

 

 

2002 & 2007 – Food

 

Louisiana is known for food, primarily (photos from Wikipedia)

Crawfish

Louisiana Crawfish Boil - This Ole Mom

 

Po-boys

Best Po-Boys in Louisiana - Thrillist

 

And Beignets

Beignets Recipe: New Orleans-Style Fried Dough - PureWow

 

 

 

2003 – Louisiana Purchase (historic New Orleans)

Government State Louisiana 2003.jpg

 

New Orleans was the center of the French owned territory in the new world.  The Cabildo is beside St Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.

2019 05 19 317 New Orleans.jpg

 

The French Quarter is representative of the city at that time (except for all the dive bars).

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2018 – Birds

Government State Louisiana 2018.jpg

 

2019 05 20 206 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpgAvery Island, Louisiana has a very impressive bird sanctuary.

 

2019 05 20 203 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpg

 

2019 05 20 213 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Iowa

In previously postings I have shown examples of the tremendous population growth many of the states have experienced over the last 50-60 years. Iowa is the opposite of that. In the mid 1950s there were 2.7 million people in the state, up only 500,000 from 1900. In the next 70 years the population has only grown another 500,000 people.

It is the heart of the cornbelt, as exhibited in this graphically impressive 1954 map.

Government State Iowa 1955.jpg

 

This scene could be from 1900, 1955 or 2020.

 

 

 

1957 – The graphics are still impressive with this view of factory and a highway.

Government State Iowa unknown date.jpg

Des Moines 1957

Downtown Des Moines, 9th and Locust looking east, 1957. Locust Street was 2-way then. Equitable Bldg. is right of center, the current Suites of 800 Locust Hotel is just to the right. Note the diversity of shops. There is a Sherwin Williams paint store on the NW corner. This was before there was suburban shopping centers or strip malls.

 

2020 streetview of the same intersection. Despite minimal population growth the city has changed dramatically.

des moines 1.jpg

 

 

1970 – Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. It was built and dedicated in 1962, not long before Hoover died in 1964.

1974 – Herbert Hoover’s 100th birthday.

Government State Iowa 1970.jpg

Government State Iowa 1974

 

Herbert Hoover is the only U.S. President that was born in Iowa. Hoover however is often ranked among the worst presidents in history, although everyone is up one now.

Hoover was born in the town of West Branch, Iowa in this small house.  (photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

1971 – A collage of scenes around the state. The scene in the lower left is the Pella Tulip Festival.

Government State Iowa 1971.jpg

 

The Pella Tulip Festival has taken place every year since 1935. Today the town plants 200,000 tulips in celebration.

 

 

 

1972 – Seasons in Iowa.

Government State Iowa 1972.jpg

 

 

1973 – Joliet and Marquette. The early explorers in Iowa (and elsewhere).

Government State Iowa 1973.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

1975 – State Symbols

Government State Iowa 1975.jpg

 

 

1976,  1979 & 1983 – Generic (read – boring) covers

Government State Iowa 1976.jpg       Government State Iowa 1979.jpg

Government State Iowa 1983.jpg

 

 

1986 – Another collage including riverboats.

Government State Iowa 1986.jpg

 

The eastern border of Iowa is the Mississippi River. There are a number of towns and cities along the river that have transitioned from commerce to tourism.

There are also riverboat casinos in Dubuque, Bettendorf and Clinton. (Photo from Travel Iowa).

Celebration River Cruises, Iowa

 

 

 

1988 – Another collage but in the form of a quilt.

Government State Iowa 1988.jpg

Des Moines each year holds ‘Quilt Week’. (Photo from Pintrest)

Community Outreach – Des Moines Area Quilter's Guild

 

 

1991 – The collages continue.

Government State Iowa 1991.jpg

Among the photos this year is the Iowa State Capitol. Built between 1871 and 1886, the building is the only 5 domed capitol in America. (Photo from All American Scaffolding website)

Iowa State Capital Scaffold Rental Project Overview

 

 

1994 – Snake Alley in Burlington.

Government State Iowa 1994.jpg

 

Iowa is well known for being mostly flat landscape. Along the Mississippi River however there are some bluffs, including the one in Burlington.

In 1894 they built a street up this bluff with multiple curves, giving it the name of ‘Snake Alley’ It rises 58′ (17.8m) in a distance of 275 feet for a 21% grade.

SnakeAlley BurlingtonIA.jpg

 

For perspective here is Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh, claimed to be one of the steepest streets in the world – rising at 37%. To Pittsburghers 21% is considered a level yard.

 

 

 

1995 – Pikes Peak State Park. What, I thought Pikes Peak was in Colorado?

While it does have a panoramic view, I think they are over advertising using that name.

Government State Iowa 1995.jpg

 

 

 

1996 & 1998 – The collage returns, this time with a butterfly each time.

Government State Iowa 1996.jpg      Government State Iowa 1998.jpg

In 2015 there was a push for the Regal Fritillary (this butterfly) to become the official state butterfly, but nothing came of it. These maps pre-date that effort by nearly 10 years!

 

 

1999 – 100th Anniversary of the first man carrying glider in Iowa

Government State Iowa 1999.jpg

As the map states in 1898 14 year old Carl Gates flew in this glider, pulled along by a horse. He later went on to attend the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, later building small airplanes.

The reverse side of the map has a tribute to transportation in Iowa over the years. From canoes to steamships to trains, Iowa has seen it all pass by.

IMG_6927.jpg

 

The Lincoln Highway was one of the first transcontinental roads, passing through Iowa on it’s way from New York to San Francisco. There is a very famous bridge in Iowa that celebrates this road. (Photo from Iowa Girl on the Go blog)

 

 

 

2001 – Collage again, including a covered bridge. Those that read this blog know I rarely offer negative commentary but once on a flight from Atlanta to LAX I attempted to watch Bridges of Madison County. This movie was set, and filmed in Iowa in 1995, and the bridge featured on this map.

To me that movie was so bad I wanted to jump out of the plane somewhere over Iowa, but to each their own.

Government State Iowa 2001.jpg

 

 

 

2002 – Collage (again) with crossings.

Government State Iowa 2002.jpg

 

In an attempt to find this rail trestle above I came across the High Trestle Trail. This rails to trails opened in 2011, crossing it’s namesake span over the Des Moines River.

I have only been to Iowa twice, and then very briefly, but this looks worth the trip (Photo from Wikipedia)

High Trestle Trail Bridge.jpg

 

 

 

2003 – Again the Bridges of Madison County bridge!

Government State Iowa 2003.jpg

 

 

2004 – Collage including a Railroad Museum.

Government State Iowa 2004.jpg

 

Among the railroad museums in Iowa is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Located in Council Bluffs, it details the history of this railroad. Located in a former library, the museum at times sponsors rides on this great train below to raise funds. (Photo Omaha newspaper)

Hundreds ride back in time on Union Pacific passenger train in ...

 

 

 

2005 – Collage including the Black Hawk Bridge spanning the Mississippi between Iowa and Wisconsin.

Government State Iowa 2005.jpg

 

An unusual cantilever through truss design, it was completed in 1931. There are plans to replace this bridge in the next 10 years or so. Personally I love these old bridges with their Erector Set gone wild look.

 

 

 

2008 – Collage including downhill skiing in Iowa.

Government State Iowa 2008 1.jpg

The Mount Crescent Ski Resort in Honey Lake, Iowa has a vertical drop of 250′! (Photo from Onthesnow.com)

Mt. Crescent IA Viewundefined

 

 

2009 – Collage including ‘Barn Quilts’. These decorations grace barns throughout the state.

Government State Iowa 2009.jpg

 

Sac County has enough of these Barn Quilts they have a tour. The tour can be found at

Barnquilts.com – where this photo came from.

 

 

2010 – The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3000′ long walkway across the Missouri River between downtown Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Government State Iowa 2010.jpg

 

 

 

2011& 2013 – Additional visits to the Capitol.

Government State Iowa 2011.jpg      Government State Iowa 2013

 

 

 

2012 – Small Town Iowa.

Government State Iowa 2012.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

2014 – Great River Bridge at Burlington. As with many modern bridges this is cable stayed, however uniquely it is uneven – there are 13 pairs on one side and 14 on the other side.

Government State Iowa 2014.jpg

 

 

 

2015 – One last collage including hot air balloons.

Government State Iowa 2015.jpg

 

Each year the National Balloon Classic comes to Des Moines. For 9 days over 100 hot air balloons fill the skies over the city and surrounding countryside. (Photo from Radioiowa.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across America – May 2019 – Random Scenes Part 2

Central Tennessee – Bus Graveyard







Northern Alabama – Rock Zoo





Scottsboro, Alabama – Did you ever lose your luggage on an airplane and never get it back. It likely ended up here, as they buy all of the unclaimed luggage from the airlines and sell it in essentially a thrift store.





Pawhuska, Oklahoma



Bartlesville, Oklahoma – Phillips 66 Petroleum Company Headquarters







Vinita, Oklahoma – Will Rogers Rodeo



Eastern Oklahoma – Pensacola Dam. A mile long and releasing a lot of water because of the recent rains.





Joplin, Missouri – America’s 2nd largest truck stop.



Southern Missouri – Presumed dead armadillo



Somewhere else in Southern Missouri – Coke Machine Graveyard



Scenes around Cairo, Illinois – At the confluence of the Ohio River and Mississippi River – with flooding.











Evansville, Indiana – Restored Greyhound Bus Station, now a hipster hamburger place. Manhattan prices in small town Indiana.

The interior looked nothing like a bus station.



Evansville, Indiana – County Courthouse



Scenes around Louisville, Kentucky







And after 3 weeks of running around the country – back in Ohio (in Cincinnati). Only 2 hours to home.






New Orleans – May 2019 – Getting Around The Big Easy

Getting to and around New Orleans has always been an adventure. Situated near the mouth of the Mississippi, the city is essentially surrounded by water and swamps.

While most people likely fly into the airport, or take I-10 from Mobile or Baton Route, the best route into the city by car is from the north across Lake Pontchartrain.



The Lake Pntchartrain Causeway is a 24 mile long bridge. Completed in the 1950s it is to this day the longest bridge in the world over water.



Which results in a funny looking navigation system – we are in the middle of the lake, still 14 miles from shore.



Eventually you get close enough to see the skyline of the city off in the distance.



Once you make it to town you see plenty of the ride share bicycles.



Although this person chose his own unique ride.



The Port of New Orleans is one of the busiest ports in the country, with constant ships coming in off the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi River.



The tugboats stay busy all day.



At the base of Canal Street is the tourist ship The Natchez, a faux stern-wheeler.



The best transportation however are the streetcars.





New Orleans turned out to be a fairly easy city to navigate.






Mississippi Delta – National Parks Road Trip – Day 21 –Mississippi Blues Trail

Shortly after leaving for the day we arrived in downtown Texarkana, at the state line of the city where the US Post Office straddles the state line between Texas and Arkansas. A nice old lady who had come to pick up her mail from her post office box took our photo at the state line marker in front of the post office. Now that we saw the one thing to see in Texarkana, we moved on essentially driving straight through to Vicksburg, Mississippi (while going through Louisiana – my last of the lower 48 states).

2015 09 24 5 Texarkana AR TX.jpg

 

The Vicksburg visitor center, overlooking the Mississippi River, provided us information on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Outside on the property at the Visitor Center were cannons from the Civil War and a train crossing an old bridge passing a riverboat casino.

2015 09 24 31 Vicksburg MS.jpg

 

 

We paused for lunch in Vicksburg at Rouxater, a small cafe and bakery. We ate chicken salad sandwiches with some sweet tea. The chicken salad was not tasty and it was on stale white bread. Ugh! We went to the Coke a Cola museum next door after lunch. It featured a soda fountain that used coke syrup to make the cola at the fountain. The museum had all the equipment from long ago to mix the ingredients. One bottle was made at a time to fill a case and then sent for delivery for purchase. Lots of other Coke items were seen as we wandered through the store as well as hundreds of old bottles of Coke lining the shelved walls. I have often heard of Vicksburg being beautiful but that day, and the places we went it seemed an old tired river town.

2015 09 24 35 Vicksburg MS.jpg

 

Leaving Vicksburg heading north on the legendary Route 61, aka – Blues Highway, we passed cotton fields on our way north and listened to blues music by B.B King, Muddy Waters and others making our way through Mississippi, home of the Delta blues. Interestingly while it used to take throngs of people to pick the cotton, as we drove we would see one lonely, huge, John Deer combine picking the entire field with one guy sitting in the air conditioned cab (likely NOT listening to the blues).

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The Blues Trail led us to Rolling Fork where McKinley Morganfield, aka, Muddy Waters lived as a child. There was a bold blue marker with a small record at its peak designating it part of the Blues Trail along with a tribute guitar with Muddy’s signature and noting the town of Rolling Fork in one of his song lyrics. We saw the shotgun cabin where he lived. The term shotgun cabin came to be known from the way that a gunshot could run through all the rooms in a straight line since the rooms are stacked behind each other without a hallway and one had to walk through one room to get to the next room. The cabin was incredibly small. In fact, it was really only half the size of an actual sharecropper’s home. Rolling Fork also had a carved statue of Teddy Roosevelt and a bear. We saw bear crossing signs in the city limits.

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The cotton fields are bright white for acres in all directions as we drove on the Blues Trail Highway. A crop duster sprayed fields; it was truly amazing to see how low he flew over the crops. Huge machines picked cotton as we continued through Mississippi. Bits of cotton lined the edge of the road so I suddenly stopped the car and ordered her to go pick cotton. He wanted a ball of cotton as a souvenir and the joy of me picking it. She grabbed a dirty little ball of cotton left at the side of the road hoping that we do not infest the flora back home when we get there.

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We got to Leland, Mississippi mid afternoon to see the B. B. King Museum. The museum had a theater and a lot of history about B.B. King’s life and stages of his success. King’s real name is Riley King but he changed it when he went to Tennessee to start his career in music. He named his guitar Lucille when he went back into a burning building to save his guitar from the fire that was started by a woman named Lucille who caused a brawl between the men and tipped over the heater fuel that started the fire. The museum noted that King began with gospel music but when his gospel band didn’t want to go to Tennessee with him, King moved there on his own. He needed a catchy name for his new radio show in Memphis: “Beale Street Blues Boy” was shortened to “Blues Boy King” and finally to B.B. King. The museum also exhibited the hard times that King and his band encountered because of prejudice and Jim Crow Laws in the south. B. B. King passed away in 2015 and is buried on the museum property.

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Late afternoon found us at our hotel, a Holiday Inn Express in Greenville, Mississippi. As we checked in the desk clerk said ‘have you heard about our water here in the Delta?’. Why no – what about the water. It seems it has a brown haze to it (think Marty McFly in Back to the Future III when he is in the cabin), but they assured us it was safe, but if liked we could get some bottles of water for free – which we took them up on. And yes the water is a dirty color.

The desk manager recommended a BBQ diner called Tabb’s for us and we took off to find some good eats. We drove for a while but could not find the restaurant. We asked a man in the parking lot where we thought it should be and he said it closed down a while ago. I guess the Holiday Express needs a concierge. We drove to the end of town and decided on Revel’s Steakhouse, we both had shrimp. Our plates were piled high with so much food that neither of us could finish our meals. The rice had a distinct flavor that I did not recognize so Allison our waitress brought a sample for us to take with us. The flavoring is called Cavender Greek Seasoning and comes from the Ozark region in Arkansas.

We drove across town to see the mighty Mississippi River. The road led us to the top of the levee. The river here is stronger and wider than where we saw the trickling stream of the headwaters in Minnesota. I read a marker that noted the river rose 64.2 feet at this point in 2011 as we sat and watched the sun set on the river.

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Minnesota – 2012 Road Trip – Day 14 – Across the State

The following morning we crossed over into Minnesota taking a more or less direct route to Minneapolis/St Paul. This route took us through a small town called New Ulm, a town very proud of their German heritage. We stopped at a small restaurant for lunch, which was ok, but nothing memorable, so much so I don’t even recall the name of the restaurant.

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After a brief stop in a St Paul suburb of Hastings to tour a historic house, we headed into the middle of the city.

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While in St Paul we stopped and toured the Minnesota State Capital, as well as the park grounds, which had a Lindbergh statue.

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Having seen well over 20 state capitals at this point, the Minnesota one looks pretty much like all the others, although they did have some nice gold statues on the outside.

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Leaving St Paul we drove along the Mississippi River road through the neighborhoods into Minneapolis. This route took us into the University of Minnesota campus. The area had a feel much like Ohio State, as it is in a large city, but still maintains a distinct college campus feel.

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Closer to downtown we stopped in a neighborhood of refurbished flour factories and other post industrial chic type of places. Being directly on the river across from downtown it has a very hipster vibe to it.

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Connecting it to downtown is a footbridge called the Stone Arch Bridge, is a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls. It is the only arched bridge made of stone on the entire length of Mississippi River, and also the second oldest next to Eads Bridge, which we saw in St Louis at the beginning of the trip.

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Returning to our car, we drove across the river and cruised around downtown, passing Target Field, the Metrodome, and other landmarks. Again crossing the river on the Washington Avenue Bridge. The bridge has two decks, with the lower deck designated for cars and light rail trains and the upper deck used for pedestrians and bicycles.

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