Monday, May 16, 2016

Rounding Third - Looking for Clear Skies in all the Wrong Places

We are headed a little north and then turning to the right pointing us in an easterly direction. Essentially we are heading home but there are still some miles to go before we sleep. Since the right turn at New Orleans all of the scheduled stops on the Excel spreadsheet are meaningless. I have resorted to writing down the destination points on a piece of paper. Crystal holds the detain plan so she can tell me if we are behind or miles to the next stop, or what the next stop is. This is NOT a hard plan and subject to change because of weather, deer strikes, road closed or simply our whim. While planning the trip it is easily to simply connect the dots and viola you have a route. The Excel spreadsheet is something I developed a couple of years ago to show me can we get to all these points before they close and are we getting to the days destination before 11pm. It also helps me plan where we will be staying for the evening to search for lodging. This spread sheet has 7b in its file name, which means it is the 7th iteration of the plan and the b means there was some minor changes. It is all information I pull out of MapSource using copy and paste into Excel and then manipulated via formulas. Anyone interested contact me and I will gladly send it to you.

Back to our regularly scheduled trip.

Crystal was observant enough last night to see the building across the street and making note it was a Racetrack which we need for Arkansas. WooHoo Good eyes Crystal.

Due north on I-55 we hit Missouri. It has been my previous experience while traveling in Missouri, the roads could be quite twisty and up and down over these little mounds. That is not the case today. Coming thru the helmet is the song "I Can See For Miles and Miles" by the Byrds.

Once in Missouri we headed a little west and north into Poplar Bluff. Grabbed this mural, I really like the colors and feel to this. Something about a searching for a salt shaker that is missing comes to mind.

We are in Poplar Bluff soley to grab INK at the Mark Twain National Forest. Well riding around in Poplar Bluff I saw nothing that resembled a forest, I saw Tire Stores, McDonalds, garages, I am not even sure I saw any trees. At this point I am thinking I got this Waypoint marked all wrong. Just like the Mayhem Insurance commercial the GPS screams "Right Here". I am at the Ranger Station for the Mark Twain National Forest, which has the stamp I need to lock up Missouri for the National Park Tour. Explains why no forest, this is a headquarter office kind of place.

As we are leaving and knowing we will not be in Missouri that long as we head east, grabbed this as Something COOL. It is a memorial to the CCC men who built some camps in the area.

The Poplar Bluff area is pretty old and is called "The Gateway to the Ozarks". Hernando De Soto (remember those cars) was the first explorer in the area, crossing the Missouri River in 1539. And I always associated Jamestown and 1607 as the beginning of the white settlement in the US. Looking thru the list of notable people from Poplar Bluff the only one that grabbed my eye was Julie McCullough, February 1986 Playmate of the Month. I must have missed that section because I was reading the articles.

Picked up a Veteran Memorial

County Courthouse

And another mural just in case I don't use the B&K Trading one.

Stopped for this theater because it is really cool.

The Rodgers Theatre, at the corner of Pine and Broadway, still stands as a tribute to this bygone era, the only one of these theaters still standing. This historic building, though only 50 years old, has an outstanding appearance. Its architectural design is Art Moderne/ Deco. It was closed in May of 1998 and its deterioration is evident as it waits for restoration. Source:

Just before we cross the Mississippi River to be in THE EAST, picked up another mural in Cape Girardeau. Now I have 3 for Missouri.

On the other side of the Mississippi, Illinois welcomed us.

In Jackson Illinois we stopped at the Smiley Face Water Tower for something COOL. Not COOL was the rain, which increased its precipitation participation. I am thankful that my camera is suppose to be rain resistant.

Heading south on US51, which on a nice day would be a wonderful ride, but wet roads make me cautious. I have to say the SPYDER handles this type of weather beautifully and with confidence. We come to Makanda, looking for the Boomer 3-legged Dog Monument. Stopped and went into one of the three stores in downtown Makanda and asked do you know where the 3 Legged Dog is, to which they shrugged but pointed toward the railroad tracks across the street and said, there is a tombstone over there. Viola !!

Makanda has 561 folks living here, celebrates the migration of the black vulture and turkey vulture back to the area and holds a 2 day festival for the local artists. They have live music, because they don't have electricity. Only kiddin'.

It's pouring dogs and more dogs at this point, but Crystal holds up the card and I snap the pic.

The plaque on the monument reads: "In memory of Boomer the hound dog. Tradition says he dashed his life out against the iron abutment of the railroad bridge 300 feet south of this point on September 2, 1859, while running along on three legs trying to put out the flame in a hotbox on the speeding train of his beloved fireman-master." - See more at:

With the rain you would think we are done. No way Jose.

Vietnam Memorial

County Courthouse


At this point given the time of the day, the weather, Crystal starts looking around for a new Super Hero.

Having been knocked totally off the pedestal, what do I have to lose. "Just one more stop and we are done" Crystal has heard that line before.

This time I was telling the truth, our hotel is Harrah's in Metropolis Illinois. We have stayed here before, cost is $61/night which includes the 11 entertainment charge and really really comfortable rooms. Highly recommended. To boot if you charge the buffet to your room you get 50% off. Food is top notch as well.

Travel for the day was 329 miles, much shorter than the last 2 days, but I substantially altered the route on the fly eliminating 4 or 5 stops that easily eliminated a 100 miles. I needed to earn back my Super Hero status.

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