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Go West! (Part IV: Illinois & Missouri)

Hello Illinois!

Okay, if I took pics in Illinois I honestly don’t know which ones they are in my folder. I know, I know, I probably should have tried to better organize things while I was on the road, but it was hard to get much computer time and any time I did have was spent going through the hundreds of freaking email I’d get in my inbox every day. So lets just say Illinois was a lot like Kentucky, flatish, lots of flooding, lots of farmland. I mean, who knew there was so much farmland in Illinois! Not I. And it was a long boring ass ride. Definitely not my favourite state, no urge to revisit unless it’s to see Oprah in Chicago.

Sooo …

Welcome to Missouri!

St Louis

The arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

The road actually curved so we passed right down behind the arch, but I couldn’t get a good shot off on account of traffic. St. Louis was kind of surprising to me, the little downtown part that we went through by the arch seemed lovely and then bam we were definitely on the wrong side of town! Every second brick house was burned out, the others had wooden boards or bars over their windows, yet all the drives were full of cars and there were “For Rent” signs out. It was terrible! And it seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t get over all the burned out warehouses too. I don’t understand why they don’t tear it all down and do something to revitalize the community. Jay had said before that St. Louis was an arm pit of a city, but he’s not really a city guy, he prefers the country, so I thought maybe he was just exaggerating, but it was truly disgusting. You do not get a very nice of view of the city at all from the Interstate. I’m sure there are lovely neighborhoods and things but I sure didn’t see any as we passed through.

Once again, Missouri is kinda flat and full of farmland. Pretty boring. We had checked the weather forecast for our trip and believed we’d have clear sailing pretty much all the way, but of course the weather changed and we didn’t know it so we ran into snow. We had stopped at some little hole in the wall type of truck stop place to spend the night at a lovely Super 8 motel. The room was pretty freaking nasty. I’m told there are nice Super 8’s but this was not one of them!

Jay in the nasty Super 8 room.

Okay, so from that picture maybe it doesn’t look all that disgusting, but trust me … I practically laid on top of Jay all night in the bed because I was afraid of what might be in there with us!

This is the bathroom floor ... & no, that's not our popcorn kernel, it came with the room.

And here's the telephone, circa 1976 I'm sure.

The place was just run down and needed a serious cleaning by someone who cared, but you can do anything for one night right. When we checked in there wasn’t a flake of snow anywhere to be found. We settled into our room, then hightailed it to the restaurant next door to get some dinner because it was already going on 10pm. While we were sitting & eating Jay looked out the window and saw a few flakes starting to fall. By the time we left the restaurant to go back to our room the wind had picked up and it was starting to accumulate on the ground.

We woke up the next morning to this.

The Super 8 Motel in Kingdom City, Missouri.

The view out my side of the windshield.

And it was still coming down. We drove for hours in the snow.

The photo makes visibility seem better than it really was.

We really thought we were going to have to stop again, get another room and just wait for the storm to pass, but luckily we finally drove out of it.

Kansas City Chiefs stadium, not sure what it's called, but it's where they play.

An amusement park in Kansas City where Jay says they have the largest still functioning wooden coaster in the world ... but I don't know if that's true or not.

And then just like that, there was no more snow.

Driving in Missouri

Missouri is so not a state I would want to live in.

Jay & John always called Missouri, Misery ...

... and now I understand why.

I imagine Saskatchewan is a lot like this.

It's just fields as far as you can see.

We stopped at a little town to get fuel. I forget what it was called. Anyway, after going to 3 stations we finally found one right in the little town that had diesel fuel, but it was a tight spot for a long bed truck hauling a camper. We get in behind a guy whose sitting at the diesel pump to wait for him to pull out so we can get in and fuel up. And we wait. And we wait. Jay was starting to freak out, because there was someone sitting in the drivers seat of the truck, but he wasn’t pumping and he wasn’t paying and we couldn’t really tell if he was doing anything. Jay thought maybe it was some old guy who was sleeping or who had some kind of spell. I said maybe there was a passenger in the store that he was waiting on. And we waited some more. My hun is not a patient person. I was worried he was gonna get out and go up and say something to the guy & we’d end up in some kind of Children of the Corn type of episode. But instead he just made me get out and help him to navigate out of that line and turn around to get into another pump. While Jay’s fueling up I look over and the guy whose still sitting there at the other pump is a young disheveled looking sort who seemed to be texting or doing something on his phone. Jay gassed up and went in to pay. The woman inside apologized and said she didn’t know what that damn fool was doing at the pumps but he hadn’t taken any fuel and he hadn’t come inside to buy anything, he’d just been sitting there for about 20 minutes now. Meanwhile I’m sitting in the truck sneaking glances at the kid wondering what the hell is up with him & I notice two old geezers sitting in some big assed 70’s type cadillac or something who are also watching the guy and then watching me watch the guy, scratching their chins and pondering what the sam hill. Around about the time Jay got back in the truck the kid suddenly sat up and looked around, grabbed some trash off his floor and got out and put it in the garbage bin, then drove away right before we did. He was dirty and wearing camoflauge gear, so I don’t know if he was hunting or tweaking on dope or both, but it was the weirdest thing!

The small town we stopped at to refuel.

Old fashioned movie theatre in the same small town.

We noticed a sign that said there was a detour for vehicles over 8 and a half feet wide for a bridge that we were going to have to cross way down the road. There was only the one sign and we didn’t really see it right because it was so far away from that route, so we just kept going thinking we’d come across more signs eventually. Well, we never did. There was no detour anywhere to be found. Jay had no idea how wide we were with the camper, but figured it’d be pretty close.

Bridge construction on the Missouri River.

We sat at that red light for a long time and then traffic started coming over from the other side. When Jay saw transport trucks coming over then he figured we could get through too. But it was pretty darn narrow and tight!

Starting to cross the narrow bridge.

The view out the passenger side window from the bridge over Missouri River.

Jay in deep driver concentration, with riverboats in the background.

But we got across all right, no scratches or anything, & didn’t lose our big assed mirrors either! 🙂

(…to be continued…Nebraska next)

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Categories: Uncategorized

5 replies »

  1. Are we sure boy was not planning a murder??

    Town reminds me of CARS….did you happen to see an old navy car with pretty blue eyes who sounded like Paul Newman?

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    • I did not see an old navy car that sounded like Paul Newman, lol. When we were planning on going to Dodge City in Kansas Jay had said that was “Cars” country (he watched it with his grandkids) and we would have surely run into that car there! 🙂

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  2. Yes….Cars Jenn! Exactly! Cars 2 is coming out with a cute new character called Jeff Gorvette…hmm…wonder who is playing him? lol

    And yeah…sounds like the boy might have had some plans that you guys and the geezers interupted…perhaps holding up the gas station? creepy for sure.

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  3. The guy creeped me out, that’s for sure. I was so scared Jay was going to say something to him because he was so angry, and I just had this really bad feeling. The whole time I was sitting there putting the white light around us. When the guy got out it looked like he had guns on the passenger seat. So I don’t know, it could have been perfectly innocent, he could have just been out hunting for days and totally exhausted, or he could have been high as a kite and up to no good, but I was some glad to see him drive away.

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