Sunday, August 09, 2009
2982.2 (326.0) Miles to Carlinville, Illinois
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If anyone is ever planning on using historic66.com's directions to get through Missouri, you have my sympathies and fair warning to TRY SOMETHING ELSE. As if yesterday's dead ends and nonexistent roads weren't bad enough, today I ended up on a big loop for the same reason. Instead of about an hour from Lebanon to Rolla, it took me nearly 4 hours and routed me up through Osage Beach, about an extra 100 miles when all was said and done. I've been able to intuit and figure out the directions when they looked like they would fail me. Today, I was just flat out lost. No fun at all.
In the middle of Nashville, Tennessee, there is a Parthenon, just like in Athens (only not destroyed by a gunpowder explosion), complete with a statue of Athena. When I found out there was a Stonehenge in Rolla, Missouri, I thought it would be something similar. Not so much. "stonehenge" in Rolla was nothing more than a bunch of concrete blocks in a sort-of circle. Which, I guess, is what the real Stonehenge is, too. But this one wasn't worth seeing, by any stretch of the imagination.
Went to see the Meramec Caverns. Advertised for hundreds of miles around in all directions, the Caverns were at one point Jesse James' hideout, and have some of the most interesting stalagmite and stalactite collections anywhere. Unfortunately, the place was so over-commercialized that they take away from the natural beauty of the formations. Multi-colored lights, statues of the James Gang panning for gold, and a musical show (complete with American flag lights) are nothing short of ridiculous. A much better thing to do (in my humble opinion) would be to string regular incandescent lights so that the formations can speak for themselves. Let each person interpret them at will. Forget the fancy shtick. There's just no need for it. Bottom line: not worth the money or the time. Go see some other caverns that haven't been dressed up and P.T. Barnum'd for decades.
Tried one last time to follow Missouri 66 directions. When the route disappeared (again), I finally gave up and went down to I-44. Crossed Saint Louis and the Mississippi River on 44/55, then turned north in Illinois on 55. Following 66 in Illinois is a wonderful drive, especially when compared to Missouri. Every turn in 66 has a sign, most including the years the alignment represents. So much easier and nicer to follow.
So here I am in Carlinville (not named after the late comedian George). Tomorrow Springfield (and seeing what the "Land of Lincoln" really means), and then most likely on to Chicago, and the end of the eastbound/66 leg of the road trip.
Posted by Alan at 7:08 PM