Day 2: May 26, 2007
On Boone's Lick Road
Previous Day
Next Day

St Charles, MO St Charles, MO Last night at the brewery I heard someone giving directions that included "...just past Noah's Ark...". I spent the night west of St Charles and on my way back to start my drive at the beginning of Boone's Lick Road, the meaning of that snippet became crystal clear. Can there be any doubt that this structure was once a restaurant called Noah's Ark? Both it and the gas station it appears to have crashed into have obviously been closed for some time.

Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO In St Charles, Boone's Lick Road is slightly winding and rather pleasant until it hits MO-94. Once that happens, it becomes immersed in what Kip called "the pox of suburbia". In addition to the normal mix of gas stations and shopping malls, there are numerous new housing developments. They fill a whole lot of the space between and behind the stations and malls and blanket every intersection with signs. It all combines to make the first twenty miles or so decidedly unpleasant. In 1913, the DAR placed thirty some stone markers along the road and this one caught my eye a few miles west of US-40 & US-61. A quick check in Dan Rothwell's "Along the Boone's Lick Road" showed this to be the Boone's Settlement marker and obviously not in it's 1999 setting. That setting was about a mile and a half down the road. In the last photograph, it would be in the far corner near where the green tractors are.

I believe this is my first mention of Dan Rothwell's book which makes it a good place to credit it with providing much of the routing and other information for my drive. The book was available at the Daniel Boone House and at the First Capital Interpretive Center in St Charles. People at both placed knew Dan and I was told he sometimes does volunteer work at the interpretive center.

Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO West of Route Z, the population density was decreasing although it could hardly be called sparse. There is an occasional scenic stretch like that in the first picture but the second picture hints that this may not be the case much longer.

St Charles Rock Road, St Louis, MO St Charles Rock Road, St Louis, MO St Charles Rock Road, St Louis, MO St Charles Rock Road, St Louis, MO St Charles Rock Road, St Louis, MO This is Jonesburg and I think it's where the day's drive started to be fun. Memories of the malls and housing developments were dimming and the town seems to have more than its share of eating and drinking establishments. I guess it's been that way since the Cross Keys Tavern opened in 1829. The first picture is of a DAR marker remembering the long gone tavern (readable version here) with downtown visible in the distance. Then there's Frumpy Joe's, which has at least one billboard that can be seen from the interstate, the Backdraft Bar & Grill, Italiano's (closed May 26, 27, 28), and Ole Town. I had a burger ($2.75) and a draft ($1.25) at Ole Town and believe it's the place recommended by Sweetheart Cruiser Kent Sanderson for their "home put together hamburgers". I second that.

My take on the "No Parking" parking situation in the last picture is "If it ain't got wheels, it aint' parkin'".

Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO This rear view of the Lewistown DAR marker shows how closely the old two-lane parallels the interstate in spots. Same with the third picture. But if they move apart just a bit, the feeling is entirely different.

Crane#8217;s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO Crane#8217;s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO Crane#8217;s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO Crane#8217;s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO Crane#8217;s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO Crane’s Country Store, Williamsburg, MO This store and museum "complex" was the surprise highlight of the day. The first Crane's Store opened in 1898 and this one in 1926. The museum is much newer, 2004 I think, but almost everything in it was in that store at one time or another. There were too many people in the store for me to feel comfortable running around willy-nilly taking pictures but I did get the one. It gives only the slightest hint of what the place is really like. The front door opens on a convenience store of sorts with groceries and drinks packed in tightly. The checkout counter is almost hidden but from there you can have cold cut sandwiches made to order with a smile. There are rooms full of clothing, sporting goods, and just about everything else you can think of and looking up is often rewarded with displays of old-time not-for-sale items.

The museum building includes a restaurant, ice cream parlor, and jewelry gallery with the museum in the back. It's $2.50 to visit the museum once or $5 for a one year pass. I went for the one time ticket but it only took me a few minutes in the museum to realize what a good deal I had passed up. Who knew it would be this cool. Marlene Crane herself gives overviews of what's there to everyone who enters. That's her in the picture. Joe, her husband, is the third Crane generation to run the store and their son David is now pretty active in that role. He has two young sons so a fifth generation of family operation seems likely.

The store added White Eagle gas in 1927 and essentially stayed the course when Mobil bought White Eagle ten years later. Marlene says that the museum has only about a third of the stuff Joe has tucked away. Maybe they'll expand some day. A visit is a marvelous step back in time and Marlene is a marvelous guide. Out front you can rest on one of the lawn chairs while you're licking your ice cream cone and thinking about the other two-thirds of Joe's stuff.

Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO Boone's Lick Road, MO The morning started wet & gray but it hadn't rained all morning and the sun was actually shining when I left Crane's. Inspired by a group of motorcyclists who stopped at the store, I took the top off of the car and headed down the road with a big smile. About the time I reached Fulton, the GPS announced that it had "lost satellite reception". That had already happened a couple of times today so I didn't think much of it. I drove past the town's DAR marker and headed out of town on highway F.

Near the edge of town, a sign warned of a road closure 7 1/2 miles ahead and pointed to a detour. Pshaw, I thought. Surely there would be plenty of side roads in 7 1/2 miles and the GPS would guide me around the problem when necessary. I drove by the detour sign and enjoyed over seven miles of some of the nicest driving of the whole trip. When the end did come, I couldn't recall seeing any side roads for quite awhile and the GPS was still "Acquiring Satellites". Yeah, it was somewhat cloudy but there was some sun coming through and there wasn't even a roof to block anything. Either the GPS was broken or there was some nasty weather somewhere.

I skipped a couple of gravel roads and held out for the paved route KK something over four miles back. Aside from possibly keeping me from getting lost, that only delayed the inevitable. A pavement ends sign soon appeared. So here I am on a gravel road in Missouri with a non-functioning GPS when inevitable number two hits. Big drops, too. I managed to get the top on before there was standing water in the car and reminded myself that I ought to practice that more. Into every lap a little rain must fall.

Boone's Lick Road, MO Sorry, but here's one more picture of gravel road. This one intentional and quite pretty. It's near Rocheport and I had clearly included in my route. But it bypassed Rocheport itself and that makes me doubt myself. I recheck that when I get home.

Boone's Lick Road, New Franklin, MO Boone's Lick Road, New Franklin, MO Boone's Lick Road, New Franklin, MO This is New Franklin where the road officially ends. There's a nice big island in the middle of town with several informational panels and a big rock marker. That marker is from the DAR and commemorates the start of the Santa Fe Trail. Of course the Boone's Lick Road ends where the Santa Fe Trail starts and there's a marker for it, too. It's on the back side of the big rock and is somewhat smaller. It's only slightly blocked by a flag pole and, perhaps to keep it from blowing away, has what looks like the first wheel on top of it. Well, I suppose a 1000 mile trail does deserve a bigger monument than a 150 mile trail and so what if the words are often obscured by dirt and the flag pole prevents even a photo from straight ahead. The rock is there and so was I. I'll probably be happier about the situation when I drive the Santa Fe.

Stein House, Boonsville, MO Stein House, Boonsville, MO Stein House, Boonsville, MO Dinner was at the Stein House where I didn't have to eat alone. Besides my Jim Beam loving companion, Jeff, one of the owners, provided good company and good information when he wasn't tending to other things. From him, I learned that the building was originally built as a John Deere show room and has oversized floor joists for that reason. A cool and friendly place with darned good food, too. It wasn't quite dark when I left but I did what I could to get a shot of the neon stein before heading to the motel.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]