Day 4: December 31, 2005
Dexter To Rolla



When Kip pointed me to this motel, he described it as a "ranch style place". For some reason, that description, combined with the "Hickory House" name had me thinking log cowboy bunkhouses. In this case, however, "ranch style" means a single floor reasonably priced motel.

Now comes a little change in plans. I originally intended to take US-61 all the way from Memphis to St Louis. In his first description of the boot heel area, Kip identified MO-25 as one of his favorite roads. At one point I considered driving US-61 to Jackson, MO-25 south to Kennet, then zipping up the expressway to pick up US-61 again. I was now on MO-25 so following that plan would mean twenty miles back to Sikeston to get started. That, plus making three passes over the same area, would not help the schedule. The compromise I decided on was MO-25 direct to Jackson then just following US-61 on north. The Dexter-Kennet section of MO-25 and the Sikeston-Jackson section of US-61 would have to wait for another time.

MO-25 leaves Dexter as a four-lane and I found myself doubting Kip's appraisal just a little. But it soon lost a couple of lanes and was very enjoyable from Bloomfield on.

The barn in the first picture caught my eye when it popped out from behind some trees looking kind of like one of those "more bars in more places" Cingular telephone ads. The other three photos were taken in Old Appleton. The 1879 bridge now serves only foot traffic and makes one fine Christmas decoration. That's a large decorated tree sitting mid-span. The last photo is of the fully functional US-61 bridge taken from next to that tree.

I was drawn into Ste Genevieve by an "Historic District" sign but once I saw a ferry sign I just had to follow it. There was no sign of life on the boat but it looked ready to go.

I checked out the Route 66 Missouri State Park near Eureka for the first time today. The park is on the site of the storied Times Beach. A newspaper promotion started the town and streets full of dioxin ended it. The site has been completely cleaned up and there are several hiking and bridal trails on its 409 acres. There is a small museum which contains, along with lots of information on the road and the area, the signs from the entrance to St Louis's Coral Court Motel.

I followed Historic 66 to Rolla although, having been here before, I took no pictures. Maybe on the return trip. Zeno's is where I met up with a few roadies for dinner. Quite an impressive and reasonably priced place for eating, drinking, and sleeping.

As a last minute addition, I had to spend the night in the corner where I took this picture. Just joking, of course. The truth is that Jennifer, Pat, and I balanced three meals on the far table. From left to right, that's Bill, Fran, Randy, Jennifer, Pat, Melody, Jane, and Norma. Most of this group saw 2006 come in with a few drinks and lots of road talk by the indoor pool. No one got wet.

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