Day 1: December 19, 2009
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I imagine some suspect me of being an un-American anti-Christmas subversive but that just isn't true. Each year I painstakingly erect a lavishly decorated tree even though I'm not there to enjoy it on Christmas Day itself.

The second picture shows the view from my garage as I prepared to depart. It was clearly a good time to be leaving town but, as the third picture shows, it wasn't the best time. However, though conditions were messy, they weren't dangerous.

Once again, Oven Master Mary made sure I was well provisioned for the trip and then some. In 2007 and 2008 I photographed some of her handiwork just before I devoured it. This year the gingerbread man has a gingerbread mate and both are dressed quite festively. For tradition's sake, I captured the pair atop the keyboard but first I had them pose atop the dash when I reached US-62 near Nortonsville, Kentucky. This was the most western point of the route previously driven and where the drive to complete it begins.

Here are two pictures from Dawson Springs and two from Princeton. A hundred years ago, Dawson Springs was a popular and prosperous spa. A glimpse inside the building to the right of the first picture is here and a more readable version of the pictured sign is here. The Hayes building and ghost sign is just outside the first picture to the left.

The wall of murals caught my eye in Princeton and I spotted the quite active Capitol Theater as I turned around. A close up of one of the murals is here.

I was sure that was an old gas station next to Custom Automotive but owner Roy Brown told me it's only about twelve years old. It is a reproduction of, as he recalled, a station in Dallas Texas. Nice job.

The Cadillac Ranch style line of buried lawn mowers would be cool by itself but it is just a tiny part of "Historic Apple Valley, Hillbilly Gardens & Toyland Roadside Attraction". It isn't exactly on Sixty-Two. It's on US-68 just a couple of miles south of where the two highways cross near Sharpe, Kentucky. There's some wonderful history here. The property has been in the family since 1928 when Oral Wallace began selling apple cider, sometimes with a little kick, by the gallon or glass. It developed into a campground and produce stand and the little white building has been a gas station and bus stop. There was even a small zoo. During the campground days, chicken dinners became a fixture and the stove on which they were cooked is still there. So is a lot of folk art (the signs say "Hill Billy Art") and toys. Lots of things inside the "ToyLAND" building, including that erector set carrousel, move. I met Keith, the guy responsible for most of this, briefly but he stays busy. Wife Diane and daughter Britney acted as tour guides. I hear that son Ian, who I didn't meet, does a pretty good tour, too.

Not everyone loves Apple Valley. Search the web and you will find the place described as both trash and treasure though the "treasure" comments seem to slightly outnumber the "trash" ones. Perhaps not surprisingly, the negative comments tend to come from people living in the area. I suppose this isn't the sort of thing that everyone would welcome to the neighborhood but it is a true roadside attraction in the finest tradition. I loved it and want to go back when it's warmer.

I ended the day in Sikeston, Missouri, so almost felt obligated to eat at "The Only Home of Throwed Rolls", Lambert's Cafe. I've heard of long waits here and the place was certainly busy but I got right in. I ordered catfish and was served enough for me and a friend or two. Meals are augmented with things like black-eyed peas and okra from friendly servers roaming among the tables and, of course, by "throwed rolls". The story is that when a server couldn't get through the crowd to hand out rolls, a patron suggested throwing it and the rest is history -- and very successful marketing.

I'll end any conjecture by confessing to an 0-1 record in roll catching. Most roll throwing seemed to come from behind me for some reason and I shied away from attempting an over the shoulder catch. The thrower briefly moved to the other side of the room and I waited for him to move a bit closer but that didn't happen before he depleted his supply. When resupplied, he returned to the side behind me. He finally moved to a spot I could see without twisting and I raised my hand. As he released, a waiter passed between us. I lost eye contact for just a split second and that was enough and that's the story I'm sticking to. Good thing I was facing the pitch as the roll bounced off of my chest then landed nicely on the table in front of me; very hot and very tasty.

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