Day 2: February 17, 2008
Wet But Iceless
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The restaurant across the street from the hotel reportedly server Maid-Rites. I didn't check it out and I didn't take the night-time picture of its neon that I intended, either. By the time I left the group by the pool last night, it had been turned off. In all honesty, I doubt that I would have been energetic enough to go outside anyway but I was spared that decision. This morning, after the sign came back to life for the day, I took a shot through my window with the mini-tripod and declared it "good enough".

We left the hotel around 9:00 and immediately made a run for the border. It was raining just as hard in Illinois and the blue sky that occasionally appeared in the distance was just a tease. It never got any closer than this.

The Historical Sanderson Trail runs through the town of Pittsfield, Illinois, the childhood home of cruise sweethearts Kent & Mary Sue. At the first stop, I got a picture of the Sanderson's current cruiser in front of their old high school. I missed the signals that identified Kent's early home as we drove by but we were able to park across the street from the Lustron house where Mary Sue once lived. Lustron homes are kit houses built of maintenance free metal panels and Mary Sue remembers this one arriving on a truck and being assembled by her father. She also remembers the shrubbery and other landscaping that once set off the house but are now sadly missing.

One of the grade schools they attended is actually on the National Register of Historic Places but not, as far as I know, due to their attendance. It was built in the 1860s and still looks pretty solid today. The little cabin is just across the street from the school. It has a Lincoln rather than Sanderson connection. Built and owned by one of Abe's friends, it's the site of the pigeon story.

The last stop on the Sanderson Trail is several miles south of town. Kent and Mary Sue plan to relocate only one more time and the place is already selected and signed.

Cruise members would start peeling off for home as we moved south so the full group gathered in front of the Pike County Courthouse for some farewells.

Near Hardin we crossed the Illinois River on a pretty cool looking lift bridge...

...and most of the group stopped for lunch in Grafton.

I stopped at Fast Eddie's Bon Air and I'm still not sure exactly what it is. The cruise officially disbanded at the Wild Goose and I continued south when the others turned west at Alton. About the same time I saw a sign for Fast Eddie's. I had heard Robert and Kent mention Fast Eddie's in, I believe, a discussion of lunch possibilities. It's over 21 requirement meant that Natalie wouldn't be allowed in so it was quickly dropped. But they had used the words "interesting" or "different" or something similar. Here it was and I had some spare time.

Every parking spot around the place was filled and cars were parked well up the street. I lucked into a just vacated spot and headed inside. The place is huge. It's part bar and part restaurant and, as expected from all the cars, it was packed. Even an outside bar was busy despite the cool temperature and a light rain. A guitar and sax duo was playing toward the back of the place and waitresses fought through the crowd delivering food and drinks. I knew it would be a struggle to even get to the bar so, after a walk through the place, I moved on. It's certainly a cool place but I'm not sure just what the big attraction was at 2:15 on a Sunday afternoon.

As I crossed the street toward the parking lot, a passenger in an approaching car called out to ask if I was leaving. I nodded and pointed toward my car and the other car followed me. It seems parking spots don't stay empty long around Fast Eddie's.

This is the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower near the existing Lewis & Clark memorial and museum. "Coming Soon" say the signs.

When I saw the Lewis & Clark site, I realized I was near the Luna Cafe so stopped in for a cold Stag. The Luna is, of course, on Route 66 but the blurry shot is the only evidence I was. I'm including it only as a mate for the better focused Historic National Road sign. I had half intended to pick up US-40 in Collinsville but missed the exit and swung through Troy instead. As I passed this bar east of town, another snippet of a Kent conversation, this one with Kip, came to me. I remembered the names Troy and Sunset. I thought this might be the place they spoke of and, even if it wasn't, it looked worth a stop. It was. Besides cold beer, it had a large fake street sign behind the bar that read "No Smoking, Please". Strange but true.

When I saw this at the south edge of Pocahontas, I thought "Cool. A National Road 'solo arrow' to go with Sixty-Six's Twin Arrows". This arrow marks the site of a new sub-division named "The Tribes". That's probably just fine but when I pulled on in to turn around I spotted what might be the ultimate in tacky adaptations of Native American symbols. Can anyone top a dream catcher stop sign?

I hadn't entirely made up my mind whether to stay at the Powatan or the Tahoe. I stopped first at the Powatan because I'd seen a sign advertising free wi-fi and I came to it first. Another full motel due, I'm guessing, to that nearby project that was mentioned at last fall's stop at Jay's. So it was across the street to the Tahoe. The sign says it all. The Tahoe is a very clean and comfortable no frills motel. No wi-fi, no microwave or fridge, no coffee maker, and no phone. $40.65. Works for me.

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