Sweetheart Cruise '08 Locator map


Day 1
The Birds

Day 2
Wet But Iceless

Day 3
Lost Pics

February 18, 2008
For the first time ever, I saw snow in Vandalia, Illinois. I'm sure that snow is not at all unusual there but me being there in the winter time is unusual. I'd really like to post some pictures of the snow in Vandalia but I can't. I took them, of course, but the memory card crapped out on me. I have a few pictures from Marshall east but that's it.

Some may have noticed that I've upsized things just a bit on this trip. When I first started this website in 1999, 640 by 480 VGA screens were still fairly common and I know I had at least one person following that first trip on WebTV. On that trip, photos for the web were taken with an Agfa with less than one megapixel so keeping them to VGA resolution sacrificed nothing. I did carry a small 35mm Nikon for "real" pictures. Over the years both camera and screen resolution have grown so that sticking with that 640 by 480 picture size was starting to seem a bit archaic. I decided that the new year was a good time to grow things a bit so I've moved the picture size up - just a notch - to 800 by 600. Thumbnails remain at 100 by 100 so page load time won't change.

February 17, 2008
It stayed cloudy and wet but we still enjoyed visiting the Kent & Mary Sue historical sites. Then it was over the Illinois River and down to Alton.

February 16, 2008
The weather held as we drove MO-79 to Hannibal then some rain started to fall. For me, the big surprise of the day was the birds. And I don't mean a few dull sparrows or bickering starlings. I mean bald eagles and pelicans! In Missouri!! Pelicans in Missouri??? Yeah, hundreds of them.

For the last several years, a group of St Louis area roadies have taken a cruise on a weekend near Valentines Day which, for obvious reasons, they've dubbed the Sweetheart Cruise. I believe I've known of the cruise for a couple of years and came darned close to going on it last year but snow (That happens in February, you know;-) kept me away. This year, Saturday looks to have good weather and Sunday's a maybe. It could be my best chance to make one of these.

Even so, I wasn't completely sure until Friday afternoon. The weather still looked non-threatening so I headed to Vandalia, Illinois, after work and once again found no room at the Inn. I had thought of calling ahead as I drove but decided not to bother. Jay's Inn had been full on my last visit in September but what were the odds of that happening again? Very good, I found out. The "No Vacancy" sign was being placed in the window as I walked to the office so I immediately moved to the quite acceptable Travelodge next door. Guess I'm a slow learner.

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