Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 3: Springfield IL - Rolla MO

Omnes: O hai, ML Maire! We thought u lived in that London, that they have now!
ML Maire: Yes. Yes, I do.
Omnes: O RLY? Then y does ur receipt from last night say "Alaska"?
ML Maire: Babbage-engines FTW!
So, Rolla, eh?  Those with long memories, or too much time on their hands, will recall a Battle Mountain entry from 2010, Miner Details, built by the Penniless Student Oaves of the Missouri University of Science and Technology hereabouts.
Whittney Metcalf in Miner Details, yesterday in 2010
If you're reading this, Whittney:
  • Hi! and
  • Do come back and see us in BM some time
But that is one of those new-fangled distortions of space-time caused by spending quite a lot of today listening to old episodes of The Infinite Monkey Cage, in which floppy-haired cleverness dispenser Prof B Cox kept going on about the General Theory of Relativity.  Going back to the beginning, which depends, of course, on your standard frame of reference and anything causing light to bend in unusual ways and

Omnes: Get on with it!

So, first port of call is Chatham, for some Bridgey Goodness:
Sugar Creek covered bridge
To get that photo, I had to negotiate a tree that, if it appeared in a work by S King of Maine, would be guarding the route to the SEEKRIT Indian Burial Ground to prevent Man from encountering That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know:
Thee Tree ov Doom
though judging from the graffiti and empties it's not something that bothers the local teenagers.  From here further avoiding of I-55 led through more splendid small towns, of which Virden was probably the splendidest.  In spite of this:
Battle of Virden memorial
which at first I thought had something to do with massacring Indians but actually commemorates the victims of both sides of a shoot-out between striking coal miners and The Man in 1898.

Then further south to Collinsville, because this:
A water tower, Collinsville IL
This is, allegedly, "The World's Largest Catsup (sic) Bottle" and I can die happy having seen it.  Then a swing to the west brings the route into the territory of further Bridgey Goodness:
That's the stern-wheeler "Spirit of Peoria" passing under the Chain of Rocks Canal bridge, said canal having been built in the late 1940s/early 1950s to bypass a somewhat turbulent and tricky stretch of the Mighty Mississippi a mile or two away.  The Mighty Mississippi has this:
the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge which served as a major crossing of the river from 1929 until 1970, in spite of being two lanes wide and with that odd kink in the middle.  The castle is not, as it might seem, a baroque bridge pillar, nor yet a fort to keep back the Indians if they get uppity, but a water intake for the St Louis waterworks, which are somewhere out of shot.

And so into Missouri, whose Mighty River namesake flows into the Even Mightier Mississippi a few miles away, by way of St Louis (pronounced "Sunt Lewis").  St Louis is the home of the Gateway Arch, which operates on the same kind of timed ticket principle as the London Eye, and is inaccessible by any known road because They are rebuilding everything.  Hence this is what it looks like from the side:
Gateway Arch, and very arch it is too
It commemorates the expansion of USAnia into The West which, apparently, was a Good Thing unless of course you happened to live there already.

It may be possible, with diligence, to follow Route 66 through St Louis and out into the Ozarks but I couldn't find the route on Google Maps before leaving home, never mind on the ground, so set Emily to take me to Times Beach, which is no longer there because of dioxins poisoning the whole place so thoroughly that it had to be evacuated and then demolished.  Unfortunately the bridge that supposedly led to the site has also been rendered incapable i.e. some thoughtless git has taken the bridge deck away.  There is allegedly another entrance but neither Emily nor I could find it.

This rather set the tone for the whole of today's passage of Missouri - tell Emily to take me to point X known to be on Route 66, describe massive near-circle, get fed-up and try the next town on the list, until such time as I gave up and jumped on I-44, because it was getting late.  And so to Rolla.  They have roundabouts here, and also a half-size replica of Stonehenge.

No, really...

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