Day 5: January 1, 2006
Cabins, Etc.



Leaving Zeno's, I initially headed west for a few miles. I used the expressway and went straight to exit 172 and Larry Daggett's Trail of Tears monument. There's a lot of work and creativity in there. Since Larry's death in 2003, the future of the monument is unknown but it seems to be holding up for the present. The rather odd barn is just up the road from the Trail of Tears arch and the dilapidated cabin and closed store are just a bit beyond that.

Then it was back towards Rolla and off at exit 176. John's Modern Cabins and the nearby Vernelle's Motel have been isolated on a dead end road for a long time but the recent rerouting of I-44 makes them even more so. The cabins stopped being a business a long long time ago but the motel is still a going operation. How long, I couldn't help wondering, before the motel joins the cabins as a ghost business?

I have been in the parking lot of Meramec Caverns before but felt, I guess, that I couldn't spare the time to tour the actual caverns. I corrected that today. The caverns are pretty cool with lots of crystal like formations. Names you often hear associated with the caverns include Jesse James, who may or may no have actually been inside them, and Kate Smith, who definitely was. In 1946, Kate sang God Bless America in the natural theater here and tours have been treated to a recorded version of that for many years, now. I believe that everyone I've ever spoken with who has toured Meramec Caverns made mention of Kate.

Pat & Jennifer reported eating at Ted Drewes yesterday and, encouraged by finding Meramec Caverns open, I headed into St Louis proper believing that some frozen custard was soon to be had. I snapped this picture of the farmer and son duo at Sappington Farmers Market on the way.

But I was sadly disappointed when I reached the custard stand and found it closed. Only at the end of the day did I learn, via the web, why. I wasn't because it was Sunday or even because of the New Year's holiday. The store on Chippewa is open eleven months out of the year and closed for only one. That month is January.

I was already deep into St Louis so headed on through grabbing shots of a few motels on the way. The Wayside has garages, or at least car ports, next to each room. All three of these motels looked empty but none were boarded up or in the midst of demolition. I don't know if any of them is currently operating.

In the midst of traffic passing near the arch, I didn't actually stop to frame a shot. I just pointed the camera and did a rapid fire "drive by". Much to my surprise, I got almost the shot I wanted. After plenty of rotating & cropping, of course.

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