Day 1: February 16, 2008
The Birds
Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

As I made my early morning Vandalia to St Louis run, I calculated that I had enough time to detour across the recently reopened McKinley Bridge. The McKinley was the very first bridge to carry Route 66 over the Mississippi but it had deteriorated to the point that, in 2001, it was closed. It reopened last November. In the pool-side chat at the end of the day, I mentioned that I had crossed the bridge that morning and someone asked if it had an open deck. "No", was the quick answer from someone very familiar with the bridge. "It just developed an open deck."

The sculpture is in a nice little park at the east end of the bridge. It's called "Salute to Steel".

The group gathered in a Quik Trip just off of exit 222 of I-70. Six cars from Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and - ta da - Ohio.

At our first stop, I got a big surprise. As we pulled up to Lock 25 near Winfield, we passed a couple of people pointing cameras and binoculars into the trees and I could see some large birds perched where they were aiming. Those were eagles, I quickly learned. Then someone mentioned pelicans. Pelicans?!?! Yep, there were a few floating on the water in front of us and many more near the dam. We would see many more of both species throughout the day. That's a gull in the air (lots of those, too) but there's a pelican on the water.

Our next stop was at the restored and fully operational Senate Theater in Elsberry. The town celebrated its 125th birthday in 2004 and the restoration was loosely connected with that. This is a gem that could use a little more patronage.

That might have been our only Elsberry stop if someone hadn't noticed the old Coca-Cola sign up the street. Here we found another gem, 4th Street Fountain. In side the actual fountain, dating from the '20s or '30s, was ready and waiting between the original counter and back wall shelves. Even the stools, recently recovered in original colors, have always stood where they are today. Quinn & Natalie watch Jerry put together my vanilla Coke which she did with a true soda jerk's mastery on the fountain handles. The Coke was delicious... and original. The fountain is owned by Marsha and Wes Fakes and Marsha walked in with a big friendly greeting before we left.

Our last stop in Elsberry didn't give off the friendly vibes of the Senate or the 4th Street Fountain but it is a semi-well known landmark. I don't know much about Elberry's old jail but it certainly looks solid - and uncomfortable.

In Clarksville, I got a picture of the whole fleet plus a shot of Lock 24 and pelicans by the score.

Lunch was at Izola's in the town of Louisiana. This place has some of the best barbecued pork I've ever had; All cooked outside over wood. The place only seats 20-25 people and - we were there just after noon - not a one was empty for more that a few minutes. Friendly customers and staff.

After lunch, part of the group reconnected down by the riverside. We then moved up to a nearby bluff for a great view of the ice covered Mississippi and the Champ Clark Bridge. Eagles circled and sometimes sat by open spots in the ice watching for dinner. "Eagle Eye" Kent alerted me to this fellow floating just above us.

Some more scenic MO-79 and a wonderful overlook.

This is my first time in Hannibal so I had to get a picture of Tom Sawyer's fence. It seems to be holding up pretty well as is Becky Thatcher's house just across the street. We climbed past the statue of Huck & Tom to a nice park built on the remains of the 1935 Mark Twain Memorial Bridge. Those who are truly energetic can climb the steps well beyond the park to a lighthouse. We weren't and we didn't. But even the relatively low level of the park provides a great view of Hannibal's Main Street.

Dinner was in an old grocery warehouse taken over by Bubba's. I'm sure the BBQ is excellent but Izola's had filled my BBQ needs for the day. I went for the catfish and so did most who had lunched at Izola's. Great fish and great jambalya.

Kent kept eating right through the picture (The food is that good.) and Natalie was focusing in on me at the same time but otherwise you can see all the faces. Between Kent & and Natalie it's Robert, Mary Sue, Kathy, Steve, Quinn, and Kip. Candy, Fred, Jennifer, and Pat were the lucky ones who got to keep their seats. Jennifer & Pat had not been with us during the day but drove all the way from Indianapolis for a chance to eat at Bubba's. (I guess the food is that good, too.)

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]