Day 3: November 25, 2017
Three States of 45

Comment via blog

Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

At one point in planning this outing, I hoped to attend a show at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe on Saturday. But the Bluebird is small and popular and being forty-five minutes late to the start of ticket sales meant no seat for me. On yesterday's drive to Brownsville, I noticed US-45 passing through Jackson and remembered how much I enjoyed my ride on it in Illinois a few weeks ago. I decided that's where I'd begin my drive home. It started simply enough with a US-45 exit from I-40 but things got more complicated about a half-dozen miles later when the route split into and east and west version. As I've said before, I believe that Tennessee has more US routes with letters on the end of their names than just about any other state. With no better reason than the fact that my home was off to the north east, I chose US-45E. They rejoin at Fulton.

It proved a good choice in at least one regard. I was a little hungry and the name Rhodes Family Diner made me think this could be a good spot for breakfast. I also homed they had Wi-Fi. The internet connection had faltered last night at the lodge and I found myself in the unusual situation of having content ready but no way to post it. The reverse is much more common.

A wise person once told me, "If there's an option for one pancake, take it." That choice is there for a reason. This tasty and filling meal was mine for an even six bucks, and they had excellent Wi-Fi, too.

US-45 was something of a disappointment. It's almost all divided and unexciting four-lane. There are probably some interesting older alignments around but I hadn't researched anything at all so stuck to the currently signed route. Things got decided better in Kentucky where the route was mostly two-lane. When I saw signs telling me I was approaching Paducah, I wondered how close I was to Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland. It turned out to be about ten miles away so I headed over for a quick hello. It was not, of course, all that quick.

Although there were no huge additions since my last visit, things are always changing. I think the "Bumper Crop" has grown some and this time "Thronehenge" has me and a bunch of leaves to contend with. The next two pictures are sort of Toyland touchstones for me. The two big guys stand near the road and were among the first things I saw on my first visit. I saw the cowboy posse even earlier. A photo of them was the first thing I saw on Apple Valley's Facebook page. The last picture is of Keith with his step ladder. As you may have heard (or might guess), he never knew hie real ladder.

With impeccable timing, I did my Paducah brewery check right when I was about half a mile from Dry Ground Brewing. I also had some more Wi-Fi luck. I had intended to take a photo with my phone at Apple Valley Toyland so I could post it instantly. I'd forgotten but was able to use the brewery's Wi-Fi to get a picture from my camera. I downed some tasty porter, let loose my Tweet, and logged my 130th brewery all with one stop.

I left Kentucky, crossed the Ohio, and entered Illinois on this mile-long multi-span 1929 bridge. I have no side view of the bridge and I won't even attempt to catalog the spans. Fortunately, takes care of both.

Big Johns were born in the 1960s around the same time as the Muffler Men. Big Johns were the taller of the two with heights of 28-30 feet vs. 14-25. There were never as many Big Johns as there were Muffler Men and not many remain. This one is at the south edge of Metropolis, Illinois.

Even though Big John is taller, this fifteen foot statue in downtown Metroplis get the most attention. The town was named the official "Hometown of Superman" in 1972 and it now has the statue, a gift shop fronting a museum, and a goodly flow of tourists. I grew up with a black & white (George Reeves) Superman and was happy to see quite a few things from that era. In particular I was particularly taken in by the most powerful glasses in the world. Their power comes not from their magnification or resolution but from their ability to make their wearer completely unrecognizable to even the closest friends and associates.

This one time Standard Oil station is in downtown Vienna, Illinois. It could definitely use some cleaning and some maintenance has been delayed longer than prudent but the walls look solid.

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