Into Kentucky

I am parked at the Cracker Barrel in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and looking forward to the parking lot clearing out so I can get myself on some levelers!

Part of the trouble with figuring out tonight’s overnight spot was that Google Maps kept routing me out off of I64 and around Louisville. I did some research and learned that the Sherman Minton Bridge, which connects I64 in Indiana to I64 in Kentucky at the western edge of Louisville, was shut down due to maintenance concerns for several months. Even though the bridge has now been reopened for two months and Google knows this, it has failed to update its mapping application. Once I knew that I could stay on I64 through Louisville, it completely changed how far I felt I could get today. None of the Louisville overnighting options were on I64. It made sense to get clear of the city and then pull over. Shelbyville had a number of options, with the Cracker Barrel the only sure bet.

Cracker Barrel is a restaurant I have mixed feelings about. I love their food, but it is so unhealthy that I feel guilty when I eat there. But tonight I had a good reason to do so and I savoured every bite, including their OMG crustless coconut cream pie (which is actually a toasted coconut custard).

But let me go back to the beginning of the day. I didn’t want to get to the Cracker Barrel too early, hoping to miss the dinner crowd (that plan failed), so I had a slow mo morning in St Louis and pulled out at 10:30, with my ETA being 6PM. Huh? Oh, I was going to cross into EST today!

Miranda at Harrah’s St Louis

I did a double take when I saw this rig pull in last night!

Getting through St Louis this morning was much easier than it was at rush hour on Thursday. I was glad to be going eastbound because check out the westbound lanes:

Shortly after crossing the Mississippi into Illinois, I got off the freeway to get fuel and have visual evidence of why I loathe getting gas in the motorhome with the car attached. Why do some fuel stations have those stupid useless cement bollards at each end? Let’s just say I miscalculated my turns. A good Samaritan tried to warn me, but I saw this happening in the mirror and knew I couldn’t stop it:

I drove another 100km to the Goshen Road rest area for lunch:

Goshen Road Rest Area

After lunch, I put a capful of Turtle Wax car detergent into a bucket and diluted it with a couple of cups of water. Armed with a soft green scrubby pad, I spent at most 15 minutes vigourously scrubbing away the remnants of the bollard’s attack on my car:

There’s still a very faint line on the door and one by the wheel well, but you have to know they’re there. I’m glad that my cursory assessment at the gas station was correct; I just scrapped the paint off the bollard but didn’t do any real damage to the car. You can all start breathing again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, I’m going to say something that is going to leave some of you in disbelief and assured that I am a couple of cards short of a deck: the east smells different from the west. I really noticed it at the Goshen Road rest area; there was this humid scent of humus that I haven’t smelled for years. It could be that the vegetation is different.

I drove some more and crossed into Indiana:

My only experience in Indiana was at a really horrible rest area. The welcome centre on today’s route was much nicer:

I found this map interesting. I drove on the northwestmost red line on this map and was traveling on the southwestmost red line:

The Indiana welcome centre had information about the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. I think he looks very handsome without his beard:

Lincoln is an historical figure who feels very real to me, not legendary. I think it’s because I saw the place where he died. There was a pillow on the bed that was supposedly stained by his blood. I don’t know for sure if that was real or not, but it made an impact on me.

Lincoln’s mother died of something I’d never heard of:

The NPS has a very informational page about milksickness.

The overpasses in Indiana, like those in Michigan, are painted sky blue:

About 10 miles from Louisville, it became imperative that I stop to use the bathroom and I only had a quarter tank of fuel left. So I pulled off the highway at an exit where there were several gas stations. I found one that I could easily pull into, but the roof looked low. I was very happy that they bothered to post the clearance level. It was 13′, which gave me a foot and a half to spare. ๐Ÿ™‚

I crossed the Kentucky state line on the Sherman Milton Bridge and was then formally welcomed into the state:

It says birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, but I think of it as the birthplace of my favourite female singer, Loretta Lynn. ๐Ÿ™‚

Driving through Louisville was easy. I stuck to the centre lane when possible. There was almost no traffic and no one honked at me!

Louisville, KY

The Kentucky welcome centre is very beautiful!

From there, it was only about 10 minutes to Shelbyville. My GPS thought the Cracker Barrel was almost a full kilometre past where it is, so I missed it. I was very glad that just a couple of kilometres down KY-56 there was a small shopping centre into which I could pull in and turn around. I saw the Cracker Barrel on the way back, but was confused by the sign that said that RV parking was thataway, leading me to think that there was another entrance. Thankfully, the next entrance was a U-shaped one, so I was able to get turned around again and finally manoeuvre myself through the Cracker Barrel maze into one of their three RV slots.

This was the first night since I left Lethbridge that I arrived absolutely exhausted so I was glad to have an excuse to have supper made for me, and even gladder that the manager was so quick to say that I could stay.

The sky has been rumbling for the last hour and it has finally started to pour. It is also very dark out even though it is just 8:30EST. I will be getting to bed early tonight so that I can pull out reasonably early tomorrow. I have a fairly short driving day planned, so I’m hoping to get to a rest area fairly early on where I can spend part of the day and catch up on some things.

Thoughts About an Easterly Crossing of the Mississippi River

I have to confess to being a bit stressed about the next 1,000 miles of travel that will take me to my destination in Virginia. The reason has been foreshadowed since I hit Missouri and will get worse across the Mississippi, when I am firmly back in the East: the lack of overnight parking opportunities for RVers. I was hoping to get to Virginia in two nights, but the section through the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia could seriously slow me down. I need a solid list of overnighting options every 300 miles or so.

My usual resources failed me, so last night I finally subscribed to the Overnight RV Parking. Most of the results for Kentucky and West Virginia are too old to be useful, but there are some reasonably recent suggestions that could still be viable. For example, tomorrow morning, I will call the Cracker Barrels in Louisville and see if they still allow overnight RV parking.

(Question: why is it St Loo-iss and Lou-ee-vil (and, yes, I know that’s not how Louisville is pronounced by locals, but you get my meaning!)

Ironically, the rarer the the overnighting options, the more expensive the campgrounds. I can afford a few nights in a campground, but I am going to be very angry about spending $50 plus to stay in one. So I would welcome suggestions from any readers who have traveled I-70 to to I-64 into Virginia.

I remember crossing the Mississippi on my first trip west, back in 2005. Even then, I could feel a very tangible difference on the other side of the riverbank. I suspect that this difference will be even more pronounced tomorrow.

Exploring St Charles, Missouri (and the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center)

Today, I took reader Gina’s advice and drove all the way to historic St Charles, Mo, to visit the historic downtown section as well as the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center.

‘All the way’ is about 3 miles from where Miranda is parked, at the Harrah’s Casino. ๐Ÿ˜€

It was cold in the rig today and it promised to be grey and miserable all day, so I decided that since I was up I might as well get an early start and have breakfast in St Charles before going to the museum, which opened at 10. It was only 9:30 when I was done, so I went over to Walmart, also in St Charles, to get a few things and discovered a gigantic Dollar Tree store next door. I have never seen one so big, and it was full of brand name products! The cashier teased me when I told her that ‘all those bags’ couldn’t all be mine, saying that she was watching me toss stuff in my basket like I was touring Ali Baba’s cave! Everything was on the list, however, and I barely had to get anything at Walmart.

I then drove to the historic downtown portion of St Charles, a formerly French-Canadian city that was the last bastion of civilization for the Lewis and Clark expedition. There is tons of free parking down near the boat house, just a block from the southern portion of Main Street.

I read the Lewis and Clark journals about 15 years ago, but I think they would make a bigger impression on me today, so I have downloaded the free Kindle version (readable on my iPad and iPod Touch using the Kindle app) and am looking forward to rereading about their journey now that I have pretty much covered their whole route to the Pacific Ocean.

The museum is small with entry costing $4. This includes a really good National Geographic movie about the expedition that had me glued to the edge of my seat!

After the museum, I walked up to Main Street and walked it from the southern to the northern end and back again, visiting a few shops and checking out the restaurant menus. The Little Hills Winery menu was particularly appealing and quite inexpensive, so I went in, but lunch was rather disappointing. The ciabatta bun was stale and the McCain-type seasoned wedge fries were tepid. The sandwich filling, however, was incredibly delicious and is one I would like to recreate at home! There was a moist and flavourful charbroiled chicken breast topped with thin slices of creamy Brie, two strips of crispy bacon, and a delicious apple and onion chutney, definitely worth the price of lunch.

I got an ice cream for the walk back to the car, made briskly as the sky was starting to spit. It’s now very windy and threatening to storm.

Check out the gallery for more information about my day.

this was a crazy intersection; I had no idea where to go and was so glad I could follow this car!

this was a crazy intersection; I had no idea where to go and was so glad I could follow this car!

the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center

the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center

close up of the sign

close up of the sign

Mention of St Charles by Clark

Mention of St Charles by Clark

Portraits of Lewis and Clark (did you know that William Clark was a flaming red head?)

Portraits of Lewis and Clark (did you know that William Clark was a flaming red head?)

about Lewis

about Lewis

about Clark

about Clark

mention of how well managed was the expedition and that only one man died

mention of how well managed was the expedition and that only one man died

representation of a stone house at the time

representation of a stone house at the time

the museum

the museum

this razor may have belonged to Lewis

this razor may have belonged to Lewis

list of articles, including the Lewis' razor

list of articles, including the Lewis’ razor

a page from the Lewis geneology

a page from the Lewis geneology

description of Floyd, the man who died (probably of a ruptured appendix)

description of Floyd, the man who died (probably of a ruptured appendix)

"I have been wet and cold in every part as I ever was in my life"--Clark

“I have been wet and cold in every part as I ever was in my life”–Clark

a little bit about their Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, the wife of a French-Canadian interpreter

a little bit about their Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, the wife of a French-Canadian interpreter

about Sacawagaea's son, the final member of the expedition

about Sacawagaea’s son, the final member of the expedition

About the expedition's triumphant return to St Charles. The men had been gone for 28 months and were presumed dead.

About the expedition’s triumphant return to St Charles. The men had been gone for 28 months and were presumed dead.

An hilarious story about a French Canadian interpreter with such poor eyesight that he mistook Lewis for an elk and shot him in the rear!

An hilarious story about a French Canadian interpreter with such poor eyesight that he mistook Lewis for an elk and shot him in the rear!

representation of this man, Pierre Cruzatte

representation of this man, Pierre Cruzatte

I loved this statue of Lewis and Clark; it seems to capture their spirit

I loved this statue of Lewis and Clark; it seems to capture their spirit

Reproduction of the type of clothes the French Canadian men would have worn (Lewis and Clark's soldiers all wore military attire. When that was worn through, they made neat leather suits. The image of a roughly dressed expedition party is fictional.)

Reproduction of the type of clothes the French Canadian men would have worn (Lewis and Clark’s soldiers all wore military attire. When that was worn through, they made neat leather suits. The image of a roughly dressed expedition party is fictional.)

about the French Canadian outfits

about the French Canadian outfits

Main and RIverside, looking south

Main and RIverside, looking south

this conservatory is a lovely place to have a wedding

this conservatory is a lovely place to have a wedding

the conservatory brings the outdoors in with its brick floor

the conservatory brings the outdoors in with its brick floor

Hobbit's Hole Antiques; I would have bought quite a few things for a stick home :)

Hobbit’s Hole Antiques; I would have bought quite a few things for a stick home ๐Ÿ™‚

Hobbit's Hole Antiques

Hobbit’s Hole Antiques

my Barbies had a stove just like this one; it's worth $100?!

my Barbies had a stove just like this one; it’s worth $100?!

there are several nice bathrooms along the street, something other towns should emulate in their tourist districts

there are several nice bathrooms along the street, something other towns should emulate in their tourist districts

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

Daniel Boone (Anyone else have a crush on Fess Parker as Daniel Boone growing up? Loved that show, but I bet it wouldn't stand the test of time)

Daniel Boone (Anyone else have a crush on Fess Parker as Daniel Boone growing up? Loved that show, but I bet it wouldn’t stand the test of time)

plaque confirming this is a statue of Daniel Boone

plaque confirming this is a statue of Daniel Boone

marker noting the site of the Lewis and Clark expedition rendezvous

marker noting the site of the Lewis and Clark expedition rendezvous

Laura's La Petite had some really nice things

Laura’s La Petite had some really nice things

Laura's La Petite

Laura’s La Petite

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

looking north on Main Street

Whew, the north end of the historic part of Main Street! I'm looking south now.

Whew, the north end of the historic part of Main Street! I’m looking south now.

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

main buildings at this ancient-looking cellar doors right on the sidewalk

main buildings at this ancient-looking cellar doors right on the sidewalk

the sidewalk was more of an obstacle course; this was probably the worst section

the sidewalk was more of an obstacle course; this was probably the worst section

the Enchanted Attic was a treasure trove of incense, pendulums, crystals, and candles

the Enchanted Attic was a treasure trove of incense, pendulums, crystals, and candles

nice little park with a gazebo

nice little park with a gazebo

looking south on Main Street

looking south on Main Street

this is the Little Hills Winery restaurant where I had lunch

this is the Little Hills Winery restaurant where I had lunch

lunch (as I said, the main part of it, the sandwich filling, was AWESOME)

lunch (as I said, the main part of it, the sandwich filling, was AWESOME)

this mill is now a brewery and pub

this mill is now a brewery and pub

this mill is now a brewery and pub

this mill is now a brewery and pub

back at the corner of RIverside and Main. I turned left on Riverside to go back to my car.

back at the corner of RIverside and Main. I turned left on Riverside to go back to my car.

A Generous End to the Evening

I decided to go up to the casino tonight to put $10 in the slot machines as a thank you for letting me stay. Since the day had been so cheap, I decided to check out the restaurant offerings. Everything was either way too expensive or way too fast foodish. The only option left to investigate was the buffet, but at nearly $20 I was convinced I’d be turning around and having dinner at home.

When I got to the entrance, I noticed a woman was standing there glancing at the people coming in. She came over to me and said, “Have you prepaid?” “No…” She then handed me a ticket for the buffet and said, “Pay it forward.” I don’t know if she won a free dinner or what, but wasn’t that nice of her?! I can’t believe I got a free dinner! I had some tasty baked chicken with mashed potatoes, veggies, and salad as a first course, then a couple of pieces of ravioli with some sausage and more salad for a second course. Third course was a small scoop of ice cream and a tiny brownie. Fourth course was half an orange and some honeydew melon. It had been a very, very, very long time since my sushi lunch and I was ravenous, but I don’t think I ate excessively at all. It definitely helped that dinner was free, so I didn’t feel I had to get my money’s worth. ๐Ÿ™‚

The lady didn’t let me say much to her beyond thank you, but I was able to confirm that she’s not from Missouri. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Missouri Museum of History

It was a drive and a half to get to the Missouri Museum of History from downtown St Louis and then back home again, so I’m glad that it was definitely worthy of a detour. This giant building is housed on the edge of the grounds where the 1904 World Fair was held. The museum has many free exhibits and sometimes has pay ones. Today’s $10 museum exhibit was Missouri and the Civil War. That sounded interesting, but I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to the museum and I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to do it justice so I decided to skip it.

The museum is on a lovely boulevard lined with historic beauties...

The museum is on a lovely boulevard lined with historic beauties…

... and modern atrocities

… and modern atrocities

Missouri Museum of HIstory

Missouri Museum of HIstory

close up of the museum sign

close up of the museum sign

gorgeous ceiling and a statue of Thomas Jefferson

gorgeous ceiling and a statue of Thomas Jefferson

this was a listing of all the plants brought in for the 1904 World's Fair

this was a listing of all the plants brought in for the 1904 World’s Fair

entrance to the 1904 World's Fair exhibit

entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair exhibit

lovely desk

lovely desk

the desk was created in Chinese fashion, but had drawers to suit Western tastes

the desk was created in Chinese fashion, but had drawers to suit Western tastes

the Woven in Time exhibit

the Woven in Time exhibit

love this!

love this!

about the shawl and skirt set

about the shawl and skirt set

my camera actually recognized that the image in this tapestry is a face

my camera actually recognized that the image in this tapestry is a face

about this tapestry

about this tapestry

This is a replica of the Spirit of St Louis; you'll have to go to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC to see the real one. I have. :)

This is a replica of the Spirit of St Louis; you’ll have to go to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC to see the real one. I have. ๐Ÿ™‚

About Hunger & Resilience exhibit

About Hunger & Resilience exhibit

this man, Martin, sounded a lot saner than he looks!

this man, Martin, sounded a lot saner than he looks!

text about the exhibit Hunger and Resilience

text about the exhibit Hunger and Resilience

Marian is a teacher in Texas who experience hunger as a child

Marian is a teacher in Texas who experience hunger as a child

all the photos had a box like this; you put on the head set and pressed the button to hear the person tell his or her story

all the photos had a box like this; you put on the head set and pressed the button to hear the person tell his or her story

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time -- TS Eliot

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time — TS Eliot

more information about the Currents exhibit, saying that it shows that our basic concerns do not change over time

more information about the Currents exhibit, saying that it shows that our basic concerns do not change over time

Currents was the exhibit about historic St Louis

Currents was the exhibit about historic St Louis

Did you know that Missouri comes from a word that means canoe?

Did you know that Missouri comes from a word that means canoe?

Charles Dickens' description of the Mississippi

Charles Dickens’ description of the Mississippi

Jeannette Forchet was a free black woman who was widowed twice.

Jeannette Forchet was a free black woman who was widowed twice.

Description of where Jeanette Forchet had her home in 1766. There is a replica of her house beside this map and inside there is a narration of the inventory made of all her worldly goods. This narration is in FRENCH!!!!!!

Description of where Jeanette Forchet had her home in 1766. There is a replica of her house beside this map and inside there is a narration of the inventory made of all her worldly goods. This narration is in FRENCH!!!!!!

this replica of a burned building symbolizes the perils 19th century St Louis experienced

this replica of a burned building symbolizes the perils 19th century St Louis experienced

explanation of where water came from in 19th century St Louis (hydrants that spewed very muddy water)

explanation of where water came from in 19th century St Louis (hydrants that spewed very muddy water)

copy of someone's water license (late 19th century)

copy of someone’s water license (late 19th century)

St Louis water was very murky (Mark Twain said it had an acre of dirt in every tumblerful!). The city got a modern water purification system just before the 1904 World Fair

St Louis water was very murky (Mark Twain said it had an acre of dirt in every tumblerful!). The city got a modern water purification system just before the 1904 World Fair

Who minds the baby when the mother goes to vote? The one who minds the baby when she goes to pay her taxes.

Who minds the baby when the mother goes to vote? The one who minds the baby when she goes to pay her taxes.

what caught my eye is that the meeting is at 7 1/2 o'clock

what caught my eye is that the meeting is at 7 1/2 o’clock

Portraits can say as much about those who made them as they do about their subjects.

Portraits can say as much about those who made them as they do about their subjects.

I love this dress!

I love this dress!

here's that TS Eliot quote again :)

here’s that TS Eliot quote again ๐Ÿ™‚

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

more detail on the replica of the Spirit of St Louis

this is an exhibit on modern St Louis

this is an exhibit on modern St Louis

this development was only for couples with four or more children

this development was only for couples with four or more children

this is a pretty swanky house, but even though it's marketed for a family of six, it has only three bedrooms and one bathroom

this is a pretty swanky house, but even though it’s marketed for a family of six, it has only three bedrooms and one bathroom

breakdown of the monthly payment for the home, which includes taxes and fire and tornado insurance

breakdown of the monthly payment for the home, which includes taxes and fire and tornado insurance

the 1950s kitchens were so pretty

the 1950s kitchens were so pretty

"I won't be through my work until God takes my voice." Willie Mae Ford Smith

“I won’t be through my work until God takes my voice.” Willie Mae Ford Smith

a horrible race riot

a horrible race riot