Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Tacking" North

Soon after leaving Duson (LA) on our four-day drive to Springfield (IL), we were greeted by this sign.

Free gas.

Our first leg of the trip was going to cover about 414 miles, so the idea of free gas was most welcome.

But this was only available on the
"Weekends in May," and then there was the reference to "Gam-bling Problem? Call...."

So, we continued on, bypassing Sam's Town.

Four hundred miles is more than we usually drive in a day, but it had been almost three months since our last move, so we thought it was manageable.

We headed through Shreveport (above two photos), making a mental note that we might want to spend a few days here on our next vist to Louisiana.

Our destination was Hot Springs, AR. Our route took us past Arkadel-phia, AR, and the city's water tower caught our attention.

We were taking a zig-zag approach heading north as though tacking into a headwind on the Chesapeake with our good friend, the late Captain Bob.

We left Hot Springs early on Day 2 on a trip of about 340 miles to Carthage, MO. We had left early enough to avoid rush hour traffic heading east into Little Rock on I-30, but when we turned and headed west on I-40 traffic was still backed up for about six miles heading east into the city.

Highway information signs, water towers, and billboards along the way provided breaks in the trip and opportuni-ties to contemplate the process followed when naming places and

the "ur-gency" implied in some messages.

I-40 took us through some hilly, forested areas of northwes-tern Arkansas.

We had revised our travel plans to avoid closures of I-55 and I-40 around Memphis due to the Mississippi River overflowing its banks. I'm sure detours would have been planned with truck traffic in mind, but I had a meeting in Springfield on Friday and did not want to encounter delays on the way. So we left a day ealier than planned, following a route that was longer than planned.

Our third travel day took us through Missouri--a 240-mile trip on I-44 from Carthage to Villa Ridge, which is about 30 miles west of St. Louis.

Missouri seemed to have an unusually large number of billboards, a few of which are shown in the next photos.

Bourbon, Missouri, tracing its beginnings in the early 1800's, is believed to be the only town in the United States named for Bourbon whiskey. The beginnings of the city coincide with the construction of the railroad (first called the Pacific and later the Frisco).

Richard Turner set up a general store on his property just west of the proposed village of St. Cloud to serve the needs of both settlers and railroad workers, who stayed in the area for several months while building the railroad.

Most of the workers were Irish Immigrants who were used to drinking whiskey, so Turner soon imported barrels of the new brand, Bourbon, which was becoming popular all over the New West. A large barrel labeled "Bourbon" sat on the porch of his store.

The barrel of whiskey was hauled to the construction project, and the Irishmen could go to "Bourbon" whenever they wanted a drink. Turner's store came to be called the "Bourbon" store, and the railroad workers soon called the entire area Bourbon.

These two water towers were the most cleverly identified ones we came across. I'm not sure, but it might be an industrial park near Villa Park.

On Day 4, we crossed the Mississippi and headed up I-55 to our camp-ground in Chatham, IL, about six miles south of Springfield.

The short 150-mile trip took us past some unusual roadside exhibits and

through beautiful farm lands.

A little rest, a scheduled meeting, and we were ready to meet cousin Dora for conver-sation, tours, and good eats.

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