Yesterday, we escaped from Iowa and at least a quarter-inch blanket of snow. A tailwind and sunny skies lifted our moods and once into the middle of Missouri, blooming forsythia began to appear. We followed Highway 19 much of the way, which is very twisty and turny, but a beautiful drive. We're big audiobook fans, but this trip was a departure from our usual John Sandford/Michael Connelly fare with It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. It's been about 50 years since I read Main Street and I am really enjoying his wonderful writing. Not to mention the timeliness of the subject.
We are camped near the town of St. James, and hoping not to visit the Infirmary. Our campground has a sort of post-Apocalyptic feel. It's very nice in a wooded area, but even though most of the seasonal sites are full, owing to the weather and time of year, I have only seen one other human being. As you might surmise from the photos, I had an ulterior motive in demanding this route. The next Time Travel Trailer book involves Route 66 so this is research. This morning we headed back east to the town of Cuba. Not often you get to visit a town named after your dog. Anyway we stopped to see the World's Largest Rocker (40 feet tall) in Fanning. The adjoining trading post is for sale in case you're interested. This kind of curiosity is part of the lore of the Mother Road.
The town of Cuba is known for its murals. There is also a typical old Phillips 66 station that has been wonderfully restored and now it's a cafe, but unfortunately not open on Sunday or Monday. But my main target was the Wagon Wheel Motel, which has been in business over 75 years and hence very suited to the plot of my book. The owner was very helpful and allowed us to tour one of the guest units. All of the buildings are beautifully rendered in native stone and have been well-maintained and updated. I don't think they originally had Jacuzzi tubs in them.
Our day trip also took us back west of St. James to the Mule Trading Post near Rolla. If they don't have it, you don't need it--new or used. We finished off with a visit to Merramec Springs just a couple of miles from the campground, which is a gorgeous park on private land and the site of an old iron works. Drizzle was beginning so the photos are kind of dreary but it was still very enjoyable. Then back to the camper for hot soup and a quiet evening--no TV reception here. Tomorrow, on to Arkansas!
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.