St. Louis here we come

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Sunday, May 23, 2010

Before we left Davenport today we headed down to the river to let Big Muddy know we were back. Discovered a hidden gem – a lovely bandshell dating back to 1925. I also discovered a memorial to legendary jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, the horn blower that Louis Armstrong called "the best ever." I remember Bix from my youth, when my Dad would play Bix records to inspire me to greater heights as I learned to play the trumpet. Unfortunately, I was never a threat to Bix's legend, and gave up the trumpet before high school.

We left Davenport on the “scenic route,” but found the route anything but scenic – mostly industrial plants and quarries. Later, we discovered an 1848 grist mill near Muscatine, Iowa, with a back-up steam engine dating to before the Civil War.

Following the river, we passed through Nauroo, the former chief city of the Mormons before they were forced to move west to Salt Lake City. Later, we passed through Keokuk, Iowa, home of a mile-long dam that provides electricity to southern Iowa and St. Louis. We were hoping for a quaint river town, but instead found it a little shabby.

No trip down the Mississippi would be complete without a visit to Hannibal, the birthplace of Samuel Clemens. Unfortunately, old Sam is probably rolling in his grave to see how his hometown has commercialized his legacy. There’s a Huck Finn Shopping Center and a Becky Thatcher Nursery. Remnants do endure of Clemens life in Hannibal, including his family home and his father’s law office. I made the trek to the light house above Hannibal – 236 steps up and down – and was rewarded with a great view of the river.

Continuing south to St. Louis, we took the scenic route and about 15 miles from Hannibal we found that the road was closed. Rather than return to Hannibal and take the “easy road,” we ventured onto an unmarked detour. About ten miles of gravel road later, smack through a large wetland area, we rejoined the highway to St. Louis. We inquired with the gas station attendant in Louisiana (Mo.) about the road south. He informed us the road south was fine, but northbound was closed. His eyebrows went up when we told him we had navigated the detour to reach his station.

We tried to reach the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers today, but were turned back by flooded roads.

Tomorrow: a second try at the confluence of the rivers and the Louis & Clark monument, then south to Memphis.
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Suzie on

Oh St. Louis. Alot of great memories there. Loved it.

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