Sunday, May 28, 2017

Unexpected Surprise Popeye the Sailor Man

Chester IL  -  What I love about riding a motorcycle is that you never know what you're going to run into.  When you journey on roads that you have never traveled, you usually have a pleasant unexpected surprise.

Once leaving Ste. Genevieve, we make our way out of Missouri to the Chester Bridge.  This takes us across the Mississippi River, into Chester, Illinois   It is a route that we have never taken before.  It is the only bridge that is between St Louis and Cape Girardeau. It's a new road so why not.

On the other side of the river, there is a small rest area.  So we stop for a break to look at the bridge and the Mississippi River.  Once stopping we discovered that Chester Illinois is the boyhood home of E.C. Segar the creator of the comic strip Popeye the Sailor Man.  The rest stop commemorates him with a large statue of Popeye in the middle of the small park.

As a kid, he was one of my favorite cartoons even though they were mostly reruns from the 40's and 50's,  Both Terri and I were very happy to find this unexpected surprise.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Missouri Breaks: A run to the Missouri State Line with a Touch of France

We have wanted to ride to this place for a long time. Ste.  Genevieve, Missouri is a French Canadian settlement on the western bank of the Mississippi. Established in 1735 it is the first organized European settlement west of the Mississippi River in present-day Missouri.   I'm not much of a Freeway Rider so, we are taking all back roads, through Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois.  We'll cross the mighty Mississippi into Missouri at Cape Girardeau.

So on a crisp spring morning, we head off from Clarksville Tennessee.  There is something about spring on a motorcycle.  The cool, crisp air is invigorating, it feels as if the world is passing through you.  It is the sensation of feeling alive.

Our first stop is at Hillbilly Kentucky Barbeque in Wickliffe, Kentucky; before crossing the Ohio River into Cairo Illinois.  It was good to get some good old southern BBQ before crossing into Yankee land.  Cairo pronounced Karo, not like the city in Egypt, is at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

As the rivers come together, you can feel they soul of America.  The Mississippi river like veins in your body leads to the heart of the nation.   This spring has brought a lot of rain.  We stop right after crossing the Ohio River and are now at the very southern tip of Illinois, Victory Park is underwater.  This was a stop for Lewis and Clark they camped here for six days on their historic exploration.

We are headed north on the Great River Road  Illinois Highway 3 to the Cape Girardeau bridge that crosses the Mississippi about 30 miles to the north.  Once in Missouri, we find out that Highway 61 going towards Ste Genvieve is closed.  We are rerouted back to the interstate. It is a short 10-mile blast to the exit and 6 miles to town from there.

We arrive in the early afternoon, so we still have time to walk through the small downtown.  Ste Genvieve which is named after the patron Saint of Paris seems to be a place locked in time.  Still a town of only 4500 souls one can feel the French colonialism that permeates the town.  The small 20 block area is full of restaurants and shops.  With some of the oldest European building west of the Missippii this is a place every person interested in History should visit.

We stayed at the Bed and Breakfast The Inn St. Gemme Beauvais and that evening had dinner at the Audubon's Grill & Bar.  Both were wonderful experiences.  The Inn was an especially special experience.  There gourmet 4-course breakfast was unreal in a fabulous dining room. This was a great trip on Motorcycles.  One that I completely recommend.