Saturday, September 12, 2009

United We Stand

We are at a Wal-Mart in Paducah, Kentucky (map).

Yesterday we ended up staying in Poplar Bluff through lunch. Even without the Internet, we both had enough to keep us busy all morning, including the grocery shopping we had put off the night before. We got under way right after noon.

It was a pleasant and uneventful drive on US-60 to Sikeston, where we simply waved at Lambert's as we rolled past. Earlier in the day we had both decided we couldn't do justice to those portions at lunch, and besides which, neither rolls (throwed or not) nor molasses are on our diet these days. Driving past also reminded us what a colossal tourist trap the place is.

We stopped briefly in Sikeston to put another 30 gallons of diesel in at $2.459, the cheapest we will see for a long time. I probably had room for another 20 gallons, but the dispenser cut out at $75, and I didn't want to fuss with it any longer. Between the late start and the fuel stop, it was mid-afternoon by the time we crossed the Mississippi.

The US-60/62 bridge ends right at the entrance to Fort Defiance State Park, where we've stayed in the past. I was uncertain the place would even still be open, given the lack of any information on the 'net, and we were pleasantly surprised to find it more or less as we left it. We stopped briefly at the old toll house, which now sports a large new addition complete with deck. The whole place, though, was again deserted, and the new addition to the toll house seems to be a museum under construction, a project that looks to have been started a year ago, then stopped mid-stream. Such is the nature of this park, and the town of Cairo in general, who has been operating it since the state of Illinois essentially abandoned the place.

In any case, all the money poured into the toll house gave us some hope for the campground, and so we rolled down there, again to find it frozen in time. Unfortunately, testing a handful of pedestals (requiring standing on a chair -- they're eight feet off the ground) revealed that the power was off. There was no padlock on the iron ranger, either, so the campground is "closed." We figured we could spend the night if we wanted to, probably for free (posted rates are $10 for tents and $13 for RVs with power and water), but it was 90° mid-afternoon, and our preference for staying there was partly conditioned on power being available. We made a quick loop through the park to see what had changed (nothing), then moved on.

Immediately east of the park is the Ohio River bridge, and in short order we were in Kentucky, where the state motto seemed particularly appropriate for a September 11th arrival. Total time in Illinois: half an hour. Having given up on Fort Defiance, we needed to decide on one of two backup options: the Harrah's Casino just north of here, in Metropolis, Illinois, or the only COE park still open at the Tennessee River crossing another half hour east, another place we've stayed before.

We were still discussing the choice as we were rolling up to the decision point, I-24 immediately east of here, when we passed an Olive Garden immediately adjacent to this Wal-Mart. I was pretty luke-warm on the COE option, since I did not want to drive another half hour and I was concerned we would not get on-line there unless they again let us use the group area, and was just about to make the call for Metropolis. This place was even more convenient, though, and so we just stopped here.

There were quite a few rigs here last night, no doubt due to the proximity to the Interstate. As usual, though, we are the last ones here at 11 this morning. Shortly we will continue east on either US-60 or US-62 to Louisville.

Photo by Joits, used under a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

  1. You might enjoy Hillman Ferry Campground in Land Between the Lakes at Grand Rivers off of I-24. Patti's in Grand Rivers is a good place for huge pork chops and there is a pretty decent variety show at the theater in Grand Rivers.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!