Monday, May 25, 2009

Road Trip, Part 5

(Abandoned barn off Rote 40, Clayton, Ind.)

Beyond Indianapolis, Route 40 gets even lonelier: a straight and seldom-used highway interrupted ever 10 miles by a village. There are some gentle hills in eastern Illinois, but the road is as straight as a yardstick.
When they buy cars out here," I told Alice, "steering is just an option."

We reached Vandalia, Ill., which is the western terminus of the National Road, by early afternoon and had lunch at the Old Fashioned Soda Fountain, cater-corner to the Madonna of the Trails monument (left). The statue is identical to the one near Richeyville, and there are 10 others just like it across the country, all installed by the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the pioneer spirit.

From the journal:
Arrived in Rocheport, Mo., at 4:40 p.m. and asked the proprietor of The School House B&B if we could get a room for the night. She said there had just been a cancellation and gave us the Spelling Bee Room, which is delightful, with a four-poster bed and a seven-foot-tall wardrobe. We went for a walk along the KATY Trail, a 190-mile rails-to trails path that took us between the bluffs – white cliffs with caves 40 feet above the ground – and the Missouri River.
There was another note in the journal. Seems we ate at a place in Rocheport call Le Bourgeois Bistro – "Excellent meal, great vegetarian dishes, 3 glasses of wine, bill was only $28," I wrote.
Ah, but that was 1996.


Brant said...

That building at the top looks a lot like some of the one-room schoolhouses like the ones my grandmother once taught in. I wonder if that could have been a previous use of the structure.

Park Burroughs said...

You're probably right. I called it a barn, but barns don't normally have windows. It was definitely a house, school house a good guess.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was a school house. I went there as a child. It closed around 1972. At that time there were only 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades taught there. 1, 2, & 3rd grades were toaught in the sae room, the 4th, 5th, @ 6th grades were taught in another. My father however went there also. (He would have been 84 years old.)