Below are the diary entries for September 25, 2012, with the newest entries added at the bottom. Also, check out today’s photos.
We didn’t get a very early start today, but it didn’t matter because we were going to make a little side trip to Hannibal, Mo. first. To be quite honest, it was a little disappointing. The interpretive center, which forms the introduction to the Mark Twain boyhood home and a couple of other sites that feature in “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” tries hard to make things interesting, but mostly succeeds at adding Mark Twain quotes to a very traditional type of display. The town itself badly needs a makeover, or at least an alternate route into the historic district. The way it is now, you pass a decrepit-looking trailer park, some storage facilities, houses that could do with a lick of paint and a warehouse that, despite its broken-down look actually seems to house some welding company or other. It didn’t help that the weather wasn’t any too cooperative, either.
From Hannibal we continued on our homeward journey, which was pretty uneventful. After crossing over the Illinois state line I noticed a sign “Barack Obama Highway” at the exit to East St. Louis. Since that is one of the most desperately poor cities in the nation, I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a compliment or not. We saw it too late to get a picture of it, but I assure you it was right there. Certainly the Paul Simon Freeway (I-55), named for the U.S. senator, not the singer, looked nicer. Just after the Effingham, Ill. cross we finally caught the rainstorm that had been threatening all day. Not much fun to drive in, but at least it washed some of the dust off the car. Indiana, for some reason, doesn’t think it should put up a “Welcome to Indiana” sign in the place where you’d expect it, which is more or less on the state line, so we didn’t get to snap a picture of it. But you know you're in Indiana when they refer to "Mitt & Mourdock" on a political sign, as if that's a natural combination. The “Welcome to Ohio” sign is badly out of focus, but put that down to being tired after a long day’s drive.
We ended up a little west of Columbus for the night. Just one more day of driving tomorrow and then we’ll be home!
We started out with a (3-hour) detour to Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's home town. This was one of the few stops that had looked interesting but we missed on the way out, because it is located 1½ hours North of St. Louis and we went South... Well, today turned out to be a cool, rainy day and although we did visit the Mark Twain boyhood home, it wasn't quite as interesting as I thought it would be. They had tried to "interpret" Mark Twain's youth in a novel way, but it felt way too distant for me. Although it was interesting to see how close to the Mississippi river Samuel Clements grew up, and to imagine him growing up in this town in the 1840s... The town itself looked pretty run down, had a feeling that it wouldn't be anything if it hadn't been for Twain.
After Hannibal we went back to the I-70, through St. Louis into Illinois, which we crossed, followed by Indiana, and into Ohio. There is not much to tell about that -- the weather wasn't too good (gray and cloudy almost all day, a couple of rain showers) and, to be quite honest, I wasn't that much interested in the countryside anymore. I'm getting to the point that I'm happy to just drive through, going home.