Day 33: Four State Combo (MO, IL, KY & TN)

The day was spent in this odd little intersection of four states.  Small towns & very little actual picture-taking.  There were destinations here and there that I’ve wanted to see for years — so, done.  The first half of the day we were under a completely grey sky so just as well that we were in Nowhere-Land and the shooting volume was low.  Shooting should be more active now that we’re entrenched in Illinois for probably a couple more days. I’ve decided to focus my efforts here and do some Indiana if there’s time.

Running very late here.  Finishing this up in the AM as the sun is coming up on the horizon.  So let’s dive in.  A couple from Caruthersville, MO.  These freestanding letters appear to be porcelain enamel.  Never seen such a thing — usually these are stainless steel:

And another thing new to me — a small square Rx sign.  It’s installed on the side of the building and makes me wonder if it wasn’t part of a larger sign.  A neat plastic under-canopy sign as well — also odd to be on the side of a building. No entrance there.  There’s also an old blue oval Rexall sign at this drug store.

This neon “extension” fishie is installed on top of the White’s Landing sign in Tiptonville, TN which is right on/near Reelfoot Lake.

While the dogs were playing at that lake, we were approached in the distance by three curious local dogs (obviously residents, not feral).  Grem, a fraction of their size, saw them and chased and terrified them for a bit.  The three locals came back about five minutes later but watched us from afar.

I’m glad that we have finally crossed the Mississippi River for the last time.  It’s been hell the past few days with this winding route taking us back and forth over it.  Nik has been screaming his brains out whenever he sees it.  But with the speed that it’s moving, I’ve been refusing to indulge him.  Sticking to smaller streams and lakes.

In Mayfield, KY, I noticed this group of statues in a cemetery from an overpass and had to spin back to investigate it.  I’m glad even the dogs got recognition.  Here’s a bit about this place:

Cairo, IL is one depressing town. A few nice neon signs and a great armory amidst the abandoned rubble.  The buildings must have been spectacular at one time.  Here’s a bit about the place:
Here’s a bit of the monumental chaos:

From Cape Girardeau, MO.  A nice embossed plastic sign and a three part bulb arrow.  Never seen such an arrow.

From a strip club in East Cape Girardeau, IL (though according to Google, this could be McClure, IL).  I had to do a big U-turn for this one — two bizzaro vehicles.  Tacky but captivating:

One more vehicle.  A delivery truck in Anna, IL at the Home of Bunny Bread.  They also had white Astro vans just like Sparkle with the Bunny logos on them.

Let’s wrap it up with a sign from Metropolis, IL (no, didn’t buy any – they were closed for the day):

14 thoughts on “Day 33: Four State Combo (MO, IL, KY & TN)

  1. I am so jealous that you visited Cairo. My parents gave me a strict warning and made me promise never to visit there when I was a college girl in Champaign in the early 70s. In fact, all the parents of college girls back then gave similar warnings. Which of course made us all fascinated, we wanted to go there even more. I don’t think we girls were enlightened enough to know the full story of Cairo. But our parents’ concerns were warranted: It was a city of extreme racial tension and violence, notorious and dangerous.

    When I was a bit older, in 1978, I drove by myself to New Orleans. On the way home, I got off the freeway and drove through downtown Cairo. Her era of violence had passed. All the buildings seemed deserted, even then. The visual I have in my head was bright sun, relentless on blocks of whitewashed abandoned storefronts, every detail painted over white. Not a soul in sight. I drove down the main streets, but never shot a photo, never stepped out of the car. I believe the town was quite haunted. As they say, Cairo destroyed itself with hatred. You could feel the wrongness in the air.

    To this day, I still dream of visiting Cairo.

    • Ah — this is all very interesting. I went there completely blind — no info at all. Just some signs and the Armory to shoot. But right away, gee, where are all the people? Like a ghost town. And Commercial Street — all those former businesses — storefronts completely exposed with no glass. Wow! Like after an atomic bomb or something. Shocking and fascinating. Beautiful in an abandoned, sad way. I didn’t notice much whitewashing or poverty. Just like everybody said “let’s get the hell out of here”!

      I had a somewhat similar experience in Coffeyville, KS on this trip. I took the photos that were on my list — then went hunting for a gas station sign that I never did find but tried and tried and discovered a huge portion of the city just entirely concrete slabs. Think Katrina aftermath. I don’t know what happened there — flood, fire, tornado? but I got the feeling something major and haven’t had time to google to find out. It was weird though — no people anywhere — just crickets and birds — trees still there.

  2. Well, the weather in SF has returned to the usual: Windy,grey/white skies in the morning into late afternoon, mid 50s-mid 60s temps. So like I said, I do love blue sky with PFC (Puffy White Clouds). A rare thing here.

    Didn’t know how much a “rare bird” (pun intended) the Kentuck Fried Chicken buckets were. Hope the remaing stores will see their value & keep them. Nice shot.
    LOVE: Skyview Drive-in sign & the 1st National Bank sign.
    Boy, after seeing the mobile piggy vehicles, it shows just how subdued Pinkie the Bike Chick’s color was. Wow, those piggies is BRIGHT PINK.
    Did the kids see or react to the alien trio on the other vehicle?

    Oh, yeah I also love the Ski Soda graphics on the sign. Reminds me of a soda that was available when I was a kid in Chicago only as a fountain drink.It is called Green River, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is being bottled again . I got a couple at BEVMO which is a California chain of liquor stores that also carry hard to find sodas , including another Chicago favorite, Berghoff Root Beer.
    Anyway, according the this article, you may be able to find it in stores in Illinois if you want to try it:

    Continued luck to blue skies and plenty of Fantastik.

    • Much nicer here today, too. We seem to be having national weather patterns lately. And loads of blue & blue w/white skies today. Marvelous. The modern KFC buckets are just an ugly silhouette of the Colonel’s face — no detail or color. You should check out the one in San Jose though — it’s fantastic & the only one left of its type. It seems bigger to me than the other oldies also.

      The strip joint thing kinda creeped me out. But I had to stop for the pigs. Tacky as they are. I didn’t park in such a way that the kids saw the Aliens. But I’m sure it would’ve gotten them all going. Grippie is the only one that recognizes Muffler Men as giant people. She barks her head off and everyone else looks around quizically for something, what, what? Grippie also recognizes photos on sides of buses as people. And I think even silhouettes of people’s bodies. She’s a freaking genius and can probably read.

      One super sweet beverage is enough for me. I’m sticking with DC and coffee for the duration of the trip now. Unless maybe I happen upon a goddam Steak & Shake between 2 and 4 on weekdays. I made the error of discovering that they have a Happy Hour on shakes then — $1.61 — Jesus, who can resist that?

    • The super southern part is pretty blightly. But above that, south of Springfield, there’s actually some nice cities and great things to shoot. Hopefully, I’ll be able to demonstrate that tonight once I get my photos up to Flickr & the blog.

      • Ah — in case you didn’t know — I upload photos every night to BOTH Flickr & the blog on these trips. Different photos. The photos for Flickr are the purty ones — the ones here at that blog are the lesser subjects. Stuff that probably won’t rate the website. I probably take about 1,000 photos per week on these trips that will go to the site (and only a couple hundred go to Flickr & blog). Hopefully, everything will be up by spring at the site.

  3. DJ, I forgot to ask if you can read what’s under the LUMBER on the 3 arrow lumber guy sign? Is it open as a lumber yard?AAAAARRRGGGHHH.
    About Steak ‘n Shake: Since CA isn’t one of the 20 states they are in, I looked them up. Weekdays, from 2-4 PM & 2-4 AM for happy hour? Damn, if one at FULL price is only $3.22, THAT sounds like a BARGAIN TO ME! Plus, since they have 69 stores in Illinois & 70 in Indiana, you probably should be near one! You have NO EXCUSE not to get one, I won’t allow it. You must have one & report on it! Am I right, or am I right ,or am I right??

    Last time I’m gonna preach about MSI Chicago. Here’s a link to the Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. It’s a tour of the doll house, room by room. The text for each room is taken from the audio tour spoken by Colleen Moore at the museum. There is no audio on the website. The history & details of the building of this is facinating. You will enjoy it!

    I shall not nag you again. Hope you find more blue skies & a Shake.

    • I could not figure the lettering on the lumber sign either.
      Ah, but I’ve had TWO shakes at SnS on this trip. The peach and the coffee. Both superb. I had them both at vintage locations (Springfield & St. Louis) so I felt obligated to show my support. Now that it’s cooled off and there will be only the big ugly stores, I’m going to try to behave. But I also haven’t tried the banana yet…. The 1/2 price yes was $1.61!
      Ah, Fairy Castle is a doll house — not quite what I was hoping for. There’s SO much in Chicago to shoot/reshoot that unless the weather’s crappy, I doubt I’ll be venturing inside.

  4. “Bunny Bread, That’s What Ah Said!” (saw this slogan on a vintage BB sign at a Cracker Barrel – I would love to find a reproduction). Love the BB truck!

    Re Cairo – I drove through there in the mid-seventies, and again in the mid-nineties. Same depressing feeling both times – I’ve never encountered another town that made me feel that way.

    • I guess it was somewhat depressing. Fascinating is more the word I would use. Have you been through Coffeyville, KS? (see my comment to Gale’s comment here at this post)

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