Day 35: Quickies from Missouri

I was able to get some photos in Missouri and still get us lined up decently for Cincinnati tomorrow.  I drove about 400 miles from Lawrence, KS to Mt. Vernon, IL today, not including driving around Kansas City and Columbia.   I’ve driven just under 15,000 miles so far on this trip.  And Sparkle’s rear tires are looking pretty worn.  I will probably kill a few hours tomorrow morning taking care of that.

It’s nice to see green trees again and naturally occurring green grass.  I found some slow moving rivers for the dogs to cool off in.  Nik lost two toys yesterday in the Arkansas River.  Due to his impending blindness, he can’t tell little blippy water movement from his toys.  Although I can direct him left/right, back/come, he still gets mightily confused.  I hope he’ll still be safe to swim for this summer at least.  He loves it so much — it’s heartbreaking.  But I don’t want to risk him in big lakes and such when I can’t swim to dive in and save him if he gets to far away and can’t hear me.  Meanwhile, Grippie, although completely blind, has nearly perfected jumping in and out of the van on her own.  I help her a little just to keep her straight — but she’s pretty proud of herself.

On with the photos — from Kansas City:


I don’t know what this building was originally.  I see on-line references to 3200 Troost as the Jewel Box Lounge, the Southside Bus Station, and the Skaggs drug store:


Obviously an updated sign — with the neon still on during the day:


I knew when I spotted this one that it just had to be a Standard Oil gas station — although ever so slightly different — smaller building and the peaked detail above the door not as tall:

The woman manning the store showed me a vintage photo inside of what it looked like when it was built in 1930/1931.  Kinda blurry — but there are Standard Oil letters over on the left — and there’s a red crown (instead of a torch) over the doorway that’s covered up now:


One of the highlights of my day — maybe even the whole trip — was seeing this former Ramada Inn sign reassembled again.  Mostly reassembled — he still doesn’t have his bugling arm with the Ramada Inn banner on yet — but it’s coming soon.  And I believe the neon will be restored, too.  I’m not great with estimating distance — but I’d say this sign is at least 20 feet tall.  I never got to see it when it was on display — but I witnessed it laying in a pile in the parking lot for years.  More and more neon being broken by vandals.  Until one day, it just disappeared.  Eventually, I figured out who had it — a private collector in Owensville, MO.  He also has the White Castle which was in Orient, OH.  Anyhow, for more photos and info about this sign, see towards the bottom of this page:

Although the owner was down in West Virginia, he gave me directions and let me go see this sign in his “yard”.  If you can call it that.  He’s got a ferris wheel, a Pullman train car that supposedly belonged to Rudolph Valentino — and loads of other stuff that he’s got in storage while he builds a “barn” to display it all in.  Not a museum — just for friends, family, and Boy Scouts.


Okay folks.  Check this one off my list.  This place in Rolla has won awards and is pretty famous.  I may have even had a slice here before, years ago:


I figured I’d better get two slices so I could sample both the fruit AND the cream pies.  This is the peach pie just before removal of my “half slice” (which is huge):


And a half slice of the Tahitian Cream pie (pineapple, banana and coconut).  They graciously put it on a real plate for me so I could shoot it before it wound up in the ugly styrofoam container:

I had about half of the half-slice of the Tahitian.  I had not eaten since 10 am in preparation for this event.  I was so full from it that even at 1 am now, I’m not the least bit hungry.  The sugar may have given me an extra kick since I’ve won this round with the interstate tonight and am getting this post out before bed.

On to today’s final stop — Bob’s Gasoline Alley in Cuba.   This was today’s second “mystery date” where I had to make arrangements with a real live person.  It’s another private collection but this one can be visited by anyone who makes an appointment.  Very visible from I-44 with the signs and exotic animals (emus, donkeys, turkeys and such).   There might be better articles out there about the place — but here’s this quick grab:

Yes, lots of gas station signs and pumps outside:


But then, there are two (or was it three?), two-story buildings brimming with stuff.  All kinds of collections.  Cookie jars, toys, clocks, on and on.  Themometers:


A nice old Pepsi machine:


Signs — mostly the tin type — though some neon:


And I think I liked this section best of all.   Pedal cars and John Deere tractor toys:


On to Cincinnati tomorrow.  I’ve got lots to shoot — and then of course the American Sign Museum “thing”.  Are you coming?



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