Sunday, September 4, 2011

Superman, Popeye and Hermann

This post was originally published on May 11, 2011

We have decided that it is always storming in Missouri! We drove through northern Missouri in 2009 and cut short a visit to Mark Twain's birthplace and museum in Hannibal because of predicted storms. Those storms did produce deadly tornadoes that afternoon in the community where we'd eaten lunch. On our way home that same year, we dodged horrible thunderstorms while trying to visit the state capital in Jefferson City. Fast forward to 2011 and it's the same story. But I'm way ahead of myself!

We left Clarksville yesterday morning headed to Hermann, Missouri some 350 miles away. As expected, we immediately began seeing warnings that our planned route through Cairo, IL, across the Ohio River and up the Great River Road (IL Hwy. 3) was not going to happen because of flooding. We elected to stay on Interstate 24 through Paducah, KY where we knew we could safely cross the Ohio. This change did allow a visit to
Metropolis, IL better known as the home of Superman. Before arriving at the world's tallest statue of Superman, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the horrendous flooding conditions that we saw. Although the flooding in this area began to subside over a week ago, these folks need our continued thoughts and prayers. Metropolis was severely flooded, many areas were still sandbagged and we saw several homes that had been inundated or at best, still required a boat for access. It was humbling and heartbreaking.

But alas, Superman was standing tall and proud in the town square. After enjoying the museum and memorabilia a.k.a. gift shop area, we moved on, but not before Bill had a great find. This town has decorated many of their buildings with elaborate murals and directly across from the Superman statue was a large mural honoring John Steele. He is the paratrooper whose parachute was caught on the spire of Saint Mere Eglise church in Normandy, France during the invasion. Turns out John Steele was born in Metropolis, IL. From his two trips to France with Variations, Bill recognized the church in the mural and couldn't wait to discover the connection. It was a really cool moment!

We were finally able to access the
Great River Road and head north to our next stop in Chester, IL. Once more, we were overwhelmed by the evidence of recent severe flooding. A few days earlier, we could not have gone this way.

Chester, IL is the birthplace of Popeye and all his cast of characters. Popeye and his friends were based on real people living in Chester. The first Popeye cartoons were seen here. The largest collection of Popeye memorabilia in the world is here. Statues honoring each character are found throughout the town. It was a fun way to rest our legs and spend an hour.

Leaving Chester, we continued on the Great River Road to just south of St. Louis and entered our fourth state (Missouri). We arrived in
Hermann, MO where we will be for three nights. We are staying in a very comfortable house in Hermann. After dinner and a long walk, we called it a very early night.

This post is long enough, so today's adventures will wait for tomorrow. Our internet connection in Hermann is painfully slow, so pictures will also have to wait.

Thanks for reading!!

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