Monday, June 2, 2014

Visitation Weekend Cakewalk

166. The Payne-Gentry House in Bridgeton, MO.

The Payne-Gentry House had a sign up sheet and a magic marker.  I wrote that it was our 165th cake (my mistake - it was actually our 166th) - not realizing until later that Gentry Sayad had signed to the right of me, with his zip code in the Central West End.  I can't fully explain why this is significant, although it has to do with how I invented The Simpsons and never got credit for it.

 167. Lambert St. Louis International Airport.  The cake on a busy travel day.

168. The cake at Chuck-a-Burger in St. Ann, MO.

169. Ferguson Citywalk, Ferguson, MO.  The cake is to the right, between the red bush and the caboose.

170. The Taille de Noyer House.

171. The Shrine of St. Ferdinand, Florissant, MO.  The cake is to the left, tucked into the corner between the church and the rectory.  It's light green.

172. Gen. Daniel Bissell House.

173. Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.

The parking lot at Old Chain of Rocks Bridge has been closed off to prevent all of the robberies and violent criminal assaults that were routinely occurring there.  (We weren't in the best part of town.  See next cake.)

174. This cake is located on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River at the site of Fort Belle Fontaine, a fort that was prominent during the War of 1812.  But to enter the County Park at Fort Belle Fontaine, you have to sign in with a security guard and provide your license plate.  Which seemed odd.

Karen drove us around and around the park site looking for this cake, in the pouring rain.  All the while she really had to pee.  We kept passing large stone structures with vans parked around them.  

"Just go in to one of these buildings and find a rest room!" I suggested.  (I had earlier told her not to go in the gas station we passed after exiting the highway, as the route to Fort Belle Fontaine does not go through the best part of town).

Well, she held it - because she didn't want to get soaked between the car and a stone building.

Then, after we found the cake and drove out, we asked the security guard what the deal was with all these stone buildings, vans, the controlled access, providing our license plate, etc.

"This is a Division of Youth Services camp," she said.  "It's for more serious offenders that can't be handled with regular Juvenile Detention."

As we drove off, Karen glared at me.  "So," she said, "You wouldn't let me go in the gas station, but you wanted me to go to the bathroom in a strange building at the violent offender prison camp, huh?"

The cake at Ft. Belle Fontaine.

The rain at Ft. Belle Fontaine.

175. Speaking of disasters, this is one of my favorite cakes!  The cake in West Alton, Missouri, a town built on the floodplains on the peninsula between the conflux of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River, is a disaster themed cake!  It commemorates the following ...

The Tornado of 2011.

The Great Flood of 1993.

... the Tornado of 1893, the Flood of 1927 ... and more!  Here's  the cake as viewed from a distance ... with ominous clouds approaching.

To get to the next set of cakes, we had to take a ferry that crosses both the Mississippi and the Illinois Rivers, to get you from Missouri to Illinois.

To the left of the grove of trees is the Mississippi River, which begins in Minnesota and ends in the gulf of Mexico.  To the right of the grove of tees is the Illinois River, which begins in Chicago and ends right here - the confluence of the two, and the location of the ferry crossing.

176. But before we crossed over, we visited a really cool site to get cake #176.  Our Lady of the Rivers, who sits overlooking the Mighty Mississippi in Portage des Sioux, Missouri.

The map shows where we were ("You are here"), a bit downstream from the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers at Grafton, Illinois, and a few miles upstream of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers near Alton, Illinois.

And this plaque commemorates the colonial history of the area, which began with the explorations of the Jesuit fathers  Marquette and Jolliet in 1673.

Karen by the cake at Our Lady of the Rivers.  She's smiling because the cake is dog themed, for some reason.  It was also the first cake we found that was chained down, to discourage the Portage des Sioux hooligans from carrying it off, no doubt.

177. By far the cake in the most beautiful setting is the cake at Aerie's Riverview Winery, on the bluffs high above the Mississippi in Grafton, IL.

While having lunch at the winery, we calmly watched a huge downpour roll across the floodplain, heading toward us.

... by the time it hit, this motorcyclist pulled his bike under the deck by the cake (left) to avoid the torrential downpour.

178. Pere Marquette Park Lodge.

179. On the shore of the Illinois River in Hardin, Illinois.

180. Cannon, cake, courthouse - Jerseyville, Illinois.

The weather is fine above the Catholic Church in Jerseyville!

But storm clouds build over the Protestant church in Jerseyville!

Detail from the interior of St. Francis Xavier Church, Jerseyville, IL.

St. Francis Xavier, Jerseyville.

181. The cake that's placed by the statue of the Alton Giant.  Robert Wadlow from Alton, Illinois, died in 1940 at the height of 9 feet.  I am standing beside the statue of Wadlow, which is built to scale.  He was actually this big.

In the Alton Giant's chair.

182. National Great Rivers Museum.

183. Confluence Tower, near Hartford, Illinois.  Built to overlook the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  The cake is in the foreground.

The confluence as viewed from the top of the tower.  Missouri River to the back, Mississippi River to the front.

Downtown St. Louis as viewed from the Confluence Tower.  You can see a sideways view of the Gateway Arch, which looks like a pencil, at the far left.  The arch like structure to the right of that is simply a support for the new bridge.  Look further right and you'll see another bridge support.  To the right of that is the dome where the St. Louis Rams play.

184. The Lewis and Clark Museum cake - which we got to right after the museum closed.  Here's a shot of it through the locked door.

185. Cake on the campus of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

186. Alton Welcome Center.  Karen's mad at me that I didn't zoom in, but this makes a better picture.  It gives you a real feel of what Alton, IL is like.  The cake is in the center of the building behind the cars. It's to the right of the far left window, light blue.

187. Lincoln Douglas Debate statues, Alton.  Douglas is to the left of the cake, a young Abe Lincoln to the right.

188. Alton City Hall - which was locked.  But I got this through the front window.

189. The Piasa Bird - a reproduction of a strange totem animal that the settlers discovered, which had been painted on a limestone river bluff.  The original was created perhaps between 900 - 1200 A.D.

A view from the Ferry.  You don't need Florida.  You don't need the Caribbean.  You don't need the South Pacific.  You just need the muddy Mississippi and a sandbar.


Jamie Adams said...

Thank you for continuing this journey. I am really enjoying seeing all these cakes!

Anonymous said...

Love these posts Kevin! I would love to visit SOME of these places myself.

Speaking of bad parts of town, did you know that the "69th Street Bridge" scenes in the movie "Escape From New York" were actually filmed on the Chain of Rocks Bridge? Guess it still has the same urban hellhole quality that appealed to John Carpenter back in the day...