Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 063 - St Elmo to Vandalia IL

Another mostly sunny day. Temps were in the 60's and 70's.

Sally Miller walked the first two miles with me. We left from what the locals call "the greenhouse"". Between St Elmo and Brownstown there were a number of functioning oil wells.

Five levees within eight miles of Vandalia have failed because of the recent flooding. I saw an 18 inch carp swimming rapidly in one of the foul smelling lagoons that should be a farmer's grain field. A woman who positioned me and my car two days ago told me that when she was a youngster and there was flooding like this her parents would send her and her siblings to gather up all the trapped fish. They would then have a huge fish fry.

I thought the US 40 picture would be a piece of cake. How hard could it be to take a picture of another Madonna of the Trail Statue on the grounds of the former Illinois capital building in Vandalia. As I looked at the picture I realized that it was taken looking down at the Madonna from above. The only way to do this was from the old rusty fire escape attached to the building diagonally across the street. Another vertigo inducing photo shoot. I talked to the owner Donelle Conaway of Something Special Florist and Boutique who gave me permission to climb the fire escape. They had documentation that said the building had been built in 1879. They thought it might be older. The fire escape must be at least 60 years old. I saw pictures of the building in the 1880's that did not have the fire escape. The biggest difference in the picture is that the DAR has gone to all of the Madonna's and stained them back to their original bronze color.

I visited the National Road Interpretive Center. Mary Truitt President of the National Road Association of Illinois gave us a private tour which was very interesting. Next we went to the former Illinois Capital Building. The guide Sam gave us a really interesting history of the building.

Thanks to Andres David Lopez of Columbia News Service for the article he wrote which was posted to the blog.

Trivia answer:

The sign is an Illinois mile marker. The top number is the route number (US Route 40). The name in the middle is the county (Fayette). The bottom number is the number of miles from the county border (26). The mile marker was just east of St Elmo.

It is standard in the US to measure the distances into a county (US Routes) or into a state (Interstate routes) from the western end on highways that run east and west (even numbered highways) or from the southern end on highways that run north and south (odd numbered highways). As a memory aid I think of San Diego, California being the zero / zero milepost.

If you know the mile marker where you are, the mile marker of your destination, and the speed that you are traveling it is an easy calculation to determine the time you will arrive at your destination regardless of your mode of transportation.

I have used mile markers throughout the walk to calculate when I will finish the day's walk, arrive at a town, meet someone, etc.

Trivia Questions:

1) By walking thru Vandalia I have walked the entire national Road from mile post zero in Cumberland MD on March, 19. How many miles long is the National Road?

2) I walked thru Brownstown today. Name all the towns with "Brown" in the name that I have walked thru?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave! You really took me back with today's post. When I was traveling back and forth to college on the Martz bus, I would sometimes check my watch to see how long it took the bus to go from one mile marker to the next on the Pa. Tpk. I would calculate the speed of the bus and know if I was likely to reach my destination on time. I am really enjoying your blog. Happy trails!