Ø 11 November (Veterans Day) – Jefferson City, Saint Louis and home (Monday)
Additional pictures for this posting can be found here.
A few times through the course of the night, I peeked out the window of my Springfield, Missouri hotel window to check if here had been changes to the weather. Other than a damp parking lot, nothing seemed to be happening. I was up and out of the hotel at 8, and on my way in lightly spitting rain to Jefferson City. At 140 miles, I expected it to take two and a half hours. Well, the trailing weather gradually dropped the temperatures from 34 to 28, and the spitting rain changed to tiny ice pellets, however there was little road accumulation.
Pulling off the highway into #JeffersonCity, maybe a half inch had accumulated by 10:30, and plows were out on the Interstate. Dipping up and down the hills of the Missouri state capitol, I espied the capitol dome, all shroud in canvas, indicating renovation work in process. With blustery winds and snow, I decided seeing the building was sufficient, and I continued towards the Cathedral of St Joseph. Set at the top of a rise slightly outside downtown, I pulled into a near empty parking lot, fearing that the building would be closed.
Protecting the lens so any shots would not have drops, I took a few pictures of the outsides from a couple of angles, and then gingerly walked across the concrete paving. The building is a low, two-story round structure with triangular peaks running around the roof line.
Achieving the southwest-facing front doors without mishap, I tried the center doors which opened! Inside, no light other than natural light coming though the stained glass in the peaks, and a small opening in the center of the nave ceiling. The altar sat against the solid far northeastern wall, continuing the triangular patterns of the stained-glass windows. Four ranks of aisle-separated dark wooden pews focus on the sanctuary. The U-shaped wooden cathedra under a diocesan shield is to the left of the smaller altar against the back stone-faced wall, under a crucified Christ.
The abstractly-designed tabernacle and the Paschal candle are off to the left of the main altar, near the separate daily chapel. The pipe organ is on the opposite side. With little in the way of good light, and no tripod, I decided I’d better get back on the road. Heading back on Main Street, I was able to get to the Interstate and continue my westward journey. At times a little hairy, particularly when a semi would decide that the 70mph speed limit most of the traffic and I were maintaining was insufficient, I drove the 125 miles back with white knuckles and leaving lots of distance where I could. I realized that since I left New York, I’d been in snow only once before in 30 years. Fortunately, those driving skills returned, albeit with a lot more wisdom, caution and experience.
When I was about 5 miles from the airport and the Avis/Budget drop off, I pulled off to gas up, and to have a meal. Everything was chains and strip malls, so I chanced on Smashburger, ordering a double turkey special with swiss and a side of Brussel sprouts. While the “burger” was two overcooked thin patties, the sprouts were decidedly great – roasted and seasoned perfectly. On leaving, I hit the BP station and filled the car up for a last time, and got back on the Interstate for two more exits. After driving past the airport access, the rental car drop was 250 yards. Eleven hundred fifty miles, about what I expected.
After a five-minute wait in the open-air pick-up point with blustery snow flying everywhere, the shuttle took a dozen of us to the airport drop-off. With no boarding pass, I used the kiosk to generate one, with the help of an attendant. (The machine didn’t like my credit card.) She suggested I might want to opt for standby on the flight in 3 hours, rather than wait for my flight in 5, at a cost of $75, and I deferred. Downstairs, through TSA, I found a seat and kept looking out the windows. Snow was coming down faster, and the temperature had dropped to 24. Deciding to chance standby (my connection was 46 minutes), I began looking for a Customer Service counter, only to realize I had to go outside the “sterile zone”. I tried calling, but there was an hour wait to speak to an agent. So I did it online on my phone.
About a half hour before the scheduled departure time of 4:14, I was called and given a boarding pass. I boarded at 4, and then the plane sat at the gate for a half hour. We pushed back and sat on the tarmac, awaiting our turn at de-icing, which took 45 minutes. A bit more of a wait to get taxied up and off, it was 5:30 for liftoff. A bumpy, short ride to Charlotte, there wasn’t time to hand off treats to the crew.
Once on the ground and in the terminal at 8pm (back to Eastern time zone), I slowly walked from the middle of the C concourse to the end of the D concourse. My flight would leave at 10:09, and I had plenty of time. No really hungry, I decided a beer would suit me, so I got a pint of red ale for nearly $11 and spent some time with the Internet on my phone. My seat was in the very last row of the plane, with another couple from Venice, but there were empty seats in the rear. They opted for seats that reclined, but I pretty much stayed where I was. I shared the family-sized bag of M&M Dark Chocolate Peanuts with the crew, as I couldn’t find the Nutty Bits, and all four made a point of thanking me - and they kept the bag.
In Sarasota, I was last off the plane, and Nancy was sitting outside the door waiting for me. I guess I had nervous energy, as I did most of the talking on the way home – usually she had the task of keeping me awake. An uneventful ride, I actually emptied my bag into the washer (but didn’t run it) before I crashed. A successful trip, I had pictures of 14 more cathedrals for Volume II, filling in a gap in the center of the country. I also knew that when I make another road trip, I should do it before the clocks change to ensure a bit more daylight at the end of my days, as well as probably avoid the white stuff.
Google album of pictures of Jefferson City and flying home