Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Meet me in St Louis, Louis! (But Head-On?)

Historic Route 66 Marker, Gray Summit, Mo.
From Ft Leonard Wood we headed up I-44 to Gray Summit, where we picked up Missouri Route 100 into the Balwin/Manchester area known as "west county".  These routes directly replaced US Route 66, a fact which is now commemorated.  Twenty to thirty years ago the Interstate Highway Commission was doing everything it could to remove all references to old highways replaced with Interstates, so it's really nice now to see that reversed by States and local communities .

15130 Chamisal Dr., Manchester, Mo.
Today we took these routes to find the home my parents owned during a brief stop in the St. Louis area in the early 1970s.  Their time here closely coincided with my time at Ft. Leonard Wood, so I spent many weekends here. 

Navigating the West County area can be quite confusing as the area was not laid out in the same land-grant grid as rural Missouri.  Instead, the roads were laid from town to town, and in West County there are many small towns such as Ballwin, Manchester, Ellisville, Clayton, and Chesterfield, that years ago grew together. 

Head-On Collision?
We had the address of my parents old home, but were not successful looking it up with our Garmin Nuvi GPS.  We remembered it as being in Ballwin.  Turned out the Garmin has that address registered in Manchester. Our Garmin guides us with a female voice, and we refer to her as Gertrude!  We don't think it to be our imagination that her voice gets more and more tense and frustrated with any wrong turns, and even more so with several wrong turns in a row.  "Make a U-Turn", "Turn Left!", Turn Right!". "In 1/8th of a Mile MAKE a U-TURN!"  Well we and the West County roads got Gurtrude so upset and confused that this on-screen contradiction is what happened!  (see photo of display!)  We nearly wrecked we were laughing so hard.

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