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Sun Oct 11, 2020, 04:55 PM

Missouri Road Trip - Scenic Drives, Yard Signs And Money (And The Lack Thereof)

Last edited Sun Oct 11, 2020, 06:43 PM - Edit history (4)

So, Better Half and I just got back from a short vacation - a couple of nights out of town and a long day biking along the KATY Trail in east-central Missouri.

Outward bound, the farther east we went, the Trumpier things got. Even in areas like Jefferson City, where there were some Biden/Harris signs (and even a big billboard), Trump/Pence signs squatted on yard after yard and (less commonly) in front of businesses like so many cardboard turds. Where things got a little more interesting was in the the turn north from US 50 to pick up the road to Washington, MO, where we'd be staying.

MO 89 runs north to the river, up through hilly timber country and down to the flood plain, through little crossroad towns we'd never been to - or heard of: Chamois, Gasconade, Morrison, Aud (we gave Aud a miss - the only way out to the north was by USFS logging road). And lo! How the Trump signs did bloom! Little yard signs, multiple flags, big-ass 4' by 6' placards, hay bales, you name it. Some of these towns, with maybe 40 or 50 houses, had signs/flags/placards or all of the above in front of at least half of them. And so it went heading east, parallel to the Missouri, to Hermann and beyond.

If you're not familiar with our state, Hermann and New Haven and Washington (west to east along the river) are something of a tourist bubble. It's still mostly farm country, but lots of vineyards and an area that since the 1980s has been the epicenter of a growing tourism zone. Lots of visitors from in- and out-state, event spaces, wedding halls, you get the drift. It was around here that the first Biden Harris signs began to materialize, and really began to proliferate by the time we got to New Haven and then Washington.

And that's when it struck me. Washington is only about 50 miles from suburban St. Louis, and it might as well be another country compared to two counties over. Driving into Washington from the west there were suddenly factories and warehouses and business parks, instead of peeling-paint two-pump gas stations and co-op feed stores and grain elevators. It's the extreme outer edge of the St. Louis metro and an entire world away from the hardscrabble country just west. Whatever the reason they've stayed in Gasconade or Chamois or Aud, whether by choice or not, the residents of these fading towns know that there's another world out there. It's on TV, it's on their phones and it's only an hour away by car.

And that's where Donald Trump comes in handy. I suspect that he is, to many in the flag and placard zone, a cry of defiance against those who would "destroy their way of life", though the destruction of that way of life has been under way for 50 years or more as cities get richer and the country gets poorer. Since Trump is void and without meaning of any kind, he functions as a kind of sock puppet of meaning for those in search of symbols. Insert a hand, clenched with rage. Wrap him around your foot and start kicking. Does he contradict himself? Very well, then he contradicts himself. He is bloated. He contains multitudes of meaninglessness.

"Two Americas." Precisely.

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Reply Missouri Road Trip - Scenic Drives, Yard Signs And Money (And The Lack Thereof) (Original post)
hatrack Oct 11 OP
Atticus Oct 11 #1
hatrack Oct 11 #2
ret5hd Oct 11 #3
hatrack Oct 11 #5
keithbvadu2 Oct 11 #4

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun Oct 11, 2020, 05:06 PM

1. Lived in Gasconade County for just over a year many years ago and FLED. nt

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Response to Atticus (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 11, 2020, 05:08 PM

2. Yeah . . . beautiful place, but could I live there? Nah.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun Oct 11, 2020, 06:00 PM

3. OT question: Are the leaves turning yet?

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 11, 2020, 06:26 PM

5. Just starting to turn, and beautiful!

Peak won't be for another couple of weeks, but it was weirdly perfect weather for biking - highs in the 80s, lows in the 50s at night.

On Better Half's advice, if you're planning an excursion - plenty of early drops under way (walnuts) so peak might be a week to ten days by my scientifically uninformed guesstimate . . but just lovely variety at the moment.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun Oct 11, 2020, 06:22 PM

4. More people voted for Hillary. Trumpsters boasted that more acreage voted for Donald.

More people voted for Hillary.

Trumpsters boasted that more acreage voted for Donald.

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