The First Annual Nova List Gathering
The Journey to St. Louis
Part 3
(click on any image to see a larger version)

So I made it to Missouri. Great.  C'mon, where's St. Louis?  Driving, driving, driving.... Geez, there were something like 8-10 fireworks stands within 15 miles of the Iowa/Missouri border.  Somehow I withstood the temptation and kept on going.

Hey, made it to Colonel Potter's hometown!
Okay, so it's not an official city sign, but I never saw any, and believe me, I looked!  Cute town, not too small, either, but holy cripes do they have some sloooooow speed limits! First you have to slow down to 55, then 45, then 35, and I think even down to 30 mph as you pass through "downtown" Hannibal.  Then 35, 45, 55, and finally 60 (or was it 65?) as you leave.  Annoying.  It's not easy to drive 65-70 mph for several hours and then slow down to 35!

While driving through Hannibal, I saw this Anglia in a motel parking lot.  Cool car, even if it is both a Ford and an import!

A ways past Hannibal, things started getting ugly. My car was fine and traffic was fine, but the sky wasn't looking too good. I pulled off the highway to think what to do.  I'm not afraid of a little rain, but this storm looked like it was packin' more than a sprinkle, and besides, I had just spent several hours cleaning up my car the day before!  This is what the sky looked like looking south from Bowling Green, MO towards St. Louis.  The pictures show the view from southwest to southeast, but there were 180 degrees of nasty looking clouds.
I wasn't real happy about it.  I had heard before I left home that morning that there were some strong storms in Missouri, but I had hoped they'd be through by the time I got there.  I figured since they were heading east and I was heading south into St. Louis, maybe I could drive towards the southwest and get behind the storm.  I gave it a shot by turning right at the stopsign shown above and following some county roads.

Oh, shit, I think I might have made a wrong turn somewhere!  But it didn't seem to take all that long...  Hmmm, I kept driving, trying to get behind the storm. The above picture was taken pointing north and you can see the nice sky I was trying to keep with me, but as the next pictures show, things weren't looking so good.  This is heading back south on a country road, looking to intersect Interstate 70 somewhere west of St. Louis.
And a little further down the road... 
I gave up.  Rain, ready or not, here I come!

It was ready for me.  Unfortunately, my windshield wipers decided they weren't ready for the rain and stopped working 5 minutes into the storm.  Great.  Well, I had a new windshield installed the prior Monday and whatever coating that comes on it was still there and was helping the rain to bead up somewhat, enough to drive, at least.

It was about an hour drive like this into the city of St. Louis.  No big deal,except the stop-and-go traffic thanks to another gawker slowdown thanks to the driver of the rolled over semi in the westbound lanes.
About the time I got to the outskirts of St. Louis I tried my wipers again.  They worked!!  Cool, I'm good to go, which is nice because it was really starting to rain hard!  Here I am about to cross over the Missouri river.

This is where things went bad, in fact they were so bad there are no pictures.  My wipers quit after about 10 minutes of operation.  No rhyme nor reason.  Still haven't figured it out, actually.  The last time they quit I still had that film on the window so the water beaded up some, no such luck now.  The 10 minutes of operation must have wiped that film off so it was just a sheet of water all over my windshield, couldn't see a damn thing, and now the REAL rain started!  Man, it was absolutely pouring!

I had my window rolled down, poking my head out to see where I was going, getting blasted with rain so I couldn't see anyway, my windows were fogging up...  It was horrible.  To make it all that much worse, I hadn't been to St. Louis in 9 years, I didn't really know where I was or where I was going, and the road has six lanes in each direction and lots of traffic.  I'm going slowly down the shoulder, but there are entrance ramps and exit ramps every half-mile, and I still have about 25 miles to go!

A couple more miles of this hell and I pulled over to see if I had anything I could apply to the windshield to make it any better.  No Rain-X (which I always use, but hadn't yet applied to my new windshield), all I had was car wax.  I've heard car wax works a lot like Rain-X, but have you ever tried applying wax in a major thunderstorm?  Don't bother, it doesn't work.

I turned on my defroster, opened my passenger's side window, and drove while peeking through a tiny portion of my windshield that the wipers can't reach (and therefore the water was still beading up pretty well).  I drove (slowly) that way for the last 15-20 miles to the motel.  Wow, did that suck!!
But I made it - accident free (barely!).

Let the Gathering begin!!!
Go to the Friday Night Happenings on the Next Page

Gathering Links...
The Trip to St. Louis:   Page 1   Page 2   Page 3
Friday Night in St. Louis:   Page 1
Saturday:   Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5
Sunday:   Page 1   Page 2
The Trip Home from St. Louis:   Page 1   Page 2

You are visitor number since 8/12/99. 1