Rolla, Missouri to Home

A feature of the 530+ mile hop from Grayson, KY to Rolla, MO was a stop at the Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville for a bottle of Kentucky Rye Whiskey which works as a carrot motivating the mule. Happy Hour, when the driving day was done, became: Giving Gratitude for Another Safe Day.

Driving south on I44, we arrived in St. James first were I had to settle for a picture of GO SARA parked at the municipal building as a long freight train raced through the town park behind me. Arrived in Rolla around 6:30p. and followed the signs to the business district where I found the historic courthouse on the other side of a historic wooden bridge over the railroad tracks also running through the center of this town. Found a popular place for dinner, the Tater Patch, where I had delicious fish tacos and a beer, but no conversation so no opportunity to tell someone, “Hey, I was born here…” but then I wasn’t.

warner blake imageHeader image: Historic Courthouse in Rolla, built between 1860 and 1868, noted for surviving the Civil War. Above: The sad town no longer had a hospital.

It’s confusing. St. James is listed as my birthplace on the certificate as it was the location of the hospital. However, the certificate lists Rolla as the “usual residence of the mother” which somehow became the preferred place to use filling out future forms. Dad was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, while Mom lived in Rolla at 1009 West 14th Street which is still standing and still just as small! In 1960, during the Cold War, I was also stationed in Fort Leonard Wood for training as a heavy equipment operator, bulldozers and such. (It’s another story.) During my parents’ visit while in captivity, we went looking for the hospital, pictured here, and it was being used for boarding horses.

So. I was born in St. James, MO.

. . .

Leaving Rolla on a Sunday morning in a steady rain, we followed State Route 54, a winding road through the Ozarks to the flat, straight shot of the Kansas prairies. A welcomed change from driving the tedious edge of the interstate. We spent the night at the Great Bend Super 8 which offered a handy coin-operated washer and dryer. On the road by 7a. on the 24th day of our trip in clean clothes, we reached Pueblo, CO by late afternoon and found the county courthouse for a picture marking the birthplace of our grandfather Howard Clare Blake in 1889. Then on to Cañon City where my great-grandfather William Smith-Warner lived with his first son, Paul, his wife, Alice, and where it seems he had a photography business in the Burrage Building.

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Historic Pueblo County Courthouse built in 1908-12.

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Historic Main Street of Cañon City.

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Portraits of Howard Clare and his father William Smith-Warner Blake, evidently produced by his photography studio in Cañon City, around 1890.

. . .

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Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado.

This is the last ghost-taken selfie of GO SARA on the trip as we were like the mule talked about earlier, we were intent on getting back to the barn. Consequently, we passed by many worthy scenic spots, especially in Oregon, around Baker City, where I had to leave my 1966 Volvo 122S for repair (don’t ask); and where you drop out of the Blue Mountains to follow the Columbia River into The Dalles where we spent the night. A record-breaking 647 miles — definitely time for a shot of Kentucky Rye from the Rabbit Hole.

Day 27, a Thursday, the last day of our trip was an easy but slow 284 miles home as we were sharing I5 with thousands of commuters — GO SARA, working her way to 8,247 miles, fit right in.