Monday, November 10, 2008

Still out on the Mother Road

Greetings from the Ozarks. Yes, I'm still in Missouri today, traveling along that great old Route 66 and talking to people. I'll be making a stop in St. Clair at the historical museum there.

Later in the day, I'll be up at the Route 66 State Park located at the former site of the town of Times Beach. The fascinating story of Times Beach dates back to the post-Vietnam era, when the local dirt roads were sprayed with oil to keep the dust down. It was later found that the oil was actually contaminated with Dioxin, the main ingredient of the defoliant known as Agent Orange. According to the website Legends of America,
"in 1985, [Times Beach's] entire population of more than 2,000 residents had been evacuated, with the exception of one elderly couple who refused to leave, and the town was disincorporated by executive order of the Missouri Governor. The entire site was quarantined as residents moved on to other areas. But for the residents who moved, the scare was not over, as they continue to worry about the contamination effects on their long term health. Furthermore, with the wide press coverage at the time, the former Times Beach residents were shunned by their new neighbors, who feared the contamination."
Today, the cleaned-up site of this former resort community is home to Route 66 State Park. There are excellent opportunities to picnic, exercise, birdwatch or study nature. The park area abounds with more than 40 types of birds and a diverse set of trees, plants and animals. Picnic sites are scattered beneath the shade trees. Level walking, bicycling and equestrian trails throughout the park are perfect for beginning bicycle riders and health-conscious visitors.

I should be back home this evening providing the weather holds out. It's supposed to get a bit stormy later in the day so hopefully that won't affect flights.

No comments: