Stopping in Clermont

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5717Clermont, with its Citrus Tower and House of the Presidents, has been a stopping point since our family trip in 1960.

It was only logical that the Road Warriorettes Curator Jessica and Bike Partner Anne make a pit stop there on the final leg of our trip.

Built in 1955

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5663A handwritten note on the elevator wall gave some interesting stats. An elevator ride to the top cost us $6 a head. (If Miz Jessica had slouched a little more so she looked like my granddaughter, we could have gotten her the ride for the $4 kid rate, but she’s too honest. There was no senior discount, because EVERYBODY in Florida is a senior.)

A gazillion citrus trees

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5674When the Steinhoffs stood atop the tower in 1960, a sign proclaimed that we were looking out over a gazillion citrus trees, and the smell of orange blossoms washed over us.

When Post reporter Gayle Pallesen and I went up in the tower in 1990 when we were doing a story on U.S. 27 from Little Havana in Miami to Havana, Florida, in the Panhandle, we looked out over a gazillion dead trees killed by a series of disastrous cold fronts that moved through in the ’80s. The only smell was smoke from burning trees that had been bulldozed and piled up.

The landscape today is covered by gazillions of homes and businesses. There is no smell of orange blossoms.

With binoculars or a telephone lens, we could barely make out a square-shaped building on the horizon that we thought was the VAB at Cape Kennedy.

Mineola has been developed nicely

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5682That’s Lake Mineola to the west. A bike trail starting there ties in with the West Orange Trail that goes all the way to Apopka. The development along the lake has done a nice job of integrating the homes into the surrounding hills and making it a very bike / pedestrian / jogger-friendly area. I’d love to sit on one of their porches looking at the sun set over the lake in the evening.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

A little green left

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5678There’s still a little green left to the south. The highway is U.S. 27, which was once the main path to South Florida from the Midwest before I-95 and the Florida Turnpike were built.

The Penny Drop

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5688I told Curator Jessica that I’d spot her a penny to drop over the edge.

“I can’t do that, it might kill someone,” she protested. [She, obviously, hasn’t read the debunking of the penny-dropped-from-the-Empire-State-Building urban legend.)

She and Anne took turns dropping coins down a conduit that goes all the way to the base of the tower. With their ears to pipes on the side of the box, they could hear it spin and ding all the way down. It doesn’t take much to amuse them.

House of Presidents

Florida Citrus Tower 05-16-2014_5680Southwest of the tower is a large white building looking a little worse for the wear, which is to be expected, because it was here in 1960.

Its website calls it the The Presidents Hall of Fame, but the sign on the front of the building still says House of Presidents. I recalled the tickets were a bit pricy, so we opted to stay on the outside.

“Like a 70’s porn star”

Jessica Cyders - House of the Presidents 05-16-2014I photographed Anne with Washington and Lincoln behind the wax museum when we passed through in 2013. Miz Jessica, though, made a beeline for Theodore Roosevelt.

“He looks like a 70’s porn star,” she remarked. I wisely opted not to ask about her expertise in that area. I’m sure her interest was purely academic.

She enjoys making period costumes, so Anne and I were edified about the benefits of crotchless pantaloons and why the cancan was such a scandalous dance. Between Jessica and Anne, who wrote Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97, this Missouri boy got quite an education on our road trip.


Waving Goodbye at Lambert

Anne Rodgers at STL airport 07-02-2013Friend Anne and Wife Lila hopped on a plane at St. Louis’s Lambert Airport Tuesday morning. (Lila isn’t in the picture because she’s still on the shuttle.) Just as I started to pull off, I thought, “Maybe I should bookend the trip by getting a final shot of her leaving Missouri.”

‘It’s just my daughter….’

Anne Rodgers at STL airport 07-02-2013I got out of the car, called her name and watched heads swivel around. To avoid attracting the attention of the security folks, I announced in a loud voice, “It’s OK. I’m just sending my daughter off to school.”

(I’m pretty sure Anne paid that woman to say, “Looks more like his granddaughter,” but I could be mistaken.)

On our first day on the road, the server said, when I asked about an item on the menu, “I find that a little on the spicy side. The couple behind you ordered it, though.”

I started to get up. Anne put her hand on my arm. “You wouldn’t, would you?” Yep, I would. The server was right. The couple agreed that it might be a bit too spicy for a long road trip that late in the evening. Anne knew from that moment on to expect the unexpected. I have no shame.

Stuff to remember

Jackson mailbox 06-27-2013Once she gets past the cringing and embarrassments, I hope she’ll remember all the cool stuff we saw and the people we met.

The gas tank read somewhere between “Low Fuel” and “Who gets to walk for gas?” when we pulled out of Wib’s, but Anne and Lila wanted to shoot a sunset. While they were making art, I was looking at this mailbox and thinking that sometime over the next couple of days, maybe a mailperson would come by and take the survivors back to civilization.

Boat traffic on the Mississippi

Trail of Tears - River - Bald Knob CrossWe stopped at the overlook in Trail of Tears State Park only to be greeted by a nice ranger who said, “This part of the park closes at 7:00 and it’s 7:05.” Anne must have batted her eyelashes at him, because he waved us on, saving me from having to pull out one of my “we’re newlyweds” stories. I knew there was a reason to bring her along.

Bald Knob Cross

Trail of Tears - River - Bald Knob CrossLooking up and to our right, we saw one of the clearest views of the Bald Knob Cross I’ve seen in years. Anne resisted directing any bald knob comments in my direction, for which I was grateful.

Spectacular rainbow

Irrigation system Charleston 06-29-2013Shortly after I took this photo of an irrigation system, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and we were met with a gust of wind that sent umbrellas flying, accompanied by a brief squall. After the storm moved on, a double rainbow of incredible intensity formed off to our side. It’s the first time I can recall actually feeling like I could see where it was touching the ground.

Good persimmon crop

Tower Rock 06-28-2013I can’t take anyone to Missouri without showing them the Lutheran Heritage Museum in Altenburg and Tower Rock. We coasted into town after the museum closed, but we spotted Gerard Fiehler pedaling down the street. He recognized my van, pulled over and agreed to open the museum for us even though he was hot and sweaty from mowing.

If they don’t fall or get blown off, it looks like Mother’s favorite tree is going to have a good crop of persimmons.

Flood not so good for fish

Dead fish after 2013 flood 06-28-2013We spotted lots of vultures sitting on the wires of the suspension pipeline, but didn’t think much of it. When we drove out of Wittenberg and over to Frogtown, we saw lots of white wading birds off in the distance. When we got past where the old train depot and church would have been, we noticed all sorts of white objects in the fields.

They turned out to be huge carp and other fish who had come in on the flood waters, then gotten trapped when the waters went out quickly. My guess is that the white wading birds were going after the live fish because they weren’t bothering the carrion. The vultures had probably had their fill for the day (or like their food a little riper).

Years have taken toll

Barn near Altenberg 06-28-2013_5116The years and high winds have taken their toll on this old barn seen on the way back home from Altenburg. You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.

Here are earlier Anne road trip stories:

Don’t forget First Friday

If you missed me at Hastings, stop in at Annie Laurie’s Antiques on First Friday, July 5. I’ll have Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars and Smelterville books. I’ll be there from 6pmish until 10 or when I start snoring and Laurie kicks me out.

Thanks for Stopping By

Ken Steinhoff and Anne Rodgers in Hastings in Cape 06-29-2013Friend Anne and I thank those folks who stopped by Hastings Saturday to look at our books and calendars. Wife Lila shot this while we were chatting with someone just out of camera range.

I’m pretty sure it was Jesse James. I’d list more names, but I don’t want to take a chance I’ll forget someone.

I’ll have more calendars and Smelterville books for sale at Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop at First Friday on July 5. Once Lila gets home next week, I’ll post how to order the materials by mail. Here is a sample of the calendar and more information about Anne’s book.

Sexual Desire and Ken’s Calendar

 Ken Steinhoff 2013-2014 Calendar

BRAIN FART ALERT: I may make calendars, but I have trouble with dates. In an earlier version of this post, I had the wrong date for our Hastings visit. It will be Saturday, June 29, 2013. (That’s today unless you are reading this in the future.)

Now, retuning you to the original programming

What do those two topics have in common. Not much, to be frank.

Let’s try to straighten this out. Anne Rodgers, my former colleague at The Palm Beach Post, bike riding partner and road tripper, is promoting her book, Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97. She spent two years working with a gynecologist surveying 1,300 women and doing in-depth interviews of a hundred of them. The result was a decade by decade picture of what turns women on (and off). You’ll be surprised to see what the teens had to say. You’ll be even more surprised to read the chapter that includes the experiences of a 97-year-old.

We’ll be at Hastings June 29

How do I fit in this picture? Anne has heard me talk about Cape so much that she, like Friend Jan, just had to see the place.

photoTo help make the trip pay off, she scored a book signing at the local Hastings store in the Town Plaza shopping center on William Street Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The nice folks at Hastings said I could sit next to Anne, so I will be there with a stack of my 2013-2014 Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars for sale. I’ll also have prototypes of my “Smelterville: A Work in Progress” book.

My work is better than Anne’s. I have pictures. She, however, is better looking.

Come on by, let’s talk, look at old pictures of Cape and catch up.

If you miss me there, you can find me at Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop on First Friday, July 5. I’ll also be appearing on the KZIM morning show on that day to talk about the Smelterville project. (I’ll hold the photos up to the microphone, but I’m not sure how they are going to look at the far end.)

Click the link to read reviews of Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97 and order online (I’ll actually make a few pennies on the transaction).

Calendar photo gallery

Click on any photo, then click on the side to move through the gallery. (By the way, the girl on the cover of Anne’s book isn’t Anne. I’ve been asked.)