January 18, 2012

"Trying to understand the waterways of America..."

Yesterday, we were driving on I-55 I-270...



IN THE COMMENTS: Scott M says:
[I]t looks like you were not on I-55. You were on 270 north around the west side of St Louis. The first bridge you crossed was the Chain Of Rocks bridge.

The bridge to the south, at the beginning of the video, is the old Chain of Rocks bridge that they filmed the final bridge scene from "Escape From New York" on.

The second waterway you crossed [was] the canal. The Mississippi is too shallow for most commercial traffic at the point you crossed, so they use the canal for barge traffic.
I said:
Thanks, Scott. You're definitely right. No wonder the maps made no sense to me as I tried to write this post.

I called the video I-50 and even wrote that on the video! Meade did all the driving, and he told me it was I-55, but in fact — I remember now — when he got to St. Louis, he switched from the Google maps plan to following signs that said "Chicago." (At a key fork in the road, Google wanted us to opt for Memphis over Chicago, which would have had us scooting under St. Louis rather than over, and he preferred to go with the signs.)
Here's some info on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. (I did see that tower out in the water.) Here are some clips from "Escape from New York." (Not sure if the bridge scene is in there.)

27 comments:

Triangle Man said...

What does bagohpedia say?

chickenlittle said...

The intracoastal waterway is a fascinating. Here's a map: link

Too bad wiki is having a hissy-fit just now because they have lots of info.

Scott M said...

You were ten minutes from my office when you drove by because it looks like you were not on I-55. You were on 270 north around the west side of St Louis. The first bridge you crossed was the Chain Of Rocks bridge.

The bridge to the south, at the beginning of the video, is the old Chain of Rocks bridge that they filled the final bridge scene from "Escape From New York" on.

The second waterway you crossed what the canal. The Mississippi is too shallow for most commercial traffic at the point you crossed, so they use the canal for barge traffic. There are a number of locks between that highway crossing and Alton, IL, about ten miles north of there. Had you got off at Route 3, you could have checked out the Lewis And Clark museum.

Scott M said...

filled = filmed

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Locks are necessary to connect bodies of water that are at different or varying ground levels.

Think of a lock as a chamber with the ability to vary the water level - a 'vessel step' if you will.

chickenlittle said...

Wisconsin lost out on becoming part of the northwest portion of the intracontenental waterway. Chicago stepped up to the plate.
___________
wv = nolye. And no acerbic wit either.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Scott. You're definitely right. No wonder the maps made no sense to me as I tried to write this post.

I called the video I-50 and even wrote that on the video! Meade did all the driving, and he told me it was I-55, but in fact — I remember now — when he got to St. Louis, he switched from the Google maps plan to following signs that said "Chicago." (At a key fork in the road, Google wanted us to opt for Memphis over Chicago, which would have had us scooting under St. Louis rather than over, and he preferred to go with the signs.)

Thanks for all the info.

traditionalguy said...

The mighty Mississip is a water flow that engineers play at controlling.

But when it wants to, the River just changes its course.

On its up river tributaries, Cincinnati, Louisville and Pittsburgh owe their existence to the River that carries cargo past St Louis and Memphis to the ocean at New Orleans.

Now if our Marxist Wizard and his gang will simply permit the Keystone Pipeline to empower the USA by carrying a river of cheap oil to our refineries, we may become a strong Nation again.

Scott M said...

No problem. Depending on the time of day, you're actually better off going the "Memphis" route, even if you want to go north. 270 wraps like a belt from the Mississippi north of downtown, west around the metro, and back down to the Mississippi southeast of downtown, where it turns into 255.

When they built 255, they were expecting the metro in Illinois to grow at the same rate as it was in Missouri's west and south county. Hell, even north county was expanding fast back then. However, metro east also includes East St Louis, Cahokia, and Sauget. These are areas, and more importantly school districts, that people simply didn't want to move into and 255 is usually a ghost town of a six lane interstate.

If you hit St Louis during either rush hour, you're better off going south around the city.

No canal down there though :)

Dinner's still on me next time you're through.

Ann Althouse said...

"No problem. Depending on the time of day, you're actually better off going the "Memphis" route, even if you want to go north. 270 wraps like a belt from the Mississippi north of downtown, west around the metro, and back down to the Mississippi southeast of downtown, where it turns into 255. "

Yes, that's what I, the navigator, was saying as Meade followed the signs.

I suspected that Google knew which way was faster and that the sign-posters were more interested in traffic flow and breaking up the Memphis-headed cars, who definitely wanted the southern way around St. Louis, from the people who had northern goals in mind and could be shunted around the other way.

Joe Schmoe said...

That is some flat-ass land.

Scott M said...

That is some flat-ass land.

The land directly west and south of the metro becomes very hilly. It's very flat (if you don't count the Cahokia mounds, lol) from the Illinois shore of the Mississippi for about ten miles or so...then you run smack-dab into an extreme change in elevation that marks the geologic boundary of the Big Muddy's meanderings over the epochs. In some places, it's sheer cliffs, seen most starkly north of Alton, IL where the bald eagles roost.

None of the above changes the fact that to go see any of it, you actually have to go INTO Illinois...which no one will do if they don't have to. The only people who have to actually live there and are required to return to the PRI every evening. I think it has something to do with the little explosive collars they wear.

Sofa King said...

I walked across the Old Chain of Rocks. It was foggy and gray out and creepy as hell.

MadTownGuy said...

The Chain of Rocks Bridge is part of old Route 66. There are nice state parks at both ends of the bridge (one in MO, the other in IL). On 11/11/11, Route 66 was 85 years old so we spent the day in and around Pontiac, IL exploring the museums and catching lunch at the Steak N Shake in Bloomington.

CG96 said...

The Chain Of Rocks Bridge was also the site of one of MO's more infamous sexual assaults & murders: http://www.amazon.com/Rip-Heaven-Memoir-Murder-Aftermath/dp/0451210530

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM18ZZ_Kerry_Sisters_Murder_Chain_of_Rocks_Bridge_St_Louis_Missouri

The case is noted for its' twists & turns, and police misconduct.

edutcher said...

Reminds me of the first long trip The Blonde and I took together down to FL.

We were on our way to Tampa and the road split off in about 10 different lanes and it looked as if we'd gotten on the worng one.

As I was driving, she gave me an earful until the lanes came together again.

Luckily, she'd brought a bountiful supply of apology cards.

Joe Schmoe said...

I think I read about the Cahokia mounds in the book '1491'. I could be wrong as it got really boring early on. Large prehistoric American city dating back several thousand years or something?

Scott M said...

Large prehistoric American city dating back several thousand years or something?

All snark aside, the Cahokia side is an incredible place. They even had a version of Stonehenge. Monk's Mound, given how it was built, is truly stunning and still plainly visible (albeit as a big, federally protected hill). Hell...they even had a stockade.

Very cool place to visit. Very uncool area to own a home in.

Joe Schmoe said...

It outlasted Pruitt-Igoe.

We'll definitely check out Cahokia if ever in San Louie.

Very uncool area to own a home in.

?? Flooding? Prehistoric ghosts?

Scott M said...

?? Flooding? Prehistoric ghosts?

Crime, hookers, crack dealers, etc. And those are the good points. It's in Illinois, nuff said?

Ann Althouse said...

"As I was driving, she gave me an earful until the lanes came together again."

I didn't give Meade an earful.

Meade said...

Just an earful of sweet nothings.

(Which really was quite something.)

But that was in Wisconsin. In Illinois, we were mainly concerned with nothing more than getting out of Illinois.

LarryK said...

Try to understand the waterways of America, and you end up knowing more about the Bridges of North St. Louis County than you ever thought possible...

Scott M said...

Try to understand the waterways of America, and you end up knowing more about the Bridges of North St. Louis County than you ever thought possible...

I'll tell you what you won't catch me doing anymore...boating or jetskiing on the Mississippi. Not anymore. Hell, you can't even canoe now. The damned Asian carp invasion has removed any and all enjoyment, if not make it downright dangerous. At the very least, you have to deal with huge, smelly fish jumping at you or into your boat. God forbid one of them actually cracks you in the head.

I didn't much care for the Mississippi even before this started, as I did summers around my father's stomping grounds out in the Ozarks, ie, crystal clear spring-fed creeks and much smaller rivers, all with gravel bottoms and NO FRIGGIN ASIAN CARP. Lot's of bigfoot, though...

virgil xenophon said...

Am surprised that no one here has yet mentioned that the old Chain-o-Rocks Bridge was the only bridge in America (AFAIK) that had a bend in it @ a 30-45 degree angle (iirc.) The elbow bent left from Ill to St Louis, right the other way. Always an adventure. It was narrow w. no dividing partition either, iirc.

BTW, as late as 1960 East St. Louis (the part in Ill) was nearly 100% white and won the designation of "All American City" for its outstanding governmental efficiency. Now? Almost 100% black and neck & neck w. Camden, N.J.

Frank said...

Chain of Rock Bridge. The bed of the Miss. River at that location has a bed of granite rocks protruding up. Boats could not navigate over them, so in the 1930's the Army Corp of Engineers built the "Chaim of Rocks Canal" to by-pass the rocks and therefore allow barge traffic to flow North and South past the rocks.

Conserve Liberty said...

My summer job in college was deckhand for NILO Barge Lines (owned by Olin Corp). The turn was from Joliet, IL to Jefferson Barracks, MO and back in (IIRC) 16 days, mostly on the Illinois River. The last lock downriver on the Mississippi drainage is Lock 27, Chain of Rocks The Locks, at the head of the canal at Granite City, IL are separate from the Dam.

The Illinois merges with the Mississippi above Lock 26, which is at Alton, IL.

You crossed the River first, eastbound, then the canal.

Lock and Dam 27

That was one well-paying job. I paid 80% of 4 years at The University of Virginia with those earnings.

Of course, I spent my summers at Camp 1st Watch. I was on a towboat 24/7 for 9 straight weeks, 6 hours on, 6 hours off, 6-12.

I recently found my expired Longshoreman Card and Deckhand manual when rearranging our storage area after my son permanently moved into his townhome.