Day 4 – Twain’s Tourist Traps

Cliffs along the Mississippi River

Cliffs along the Mississippi River

We drive north, neatly missing Mark Twain’s Cave, and discovering a wonderful view of the Mississippi in all it’s splendor, flowing wide – and high. On one side of the road train tracks lay between us and the river, and to the other side ponderous limestone cliffs with the odd rockfall edge the other side. After admiring this unexpected view, we turn around and try for the cave again.

Whether Mark Twain ever visited this specific cave is a matter of conjecture; he includes one in his story of Tom Sawyer, but the limestone bluffs of this region are riddled with caves and crevices. We stop to check it out – and discover it costs the princely sum of sixteen dollars a head to go in for an hour, and the next tour would leave in thirty minutes. This and the general apathy of the store, reeking of a top-notch tourist trap sets us off, especially since the “eatery” that was promised appears to be a makeshift campground office, mini-store, storage room and ad-hoc kitchen with delusions of grandeur. I quickly procured the safest provisions possible – two ice cream sandwiches – to tide us over since other than an awkwardly placed Subway that is within spitting distance of a pawn shop we have not seen anything resembling a take-out place.

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