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Cat Road

Run the Cat Roads

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Before there was a lottery, and people had to grab cash the old-fashioned way, Bonnie & Clyde knew about Dearborn, Missouri. Dearborn is popular now because of America’s latest Powerball winner. But until recently, when the equivalent of one half ton of gold fell out of the sky on Dearborn, the little town was quiet, out of the way, along …

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Shuckin' Hostess

Hillbillies, Hay Bellies and Hostess Twinkies

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It was a dream. A nightmare. When I was a kid, I don’t remember seeing any over-sized hillbillies. Hill folk worked hard to squeeze a living from rocky soil. They were rugged, independent, self-sustaining people. Skinny, mostly, but healthy. They consumed their corn through whiskey and pone. But in my dream, the descendants of these backwoods survivors strayed into the …

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Breakfast of Champions

Raising Money for Highways

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State highway departments are running out of money. One potential source of funding borrows from a local government trick that’s been paying big dividends for decades: Naming rights for sports stadiums and bowl games. You know, the Edward D. Jones Dome. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. So why not sell highway naming rights to the highest bidder? States would get roadbuilding …

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Graveyard for Naughty English Teachers

I Can’t Get These Names to Stick

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Some roads evoke emotion, like the Trail of Tears through Belleview, Boss and Bixby. And some roads evoke wonder, like the Scenic Byway along Crowley’s Ridge. Traveling every Missouri road, I gave some personal nicknames to a few pathways. Winding through picturesque hills reminiscent of central Europe, the road into Sam A. Baker State Park becomes Little Swiss Parkway. On …

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Water Tower, Radio Tower, Tower of Power

My Favorite Road

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One of the most legendary highways on Earth unfolds over 300 Missouri miles, and bears a name that’s the highest tribute ever bestowed a route: the Mother Road. But it’s a mother with multiple personalities. Before it bore children west, the Mother Road was the Wire Road. And before that it was a Native American trail. It’s a great road, …

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