Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Last Bargain Hunt:Kirksville Missouri

I don't know if it was a good idea to drive 500 miles round trip to a record store I've came across via the internet and spent a month figuring out if i really wanted to drive this far.  The Oldest Record Store they call themselves and it took me all day to find them.

I started out late in the morning and stopped along the way at Housewerks in Iowa City just to see they had anything and they didn't so I rushed on down the backroads to 218 somewhere outside of Crawfordsville and thus begin a two hour trekfest to Quincy Illinois first.

Highway 218 on the Highway Of The Saints segment is kinda peaceful and scenic but by now the road has bypassed a lot of the towns long the way, Mount Pleasant, Donnellsonvile, Argyle, really nothing there, in fact the gas station that used to be in town closed when the by pass went through.  Going across the Des Moines River takes you into Missouri, where the old toll bridge sits off the left, forgotten due to the by pass. The peak leaves season is past and many of the leaves have fallen into half empty creek and river beds.

First stop, Quincy.  Like Cedar Rapids, it doesn't have a record store to speak of outside of the FYE that hides within the Quincy Mall.  The clerk was having a good time playing heavy metal to a handicapped person in a wheel chair.  Not much to speak of in terms of music,  Motorhead Overnight Sensation, Sparks Angst In My Pants (hopefully in better shape than the one I overpayed a few years ago) and a best of Spooky Tooth.  In fact Deep Tracks was playing I Am The Walrus on the way down there.  Nice of them to play My Size by John Entwistle just when I got into the parking lot.  FYE selection has always been suspect but looked like they had a better selection than the Moline store.  Still the best FYE stores remained out in Mesa/Chandler but I don't forsee being out there anytime soon.

Downtown Quincy has the look and feel of a Mississippi River town,  great back in the heydays but not so much today.  The Lincoln-Douglas Building I noticed housed most of the radio stations down there so I can only guess that either Clear Channel or Cumulus owns them.  I didn't listen to any of them anyway.

There are two bridges that go over the Mississippi on Hwy 24, The eastern one has the older bridge and the western takes you out of Quincy Illinois.  Upon leaving Quincy going about a mile and half I saw what used to be the screen for the outdoor West Quincy Drive In.

The exit only sign was taken down a year or so ago, one screen demolished but the other is now a billboard promoting that Jesus Christ will soon be coming.  At least they put the screen to good use.

The road went through Palmyra 10 miles down and to the south of Quincy.  An rustic old town but best known for the grocery shopping center off highway 61 (Now a Shopko, used to be a Venture, the other a grocery store), downtown Palmyra is like many other towns I frequented; a history of run down buildings and former stores that used to be in business.  A Gambles, an old Ben Franklin, both had signs but no more than that.  With that, I took the backway to find hwy 63 to take me back up to Kirksville but  ended up going through a series of backroads and getting even more lost before making a second call to On Star to help me get to the highway. On Star has been one of the best things you can get as judged by the last time I used it.  Philadelphia Missouri has nothing to see and a mixed up of towns took me to Bethel. But saw plenty of old abandoned windmills, fallen down barns and plenty of baptist churches to boot.  Somehow I did connect to US 63 into Kirksville.

Losing an hour of daylight and at 5 30 PM things were dark, since it cloudy all day and most of everybody closes up shop in that area.  I found the Hastings store first.  Since the Ames store closed three years ago, Kirksville is the only store closest to me and basically a three hour trip isn't worth it although, they had a much better selection of mid price CDs, ones that Best Buy has but has jacked the price up a dollar.  Missouri has a few more Hastings stores but if you seen one, you pretty much seen them all and the selection is hit and miss.  But I did pick up some of the 3.99 specials (Jeff Beck-Wired, Darryl Hall-Sacred Songs, B 52s-Wild Planet) just for something to listen to on the way home.

By the time I got done it was 7 o clock and when I stumbled upon Rinehart's Music And Video, they were closed but I did do a bit of window shopping and noted they had a lot of vinyl and a so so selection of CDs. Flanked by a Diet Pepsi sign of vintage years, you have to look hard to find this store, since I couldn't locate it by car, I had to park it and find it. Down the other way a couple blocks is Circle M Music, an excellent music store with some interesting drums and a stage for jam sessions. I think they're keeping the music alive the best they can given the circumstances in life.

Satisfied with what I found, I decided to make the trip back home.  Fighting a cold that has been pissing me off for a week and half and constant hacking and coughing I probably should have just stayed home.  Or just went to St Louis, since it was about an hour and half from Palmyra.  But it's an good hour to get back to US 61 and I had my fill of backroads, so I took 63 back up into Iowa and stopped in Ottumwa at a place called Riverside Restaurant and ordered up a pasta dinner but they went all out and gave a big bowl of chicken and dumplings and rice on the side. You will not leave there hungry.

Sad to say I took the long way home, going off 149 and staying on 63 for about 100 more miles to the car and I could have taken that and saved about an hour getting home, or go into Fairfield and take highway 1 all the way home but I was born for adventure and took advantage of that, despite that and a fucking post nasal drip.  But I made it home and filed this report before bed.  I wouldn't say that going to Kirksville will be a regular event, in fact it's not high on the list of going back, unless I want a Hastings fix.  And Rinehart's Music And Video is worth a curio visit but since Record Collector or Ragged are much closer by, I doubt if I'll return there again but they are the oldest record store in Missouri.

The next time, I'll bring a road map.  Or just go to St Louis instead.

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