Aimed towards Hannibal, Missouri for Mark Twain tourism.
For lunch, we were aiming for a Roadfood recommendation in Columbia, Missouri, but we couldn't find it. (It's no longer listed on http://www.roadfood.com, so it has presumably closed.)
Instead, we stopped at Buckingham Smokehouse Barbecue because it was convenient. It was good barbecue. Lori had a beef brisket sandwich, and I had the burnt ends sandwich. I had previously been put off by the name "burnt ends"--burnt ends are all the ends and trimmings from the barbecue, chopped up and simmered in sauce until it has more or less the texture of a sloppy joe. In other words, burnt ends takes the barbecue process of taking less-preferred pieces of meat and using slow cooking to make them nice, and applies that to barbecue itself. It's very tasty indeed.
We were delayed getting to Hannibal; I was slow getting us on the road, we had trouble getting a restaurant for lunch, and we had a stopoff at the Russell Stover candy outlet. The net result was that we arrived at the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal at 4:45. We didn't go through the museum at all, because we wanted to see Mark Twain Himself, a performance of a man dressed up as Mark Twain, imitating Twain's lectures. I wasn't really wild about the performance, I admit--it overlooked some opportunities to make some of my favorite Twain jokes, and I found myself niggling at the fact that the actor wasn't wearing Twain's trademark white suit. (Though I see from a Google search that Twain only adopted the white suit in 1906, so I guess I'm now mollified.)
After the Mark Twain Himself performance, we were just in time to walk down to the Hannibal wharf for the dinner departure of the Mark Twain Riverboat. This wasn't bad, but it was a waste of our time and money. Our key mistake in deciding to go on the dinner cruise was in thinking that the ride on the Mark Twain Riverboat would have had anything in the slightest to do with Mark Twain. Instead, we got a ride on the river for a couple of hours in a boat that had only a slight resemblance in appearance to Mississippi steamboats, an utterly nondescript dinner (not bad, but probably the worst meal we've had in a week), and a musician playing 60s' folk tunes on banjo and harmonica. Fooey. But we did get some nice pictures.
After the riverboat cruise, we walked along the main street to see some of the historic properties, and then climbed up to visit the lighthouse and the riverfront overlook. We learned later that there are over 220 steps up to the lighthouse; that definitely met my daily requirement of exercise.
We decided to drive down to St. Louis to get a motel room to get a start on the trip to Kentucky the next day. This turned out to be a most unfortunate decision.
We picked a motel out of our coupon book. We arrived and said "Hi, we have a coupon."
The desk clerk looked at us as if our statement was of no relevance to him.
We asked for a room.
He replied, "We are completely full."
We discovered that St. Louis was hosting a national Baptist convention, and every hotel around was full of Baptists. After an hour of calling around, we finally found a motel with an empty room 15 miles into Illinois.
My hopes of playing some Warcraft before bed were for naught.