October 18th, 2021

Old “filling station or “service station, as they used to be called

Today was Day Two of the Missouri Historical Mill Tour 2021. I learned from yesterday and did a few screenshots of my route, and it was good I did at one point. I did, however, learn something about Google Maps after the first stop.

It doesn’t save your route if you stop on a trip that has multiple stops. That is pretty damn stupid. Why clear my trip just because I stop? WTF?!?! I have “stops” in there for a reason – because I want to stop there so stop deleting my trip! I got to a place with some cell service and got everything figured out and set back up. When I got to the next stop I noticed it had asked me if I wanted to go to the next destination or not, which I did not see that before. I said yes then went sightseeing. All was well, but I will be buying paper maps for individual states; my road atlas doesn’t have enough detail for the trip I was taking.

I got on the road with my canine co-pilot around 09:00 and it was about a three-hour drive to the first stop. The total trip plan was over eight hours so it was going to be a full-day adventure. When making these day trips I won’t be following that 9-6-3 Rule. I am out to see things and won’t limit myself like that.

It was another beautiful day, around 72° and sunny. There was very little traffic out and there were stretches where I was the only car for many miles. Again, the roads and scenery were fun to drive and one 15 mile stretch of MO 49 north of Lesterville was just incredible. And little cell service all day.

The first stop of the day was at Dillard Mill State Historic Site.

What a beautiful park and a beautiful setting. The mill itself was not open but the park was and the grounds were immaculate. Lots of room to picnic while looking at the mill, and lots of room to play near the parking area and shelter.

Dillard Mill State Historic Site

They had a few things from the milling process lying around the grounds:

After changing into shorts (‘twas a cool morning…) we hit the road to the next stop. Given the map issue I was not sure where we were headed but I had glanced at it enough to see we were headed south on the same highway and found service and we were back in business.

The next stop was Reeds Spring Mill. It was a very small mill about the size of a small cabin, but it was a beautiful setting although it looked to be on private property.

The next two mill stops I had planned I could not locate. I had the areas for both the Klepzig Mill & Falling Spring Mill and drove the gravel roads back in to where they were but saw no signs for one, and the other had a sign at the start of the road but no further signage. I was under a bit of time crunch given the trip length so I did not spend much time looking. After getting back home I looked them up and I was literally just short of Galling Spring – it was right around the corner from where I turned around. The other I remember the info saying it was hard to locate and seeing the satellite view it would have been hard to find.

As you can see, this is a lot of protected waterways

The fifth, and final, stop of the day was Alley Spring Mill, located within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which is part of the National Park Service. This mill was open but only the lower level was accessible due to the ‘rona.

Alley Spring Mill

They had a few books and other things for sale inside, and some of the equipment you could get a good look at.

You can see the pulleys and belts to power the equipment coming up through the floor. Imagine how dangerous this would be in a room full of these things. Some of the other equipment I have seen in mills in the past were much bigger than a truck so they would have been even more dangerous.

Again, the grains were processed on the third and second floors and on down to the main floor through those wooden “tubes” – more processing meant the grains started on the top floor. The grain was ground depending on the type of products desired, for example corn for breads, or coarser for grits, or maybe just cracked for chicken feed.

Outside the mill is the inlet for the water into the mill.

Flow control gates at Alley Spring Mill

This controls the amount of water released from the spring and the flow into, and out of, the mill. If you look closely at the tall uprights you see the holes for the bolts that act like pins to adjust the gate. Add to this the engineering in the turbine and it’s a very well thought out machine.

This mill, like the Hodgson’s Water Mill I saw yesterday, is powered by a spring.

Missouri has a lot of interesting geology and is very well- known for its caves. With this geology there are also springs everywhere. Many of them, especially the deeper ones, are this beautiful blue.

There was also an historic one-room schoolhouse near the mill.

It ended up being a ten-hour round trip but it was a fun day. Even better? I believe I have not been to any of these places before; all of the stops were new to me! And the scenery and drive were great. I did see some very very rural areas.

That’s all for this lengthy post. Not sure about tomorrow yet. I am a bit road weary from today’s adventure. Those winding roads are mentally taxing over the course of an entire day of driving. But, we’ll see what happens after I sleep!

But, won’t that make my hair slippery?

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