You just never know what you'll find hidden away in a little prairie town.
I was looking for something fun to do with some of the kids as we talk about the Clovis, Monte Verde and Topper sites when I stumbled across the Lithic Casting Lab. How cool is that? You can get inexpensive castings of authentic stone-age artifacts delivered to your doorstep. They're not the real thing, but then, you won't have a stroke when you drop one on the sidewalk (and you know you're going to drop one on the sidewalk.) You can also get cool posters and prints that show all three sides of an artifact, but I think the "collection" posters might be the coolest. The one pictured at left is "Stone Age Artifacts of the World" It spans 2 million years of human history and comes with its own illustrated guidebook . . . that's cool. Supposedly, there's a blade on this poster that no modern craftsman has been able to reproduce. How awesome is that?
The poster below is the "Artifacts of Cahokia Mounds" poster. The Cahokia Mounds are the remnants of a stone age "mound builder" city just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. In fact, from the top of Monks' Mound, the largest mound on the site, you can look across the river and see the St. Louis skyline. I highly recommend the experience of standing on the top of that thing with the wind blowing over your scalp (for some of you, through your hair.)
But why is that ironical? And is ironical a word?
Well, at first glance, Troy is a sleepy little place with a lot of fast food restaurants and a couple of truck stops, about 20 minutes outside St. Louis on I-55. But if you look to your left as you pass by on the interstate, you'll see a small white building with a blue roof sitting all alone on the frontage road. The sign on the front looks insignificant next to the giant fast-food eyesores, but when I go to St. Louis, that's where I go.
That's Grand Prairie Knives. GPK is by far my favorite knife shop. They specialize in collector Case pocketknives because, frankly, that's what the owner collects. But they sell just about everything from United Cutlery and Cold Steel to real knives from Camillus, Spyderco, Benchmade, TOPS, Chris Reeve, Mad Dog, Busse, and more custom makers every year. I can kill a LOT of time in that place. Even worse, there's not one piece in the displays that they won't cheerfully hand over for your inspection, which only makes it take longer. Melissa doesn't even come inside anymore; she settles into the car with a book.
Anyway, what could be more perfect than one sleepy little town on the edge of the prairie where you can get a Clovis point, a Sebenza, and a full tank of gas in one afternoon?