The main purpose of our recent venture was to return our two grandchildren back to Denver after visits here and in central Missouri. Of course, we still had to visit some antique shops along the way.
At exit 83 off Interstate 57 in Illinois, we stopped at what we thought was our first visit to Rend Lake Antique Mall, 301 Ina Ave., Ina (618-437-5801).
The mall is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. It is a nice facility, big and clean, and it turns out we were on file there as a previous customer because the owners used to reside on the square in downtown Benton with numerous other dealers.
They left the square about two years ago, along with other dealers, because of a lack of parking. I do not know anything about Rend Lake, but it was impressive, really big. It seemed to go on and on. Just passing through in our car, we saw very little commercial sites around the lake and no lakeside homes.
Because of all the rain, we had some detours on parts of Interstate 44 closed at Rolla, Mo. But two malls right next door to each other in the town of Cuba are well worth the stop.
No. 1 is Two Olde Crows Antique Mall, 100 Rocky Creek Road (573-885-0833; http://www.twooldecrows.com). No. 2 is Lone Star Antiques, 102 Rocky Creek Road (573-885-6255).
Both featured early country, primitives, antiques and glassware, and both sites are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and both took some of our money. It is a good stop.
Denver brought about a first in an eating establishment called Quaker Steak and Lube, a new franchise with gas pumps at the entrances, gas handles as door handles and race cars suspended upside down from the ceiling. Motorcycles and auto items were all over the place. It was quite the sight. You can go to http://www.quakersteakandlube.com and see for yourself.
We did not do downtown Denver antique shops this time. Instead, we visited two architectural salvage sites, very different, but both are for sale.
No. 1 was Queen City Architectural Salvage, 4750 Brighton Blvd. (303-296-0925), owned by Tom Sundheim. He trades, buys and sells doors, mantels and hardware, plus numerous artifacts. It is an indoor/outdoor operation not well organized and not appealing to the eye.
No. 2 was quite the opposite but also for sale: Architectural Salvage Inc., 6460 Stapleton Drive S., Unit A (303-321-0200). It is very clean, well-organized, well-lit and a large inventory of old antique authentic lighting, doors, hardware, plumbing fixtures and mantels. The co-owner wife wants to join her co-owner husband in retirement. It is a very comfortable shopping site if you like salvage items. It is much like the Preservation and Conservation Association shop in downtown Champaign, but far bigger.
The grandkids were not forgotten. They got to see Dorothy's house and the Yellow Brick Road in Liberal, Kan., climb to the top of Two Buttes in southeast Colorado and climb and roll down the sand dunes in south central Colorado. All in all, it was a trip that left us very tired and glad to be back home.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be sent to Swisher by writing to The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-677 or emailing email@example.com.