Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Trip - Illinois

Our trip is taking us across the middle of Illinois. We left Hannibal this morning, crossing the bridge over the Mississippi River and trading one world for another. In Missouri, the land is rocky, rolling hills, full of caves hidden by lush greenery. The history there tells of slavery and Confederate hearts. But just across the river, Illinois is flat farmland with a few low hills thrown in for variety. And during the Civil War it was solidly for the Union. It's hard to believe such contrast is possible when only a bit of water separates the two states.

According to the travel books we have, there's nothing of note to see along our route across Illinois, outside of Springfield. We drove into town in the motorhome, taking the main road whose lanes were too narrow for comfort and hoping we'd be able to park the whole rig. If it were summer or the weekend, we may not have managed, but because it was a weekday we found plenty of metered parking right in front of the visitor center. We had to feed three parking meters.

This is Abraham Lincoln's house, the one he and his family lived in before he became President. The National Park Service gives free tours by Park Rangers, and ours was excellent.

The Lincolns did a lot of entertaining, since he was a successful attorney and politician, so two of the downstairs rooms were used for receiving guests. This is the room where leaders of the new Republican Party came to see Lincoln right after their party's convention and offered him the presidential nomination.

When Lincoln was out on the campaign trail, he took his own variety of motorhome to travel and sleep in. Not a bad idea. This is a replica.

After Springfield, we drove east and stopped in Champaign at the only RV Park we could find in our directory for the east end of the state. It's almost completely surrounded by corn fields. We got there near sunset.

Our campground boasts a small lake, which looks manmade. The warning sign may not be accurate (it says, "Beware of Alligators"). We didn't ask. We also didn't take Scooter near the water.

But Scooter managed to show his true colors. He's not as ferocious as he wants you to believe. When he's inside the car and he sees a cat or a dog (or a person, cow, goat, horse, deer, or even the ceramic elephant at an RV Park we stayed in last week), he barks up a storm. But let a kitten come up to him, and he hesitates. He even wags his tail. He's a softie, that boy. But you didn't hear it from me.

Tomorrow we should get to Indianapolis.


Bekah said...

Another place I recognize! This is exciting! I went to Lincoln's house too - but when I was there, they were renovating it, so I don't think we were allowed inside. And our pictures have scaffolding and things all around the outside.

SkyePuppy said...


I have another picture of Lincoln's house that I like better, except for the man in the lift-cage making repairs to the chimney. And the house across the street is mid-paint-job, with white brushstrokes all over the charcoal gray siding. Renovations... sigh!

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Yep, you found one of the few things besides the city to see in Illinois. It is a very short list in this very boring state that I call home. Oh well, it makes my travelling more special.