Monday, June 30, 2008

Land of Lincoln

Ned and Joe, Meet the Gemini Giant

After breakfast with Matt and Sharon we said our goodbyes and headed down Ogden Avenue on old Route 66. As we passed through the southwestern part of Chicagoland the towns got smaller and the road less congested.

Our main stop for the day was Springfield, IL and the Lincoln tour. Springfield was the home of our 16th president when he was elected to the presidency. After his assassination his body was returned home and buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. His tomb is an impressive 117 feet tall. He is interred inside with his wife, Mary Todd, and three of his four children.

The Outside of Lincoln's Tomb

Lincoln's Headstone

From the cemetery we went to Lincoln's home. It is not an impressive home like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and I thought it was small. Still, Lincoln's home has proved irresistible to visitors since it opened to the public. Beautifully restored to its 1860 appearance, the Greek Revival house was Abraham and Mary Lincoln's home for 17 years.

The home is run by the National Park Service along with the surrounding four blocks that are being restored to the way it would have been when the Lincolns lived there. From there we went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. It has exhibits and films chronicling the life of Lincoln from his early years in a log cabin to his death. The museum is interesting but I think the boys were a little bored.

The Lincoln Home

Ned and Joe on the Tour

Joe and Ned Visiting the Lincolns

Also in Springfield is the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Dana-Thomas house. Unfortunately it was closed for tours but the exterior was beautiful. We stopped at the Cozy Dog Drive In on the way of out town for an original Cozy Dog or corn dog a Route 66 tradition.

The Dana-Thomas House

We continued on through Illinois reaching the Chain of Rocks Bridge by early evening. This bridge used to carry Route 66 traffic across the Mississippi and is now a pedestrian and bike trail. It features a 22 degree bend in the middle of the crossing. We walked across and viewed St Louis downriver.

Our campsite destination for the night was Pere Marquette state park in Grafton, IL. It took a bit longer to get there than I had planned. The river road was flooded from Alton, IL upriver meaning a big detour. I was worried that the campground would be closed but it was open though the marina was underwater.

Old Campbell's "66" Express Featuring Snorting Norton

Joe and Ned Walking the Chain of Rocks

The Arch and St Louis on the Horizon

In Missouri by Foot

Ned Makes His Way Across the Wide Mississippi

The Campground Marina Underwater

Chicago, IL to Pere Marquette State Park, IL, 343 miles 9 hrs 40 min

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