Friday, November 26, 2010

Delivery to Louisville, Kentucky RV Show

A foggy morning ride to pick up 35 ft Winnebago Vista at Forest City, IA. Sand with slashes of Paprika! It would be camouflage in the desert except for the slashes! Parked it in our yard and packed it up ready to take off the next morning.

A clear dark sky with stars shining down on a dry road with wind to our back makes for a good start in the early morning. Shadows of clouds appear ahead as the eastern horizon gets lighter. A stop for coffee before crossing the Mississippi into Illinois.

View from the windshield:
  • Acres of harvested and tilled fields sit waiting for a restful covering of snow.
  • An area with stacked pieces of windmill dotting the landscape waiting for the crane crew to lift them in place.
  • A few trees with red & gold leaves highlighted by some sun shining thru the clouds.
  • Indianapolis still has miles of road construction projects!
  • Headed south nearing the Kentucky border. Acres of woods interspersed with rolling farm land.
  • Horse stables with miles of wooden fences.
  • Shades of pink, mauve, & blue appear in a clear sky as the huge orange sun sinks to the western horizon.

Thank-You, Scottsburg, IN Super Walmart for letting us park in your lot overnite.

Bookwork, catch up on correspondence, supper at Long John Silvers. Grilled taliapia with mixed veggies is excellent choice, but the shrimp special was delicious, too! Another couple delivering motor homes stopped in to share experiences!

Snug in our sleeping bag as we heard rain falling in the early morning hours.

We ate a breakfast on an English Muffin at Subway. First time for us & not impressed! Coffee was good.

Filled unit with last few gallons of gas need to get us to the Kentucky Fair Expo Center in Louisville about 35 miles ahead. Drove through rain, checked in, Hi’s & hugs to friends we only see “along the way,” phone calls for release number, check atlas for direction and on the road west.

Through the windshield as we drive in the haze & rain across southern Indiana:

  • Not good for sightseeing so staying with I-64.
  • Rocky precipices are visible thru the leafless trees in the Hoosier National Forest. Green pines, rust-red & brown grasses and some late clinging leaves. Low tree covered mountains on the horizon as we curve though the valleys.
  • Rain stops, but still cloudy
  • Past an open pit coal mine
  • Into an area of large farms with fields of green winter wheat interspersed with acres of harvested fields on the large farms as we near the Illinois border.
  • Driving across the Wabash River into Illinois and north on state road #127
  • Acres of flat farmland. Large farms with long driveways leading to their farm buildings and farm names on large signs by the road.
  • Through small towns. Each with its own "character." Greenville, Illinois has an interesting historic section with many shops in old buildings, a museum and a neat park just west of town.
  • Some blue sky between the clouds allows the sun’s rays to shine on the tall dry grass and harvested corn stalks making them appear to glow like gold!

A good night's rest at a Motel 6 on the edge of Springfield. A map of the city and the Lincoln sites was available for us to do some planning. Tomorrow we will be driving on the Lincoln Heritage Trail into Springfield, Illinois to check out some of the historical sites.

Walking tour:

  • Arriving early to the museum we took off walking around the Old State Capitol past the Surveyors Museum, which was hosting a IPTV program after opening. Past old buildings with curved fronts, an area with information about the shops that were in the area when Lincoln was in the state house.
  • The Donner Party started in Springfield.
  • The Pottawatomie Indians went through Springfield on their relocation march from Indiana to Kansas.
  • Dentistry in this era consisted of pulling the loose teeth that people tended to have. False teeth were made from ivory, metal and wood!
  • Mary Todd Lincoln was the daughter of a Kentucky aristocrat. Lincoln was the son of an illiterate Kentucky farmer. Mary was ambitious for her husband and assertive in giving him advice on proper clothes, social behavior, and political decisions. (In that time women were considered responsible for the guardianship of the family morality & Christian conduct!)
  • In 1854 after Douglas, senator from IL, pushed the Kansas-Nebraska petition thru US congress which would overturn the 1826 MO compromise line Lincoln feared the spread of slavery to western territories. He gave a 3 hour speech at the Old State Capitol! (Later we learned that when he was 19 years old he and a friend took a cargo of meat, flour & etc down the Mississippi to New Orleans. He observed the slave market. It made an indelible impression!)
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

An impressive building. What a contrast with a log cabin standing under trees on one side and the tall pillars of the White House on the other side.

There are two holographic and special effects theaters that make his life and times come alive.

Inside the log cabin a wax figure of young Abe is sitting by the crackling fire at night with his dog at his feet snoring!

As a lawyer Lincoln and his partner Herndon argued 380 cases in 17 years before the State Supreme Court. He was very lenient with disciplining his children. Tad & Willie would visit his office and play ball with the papers, scatter ashes, climb on the furniture, etc while Abe worked.

A display in memory of reporter, Tim Russert, lets you witness the 1860 Presidential Election as though it was happening today, complete with television news coverage and campaign commercials! There were 4 candidates. Lincoln was campaigning for the preservation of the union and the constitution. He actually only campaigned in the North. Douglas campaigned for popular sovereignty. Breckinridge campaigned for states rights and John Bell campaigned for peaceful compromise! Lincoln won the election with 40% of the popular vote, but 180 votes from the electoral college.

After the election 7 southern states immediately left the union. Lincoln appointed men to his cabinet that had been his political foes. It was an interesting mix of backgrounds.

In his inaugural address he stated that he would not fire the first shot in the upcoming war between the states. The South obliged by firing on Ft. Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. (There is a display showing all of the communications between him and his cabinet members leading up to the first shot. He really tried to not have a war.)

He and Mary were criticized from all sides, personal and political, during his presidency. The executive mansion furnishings were broken and tarnished with wear when the Lincoln's moved in. Mary worked to refurbish it, receiving criticism for even doing this.

One of his stovepipe hats made from felted beaver fur is on display. The supporting band on the inside is slightly stretched because he stored letters and notes inside his hat!

They had both had a lot of grief in their lives, including the death of 2 sons. Willie died in the White House from typhoid fever while 500 guests dined and danced at a celebration of the redecorating of the White House. The Lincolns had spent $1,000 of their own money for the party.

One display shows the Civil War in 4 minutes highlighting each battle in succession and the total number of casualties. The north had 80,000 more casualties.

Lincoln would go to the telegraph office daily to receive current information on the war from the front. While he was there he wrote the Gettysburg Address. He was not even the "main" speaker at the dedication of the cemetery. It was a famous orator, Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours before Lincoln took the stage. Lincoln was asked to say only "a few appropriate remarks" and the organizers did not even know if he would show up!

His funeral train took 15 days to travel from Washington, DC to Springfield. More people viewed him dead that saw him alive.

We spent over 4 hours just in the museum! The displays using realistic wax figures are awesome. The information presented is easy to read & understand. It would take more than a day to see all of the historical buildings in this city!

There was a gentlemen at the parking garage paying for his parking, who graciously explained how to operate the kiosk. I think we had a big question mark look on our faces as we approached!

Headed Home:

Took state highways up to Macomb, IL going through the town of Havana, which has a water tower that was built the same year as the Eiffel Tower. It is the 4th oldest water tower in Illinois still in use. Looks like a tall brick tower with a metal silo on top.

We shared our Motel and restaurant in Macomb with deer hunters! And probably some UNI fans because they played the next day at Western Illinois University.

First experience with a gyro at the local restaurant. Very good.

Crossed the Mississippi River at Keokuk and drove the Great River Road through Ft. Madison. Over to Hwy #218 and the avenue of the saints and home.

Thank you for traveling with us!
Prairie Schooners

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