no matter where you go, there you are

Saturday, January 15, 2011

oh the memories...

Over Christmas my family and I went to visit my grandparents in St. Louis and Michigan via driving. It was quite nostalgic for me and the times of summer. Although our original plan of driving through Pennsylvania got switched due to blizzard conditions, we did drive through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois on the same path Molly and I took on our first days together in late July.

There's not much to say about the drive that first day except that it was long...very long. And we were able to drive for 4 hours at a time, a feat that seemed impossible by the end of the trip. Early on the morning of July 27th we headed out from L's house, scooped up some unfortunate looking low-tide Hingham Harbor water, dropped mail at the post office stuck in rush hour.

So much for the early start. We traveled down across I-90 west, then cut down into Connecticut via I-84. From there we trekked through the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area and hit the first of many road construction areas in Pennsylvania. At one point the merging completely stopped traffic for at least 10 minutes. It was a little ridiculous and every hour or so we hit some sort of lane merging or closures, inevitably slowing us down a little.

By 11PM we'd made it to the Ohio/Indiana border and too late to find the camping ground I'd scouted out, we checked ourselves into a hotel and got some well-deserved rest.

The next day was a much shorter drive, only about 6 hours to St. Louis. However, due to the monotonous landscape of the midwest, the drive felt tedious and long.

Yet, as we were driving through Illinois we kept seeing signs for the "Lincoln Historic Farm" and both of us thought that'd be cool to see so we pulled off the highway. Now a little word of advice...although it says it was at that exit, it doesn't mean that its right off the exit. Turns out the Lincoln Farm is actually about 15-20 minutes of driving along country roads off the highway. This was fine for us, but if we'd been in a time crunch, our detour would not have been the wisest of decisions.

Getting to drive along the country roads was actually really fascinating. The corn was at its prime height and the endless fields scattered with farmhouses were quite a sight. Molly, who'd never seen anything like it before, was really astounded and wanted to pull over for pictures.

We found a spot and did our tourist thing. While I was getting a couple of "artsy" photos of the corn I heard a voice asking us what we were doing. The farmer who's corn had become the subject of our photographs had just pulled into his driveway. A very nice man, he didn't care we were taking pictures, just curious as to why. My explanation that we were from Massachusetts and had never seen corn before seemed to humor him enough. Molly and I then hopped back into the car and headed to the farm.

Turns out, it wasn't Abe Lincoln's farm, but his father's. Abe would visit periodically but he never lived there long-term as his father had started it when he was already much older. After spending more time than expected in the visitors center watching the informative video, we finally got to tour the farm. It wasn't huge, just a barn and a few other buildings, and like Plimoth Plantation there were volunteers dressed in period garb demonstrating the chores and tasks of the farm's inhabitants. It was pretty interesting and I could definitely see this as a "field trip destination" for local schools.

in the barn

main house
in the house - only bedroom

We finished our wandering and with the heat bearing down on our backs, decided it was time to leave. Back in the air-conditioning, we began the final leg of our journey to St. Louis. The most interesting part was passing through the town of Pocahontas, IL and geeking out over its name and the Powhatan Motel sitting just off the highway.

Not long after though, we approached the Mississippi River and in the distance we could see the St. Louis Arch, gateway to the west.

No comments:

Post a Comment