Land of Lincoln - Illinois
Welcomed into Illinois on the Ohio River by crossing the ferry. This was a fun way to celebrate the completion of one state and the beginning of another. Unfortunately in the "land of Lincoln" we did not find any Lincoln sites to visit like our visit to the Lincoln Homestead State Park in Kentucky.
Right away the boys and I found our first park of Illinois in Cave in Rock. The park was nice and saved me from having the boys in the car for most of the day. Thank you parks!
Off we went into Elizabethtown where we had some trouble finding accommodations for the night but luckily with some help from a local inn keeper we were able to find a very nice place in Rosiclare right next to the Ohio River. The campground host was very nice and just happen to have some local rock from the town. Rosiclare is one of the only operational mills for fluorspar which can be found in anything from toothpaste to makeup. The boys and I enjoyed learning about the local area. The gentleman gave the boys one rock each. Staying but the Ohio River gave the boys a chance to watch the barges come down the river. We also walked along the river bank and say plenty of birds flying high above.
Illinois was a short state bicycle ride for Dan. He finished in 3 days with the last night being in Chester. Once into Chester you find out that it is the home of Popeye; not the chicken but the sailor. Popeye the Sailor Man’s creator was born in Chester, Illinois and they have paid their respects to him by creating a Popeye museum and gift shop. Along with the museum there are 11 statues of different Popeye characters. I know this because the boys and I found them all. By 2020 the town will have 16 statues and may not stop there. I enjoyed driving and walking to the various statues. The city also has a weekend long Popeye themed festival the weekend after labor day in September for those die hard Popeye fans out there. It did seem like a lot of fun to attend; really how many of your friends have attended a Popeye festival? You would be the first! Just so we didn’t leave empty handed from the Home of Popeye I purchased a can of Popeye Spinach from the gift shop. The memorabilia was fun to look at although parenting fail on our part as both boys really did not know who Popeye was.
The boys and I also discovered another option along the way to fill our time. We found a walking path in Chester complete with workout equipment. While Conor did the elliptical, Aaron tried out the Tai Chi mover and I settled on pushups. We had a good time and celebrated our successful workout with a visit to the park at the end of the path. Gabriel enjoyed staying with us for the whole day rather than taking a nap in the car for a change even though he chose to lay down for most of our workout.
We also went through our first illness on the road as Conor did not feel good towards the end of the day but technically that was in Missouri since we crossed over the Mississippi River on day three and completed our third state. Onto the fourth state already! Illinois was fast but full of fun and yet another idea to keep us busy and entertained by a hunting for statues and starting a workout regimen. Not the land of Lincoln for us; but still a good time and found some interesting sites along the way.