Saturday, November 22, 2008

A bit more detail

I hired a car the other day and accompanied by Bob (Dylan) and Melissa (Ethridge) took a drive to St Louis, Missouri. It is just across the Mississippi from Illinois.

Firstly I headed out West and then took the Illinois River Road (highway 100) south. I was stunned and pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful it was.

Countryside Illinois is all about farming and this time of the year the fields are all yellow with corn stalk after the harvest. Some of the fields were in the process of being ploughed. It's been a late harvest this year apparently due to weather conditions.

The trees have all lost their leaves, but the leaves remain on the ground so the colours are still bright and bold in places.

The river was huge - nothing like it in NZ or the UK - although the Thames comes close! I came to the conclusion that it must be a major summer holiday spot due to the number of camp grounds along the rivers edge.

After a bit on the Ilinois river I crossed through a lovely farming valley and drove along the Mississippi instead. I was most impressed to set eyes on this river. I had bought Bob's CD simply because it had a song called Mississippi. It proved to be a good thing - excellent driving music!

I didn't get into St Louis until about 6pm and all was dark. There was no sign posting giving even a vague indication of where downtown was. I had booked a hotel so needed to navigate there otherwise I could have just stopped anywhere.

I followed my nose and made it to the only street name I knew - Broadway. I then spotted exactly where I wanted to be so I was mighty impressed! My nose does not always do me justice when trying to follow it but in this case it did me well!

After something to eat, I took a walk out on the river front to the arch that is St Louis. When asking around before I left as to what I should do in St Louis, the only thing anyone could tell me was the Arch!

It was freezing!! About -7or8C. I had my down coat with light polar fleece under, gloves and scarf and I had to keep moving!

I got some photos whilst watching my back very carefully. The place was not exactly bustling with tourists (or locals) and I was very aware of being alone in the dark with my very expensive camera.

Back to the hotel and I spent $10.00 in the adjoining casino. I guess an hours entertainment for $10 is not too bad... Hmmm, not sure where my luck went - last time I went to a casino I came out with just a little more then I spent after an hour.

Then it was bed and to be rudely awakened by the phone at 1.40am(?????). I didn't bother answering - although I ought to have and mentioned my displeasure!

Another rude awakening at 9.15am, a quick shower and the 100 mile drive back via the main road.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I took a 24hr break and arrived back at noon today.

While driving I saw
11 dead opossums
5 dead raccoons
5 dead small unidentified creatures
2 dead medium unidentified creatures
1 dead large bird

...and rather unpleasantly 5 very large splats of blood and fur that I take to be the remains of deer meets truck.

I did also see a few living creatures - not good statistics proportionally though.

2 deer munching in a field
1 completely bonkers red squirrel - skimming along a railing on a bridge with it's body low as possible looking somewhat like a SAS recruit.
1 hawk like bird
3 trillion small black birds swooping and darting around in an enormous 'cloud'

And I think that was it.
I saw the Illinois river - a tributary of the Mississippi and I saw the Mississippi!! I was very excited about that.

And this morning on my way back, I put petrol in the car at a the incredible rate of $1.66 a gallon!!! A definite change from the $3.40'ish that we put in the car in Florida just a few weeks ago!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lincoln in Springfield

Abraham Lincoln - standing outside the building in which he practiced law.

The house in which he lived with his wife and 4 sons

The gorgeous stove on which they cooked. This was my favourite thing in the house!