30.08.2011 - 30.08.2011 68 °F
We decided last night not to drive all the way to St. Louis and instead stay in Hannibal, MO about 110 miles north. We have been really tired as we are sleeping in a new bed each night and driving so many hours each day. We started our trip 7 days ago with the attitude that we wanted to see everything. Now, we have accepted we can only see a few things and we are more set on getting to our next destination. In regards to the town of Hannibal, it is the hometown of Mark Twain, but It looks like it has seen better days. I believe if it wasn't for some tourist coming here, Hannibal would shut down. Most of the town is very old and run down.
We left our hotel in Davenport today at around 9:30am. We wanted to treat Mia to a special treat as she has been such a good trooper with all the driving. So we decided to go to the Schwiebert Riverfront Park in Rock Island, IL. If you click the link, you can see a short video of the park. It is a very large area along the river for everyone. There is a large playground, a covered stage for shows and plays, a water fountain area to cool off at etc. We hung out for about 1/2hr to give Mia some time to do something she would want to do.
We left the park to head south and it became very overcast and started to rain. It was pretty miserable to drive in and was not good to enjoy the scenery. Our next destination was a town called Nauvoo. It is a Mormon town with a lot of history. They built a new temple in 2002 that is absolutely stunning. The temple is caped with a 165ft steeple. We walked into the temple, like you would a church. All people are usually welcome at a church right? We walked in and there was a man dressed in an all white suite behind a large tall desk. He asked how he could help us. We looked like drown rats with our rain coats on and were dripping all over the floor. We must have been a site to see. I said to him, "Yeah we are here to see this whole place. What's the situation with this place?" Very classy, huh? He kindly told us that they do not give tours and this temple is only for members of the church that are in good standing. I smirked thanked him and then we decided to check out the visitors center. We met a very nice young lady from Miami. She was maybe 22 and was a Sister and was doing a mission stint in Nauvoo. She of course tried subtlety to convert us to the Church of Latter Day Saints and even offered to send folks to our house to talk to us in NH. We were just interested in finding out what the best things to see were in the 30 minutes or so we had planned to be there. Although, the sister was very nice, we left town quickly as we found out that every place we would be interested in seeing had another person like her there. We didn't want to deal with the converting conversations.
Up until this point we had only caught glimpses of the river. Most of our drive was again through corn and potato fields, mostly corn. This part of the country can feed the whole world with just corn! We finally hit a nice stretch of about 15 miles right along the river, sometimes within a foot or two of the water. We stopped at a scenic area to take a few pictures as there were so many lilly pads with huge yellow flowers and all types of birds darting everywhere. This was our most enjoyable part of the whole drive today.
We pulled into Hannibal, MO today at around 5:30pm. Unfortunately, everything "Mark Twain" was closed. It had closed at 5pm. However, we were still able to walk around and get some pictures. One thing we were excited to try was the Mark Twain Dinnette. Supposedly, according to the Road Trip USA book that we have, this Dinnette has world famous fried chicken. So we thought we would give it a try. Our first clue that maybe something was a little strange is when they had ashtrays on tables and asked if we wanted smoking or non. I didn't think that existed anymore? The chicken was ok, but the sides were gross and cold and the salad bar had rotten cherry tomato's. But hey dinner was only $22 for 3 of us..
Here are a few observations I haven't posted yet:
- I have seen two cigarette drive through stores. They just sell cigarettes. Crazy
- There are trains everywhere we go. I mean trains every five minutes. Trains with 100+ cars and unfortunately if your in a hotel by the river, your sleep schedule is dictated by the train company
- We miss coffee. I don't know what the folks in the midwest do for coffee, but I haven't found anything except in the big city.
- We have seen one police car since we started our trip. We have been through 5 states. I see about 10 police cars every day on my 45min commute to work!
- You need to be careful when you open your window through the midwest. Amy wanted some more air today and Mia did not want the windows opened as she was cold in the backseat. We decided to open the windows for a few minutes because Amy was tired. Right when we opened the windows, we past a very large cattle farm (50+ cows). They were all in an open barn area and it stunk terribly. Amy and I just looked at each other and burst into laughter while squeezing our noses
Tomorrow, we are off to St. Louis!