Road Trip – St Louis

As Duke and I were planning our road trip and discussing places to go I suggested St Louis because I had never been there. So yesterday we drove from Springfield, Illinois to St Louis, Missouri. The first sign of St Louis was the Arch in the distance. It is enormous.



Wednesday our first stop in St Louis was the Budweiser Brewery. We took a free tour and got to see Clydesdales and their stable. The old brewery buildings are red brick and ornate. Of course the beer tasting was fun too!




Genealogy is a long time hobby of mine. I'm working on an article about George Robinson an ancestor of mine who was in Massachusetts in the 1600's. Before I left Reno I identified some books that I need to review that I can't get in Reno. All of them were available at the St Louis Library so Wednesday afternoon we went out to their main library. I went to the back of the library, up some steps, around a corner and up some more steps. And then I was in heaven. Oh, what a genealogy section they have! And I got the information I needed. I wish St. Louis was closer to Reno.




This morning, Thursday, we walked to the Arch and went to the top. The little capsule we rode in to the top was tiny. On the way up there were 5 of us jammed together for the four minute ride.

The top was small too and so were the Windows. But oh what a view! The museum at the base is closed because there is a big reconstruction project going on. After coming down from the viewing platform we watched a movie about the construction of the arch. What a accomplishment!




Next we took an hour long boat ride on the Mississippi. It is a beautiful day and we learned about all the bridges and traffic on the river.



Now we are on the way to Memphis to visit my sister.


Road Trip – Keokuk to Springfield

Yesterday, we continued our five week road trip heading south. Before we left Keokuk we stopped at the locks on the Mississippi River to watch a barge going up river.




Then we crossed the river into Illinois and headed towards Springfield, the capital of Illinois. About half way there we stopped at the Dickson Mounds Museum. This area along the Illinois River was at the heart of the Mississippian River culture and there are many mounds from the towns that existed here.



In Springfield we headed to the capitol. This is the 27th state capitol that Duke and I have visited. Many don't give guided tours but Illinois does. A guided tour really enhances the experience for me. Our guide, Jack, did a fantastic job.

Jack said that although the Illinois and Iowa capitols were built from the same plans, the Illinois Capitol is taller. He told us that at 405 feet the Illinois capitol is the tallest domed capitol in the country.


The interior of the building is colorful, bright, well maintained and stunningly beautiful.



From the capitol we went to the Lincoln library museum. They had two shows, one about Lincoln and one about the library. I don't know how they did it but it was very difficult to tell if the narrators were real people or video of some sort.



There were lots of exhibits but I liked the one that is a tally Lincoln did of the votes he got in 1860 and 1864. You can see Nevada was added to the 1864 list.



We ended a great day with dinner and shared a root beer float.



Road Trip – Iowa

When asked we tell people the destination for our road trip is Duke's High School reunion in Manchester, Iowa. The reunion was Saturday night. When we leave Iowa tomorrow we will have spent 5 nights here in Iowa. We had a great time site seeing and visiting family and friends.


Thursday, Duke's sister, JoAnn, came to Manchester. She drove in from western Iowa. We arrived at Jim (Brother) and Marilyn's (Sister in law) house ten minutes before JoAnn did. We did a lot of visitingand catching up. Then after dinner we drove around Manchester and checked out the new white water park.


JoAnn headed home Friday. Friday afternoon Duke and I went to Marion, Iowa to get together with a group of friends Duke has known since college. We had dinner in Stone City where massive amounts of beautiful sandstone have been quarried and there are many old butter yellow sandstone buildings It was raining hard but we had a great dinner.


Saturday was Duke's 45th High School Reunion.




Sunday was a beautiful clear day with temperatures in the law 70s. Jim, Marilyn, Duke and I went to Backbone State Park near Manchester. We grilled brats for lunch and then hiked along the lake. It is a gorgeous spot, the weather was perfect and there weren't even bugs!



Today we went out for breakfast with Jim and Marilyn then headed south. Since today is another beautiful day we stopped at Stone City where we had dinner Friday night when it was raining. Stone City is also one of the places Grant Wood lived so we tried to recreate his American Gothic. We didn't have a pitchfork or anyone to take the picture. I put the iPhone on a timer and rested it against a water bottle!



We also checked out a couple of the old sand stone buildings.


The nearby prison is pretty amazing too.


From Stone City we went to New Windsor in Mercer County, Illinois to look for the graves of my Great great great grandparents Jacob and Anna Menold. They were buried here in the 1880s. Once we got to the cemetery Duke and I went in different directions to start searching. I turned around and there it was! We had parked right next to it. The stone is very weathered but by looking very closely from different angles I was able to decipher it. I have been studying my family history since I was about 16. This stone filled in some new information! Very exciting!





Our next stop was Duke's Grandfather's farm near Montrose Iowa. Duke's Dad grew up on this farm and Duke visited the farm as a child. We found it and walked all around. The old barn is still standing. Duke's Dad worked for Kent Feed. We found a Kent Feed sign on an old shed.




We have had a wonderful time in Iowa. I think that in summer it is one of the prettiest places in the world, and it sure was fun to catch up with friends and family!


Road Trip – Red Wing, Minnesota

Duke and I stayed in Red Wing on our road trip in 2010. We liked it so much that we decided to explore Red Wing again.


Yesterday we drove the short distance to Red Wing from Minneapolis along Highway 61. Highway 61 follows the Mississipi. We will be on it a lot as we head towards Memphis.

In Red Wing we did some exploring. The Red Wing shoe store and museum is fun. Duke bought some shoes. Although he has big feet his new shoes are smaller than this!


We browsed a wonderful book store, Fair Trade Books. It was a very nice surprise when the owner told us that on your first visit he gifts you a book. So Rick chatted with us to see what we like to read and gave each of us a book!

Then we went to Hanisch Bakery around the corner and shared a milk shake and a cookie.

We had a great dinner on the river and slept well in spite of the thunder storms during the night. it is raining this morning. After breakfast we are headed to Manchester.



Road Trip – Minneapolis / St. Paul

Duke and I are about half way through our 5 week road trip. We spent yesterday near Minneapolis visiting with my Aunt and cousin and the family. My Aunt Dorothy took us to the Minnesota History Center. From the central gallery we had a beautiful view of the Minnesota State capital.



The museum was fun and very interesting. Here Duke, Aunt Dorothy and I are in front of a sod house.


We all went out to dinner and had fun catching up.