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August 14, 2017

Westward Bound!

We saw some of the Oregon Trail on the way out as we crossed Wyoming, I thought we might follow it west on our way to Idaho.  But that idea was short lived as the date of the eclipse grew closer.  Then going north to collect North Dakota as a state (our map rules: do something unique in that state and spend the night).  There’s still time to do some exploring along the way, if we do not dally too long.  But in the end we decided to follow the Great American Eclipse route backwards, but that idea got sidetracked too.

Illinois is the Land of Lincoln and although we’ve driven through the state a few times, we have not been to Springfield before.  The Lincoln family home, Presidential Library, museum and tomb are all located within a few miles of each other.

Lincoln lived in this home nearly all his adult life.  Not only is the home preserved but those of his neighbors.
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Fran tried knocking on the door, but Abe wasn’t there.  The only way in is via a free tour with a docent.  A ticket is required, free at the Visitor Center, to limit the nuber of people in each group.  The tour schedule did not fit our schedule, but there is a movie shown in the VC that shows all that would be seen on the tour, that we were able to do.
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After his election as our 16th Presedent Linclon provided a moving farewell speach to Springfeld.
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The Lincoln Tomb is a tribute to the man and his family.
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From Springfield it is a short drive to Hannibal MO, the childhood home of Samuel Clemens.  Twenty years after leaving to seek his fortune, Clemens was finally published nationaly under the riverboat term Mark Twain.  The term means ‘safe waters’ of at least 12 feet.  I expected we’d see some memorebilia at a museum and be on our way.  Well not quite, all of the Tom Sawyer books are rooted in this little town.  Having read the books long ago, it takes a long afternoon to see most of the highlights.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is really eight buildings including a museum of memorbilia in town that has two floors of tribute and displays.
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And a third floor of memoribilia.  A full wall of Rockwell originals depicting the adventures of Tom Sawyer, along with personal items donated by his daughter Clara.  The $9 gains admission to all 8 buildings.
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I was kinda hoping Fran would not discover the correspondence and newspaper clippings, we’ll be here awhile Smile
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Many of the furnishings of the home are original with period pieces used to fill in what life was like growing up in a small Mississippi River town
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The Becky Thatcher home is accross the street, next to the Law Office of John Clemens the father of Samuel Clemens.
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What Tom Sawyer Story would be complete without a visit to ‘the cave’?  That would require spending the night in Hannibal.  The Mark Twain Cave RV Park is older, but reasonably kept and reasonably priced and very well wooded providing some welcome shade.
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And the cave?  I did not go in, but Fran says it is by far THE BEST! and we have been to a few caves.  Long narrow passages that intersect, but it is mostly level and no crawling is required.
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Several colorful side slots.  The cave is still alive as water continues to erode the limestone.
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Even a wedding chapel.
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There is no doubt that it is Mark Twain that supports the tourist industry of Hannibal.  But there is another famous Hannibal resident, Margaret ‘Molly’ Brown.
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Whoot – Whoot! finally a decent red wine!, at least for this area …
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The entrance to Cave Hollow West Winery has a display that is a kaleidescope, while looking thru the prism the flower bowl is rotated to see the various illusions.
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This is really a tasting room as the winery is in mid-MO.  They offer 3 tastings FREE, additional trials are $1 ea. They do import grapes from CA and WA, but offer 3 dry red wines with MO grown grapes, if you want sweeter wine the options increase.  I liked the label on the ‘Mischief’ better as the label is a photo of a statue in town.  But the Signature Red is just a better balance and will be entered in the 2017 ‘Wine Off’.
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We’ll try to get on the eclipse route in the morning, but this was indeed more interesting than seeing how Carbondale is preparing for over 20,000 visitors next week.  It'll be fun to see where we 'should have stopped' vs where we 'will stop'.

Here's a fun little eclipse tracker, just put your zip code in and see how much and what time the eclipse will be in your area. 

Where will you be next Monday Aug 21?

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