Moline IL to La Grange MO
Sunday October 9, 2011
Biscuits and Gravy were a great start for the day! Not something we have very often but today seemed right….canned biscuits (the layered ones) divided in half and laid side by side in electric skillet with lid on are done in no time. The gravy in a can and heated in the micro-wave was quite good. You can cook just about anything with a microwave and an electric skillet! We were on our way to find the Great River Road. Our past couple days adventures in Iowa had diverted us from the GRR; but it was not difficult to locate and we were soon out of the city and into rural farmland in Illinois. We had to be very alert as the GRR ship wheel signs twisted and turned along a number of small county and state roads – back and forth staying as close to the river as possible. We passed through more corn and soybeans and an area known as the “yellow banks” where yellow sand was mined.
We continued about 100 miles until we came to the town of Nauvoo, IL. Nauvoo is famous for its’ part in the history of the migration west of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, as they prefer to be called. Joseph Smith founded the settlement as his followers were seeking a land to farm and practice their religion. They turned a swamp into a prosperous and growing community. In fact too successful as more and more people came to live here. The non LDS people in the area were threatened by the growing number of LDS and the friction caused the death of Joseph Smith and his brother. Brigham Young became the leader of the church and within 2 years of Joseph Smith’s death – the entire LDS community left for further west leaving the area they had developed in Nauvoo. The temple however was completed before they left.
LDS Temple in Nauvoo
In the past 50 years the area has been restored to tell the story of their struggles to the LDS church members and non members as well. It has become a “mecca” for LDS families to learn about their roots and tell the story to their children. The temple is beautiful and sits upon a hill overlooking the land where the restored village sits. The church has restored a number of the buildings and they are open with interpretive guides. They have also built a huge LDS Welcome Center telling the story of Nauvoo in film as well as numerous displays. The entire place is staffed by LDS members from across the country who spend a certain amount of “missionary time” here telling their story. We visited several of the buildings spending the most time in the Wainwright and Blacksmith Shop and in Brigham Young’s Home.
Brigham Young Style Wagon made in Nauvoo
The largest group of people we were with was in the Blacksmith Shop – there were probably 15-20 of us there and all but us and one other lady were LDS members. The people could not have been nicer and certainly made us feel welcome although they were aware we were not LDS.
LDS Brother demonstrates and explains making wagons
After a picnic lunch we continued south on the GRR. We stopped in Keokuk IA to find a location for Ben to search for Keokuk Geodes. No such luck. We did find a place open – a very run down riverboat that you could tour- and got a pamphlet on rock locations but the one we found was not open. Our searching was hindered by it being a Sunday and most things were closed AND we had no cell coverage. You can really become dependent on technology! After spending about 30 minutes trying to locate something Ben said – not something I want to spend any more time on – so south we went into yet another state - Missouri.
Further down the road which now was much more rolling and hilly we began to spy many a levee protecting towns, roads, and farms. One small town was nearly surrounded by the levee. There was space for our road to pass through the levee and a way to close the opening if needed.
Towns began having levee built around them
About 4 PM we stopped at Wakonda State Park about 8 miles north of Quincy IL. The park has lakes and seems to be primarily for fishing and birding. We set up our onda site, relaxed for a while. Jane got in time for all her exercises and a good walk. Ben watched some birds and took a nap
Campsite at Wakonda State Park
We were going to eat dinner at a Maid Rite Sandwich Shop in Quincy. This is a chain operating across the upper mid-west and we had not managed to be at any of them at a meal time. So this was about our last chance. Jane remembers eating these when traveling to her Grandparents in years past. All she remembered was they were a loose type ground beef in a bun. The sandwich was good but nothing to win an award in our book.
Super Maid Rite with Mustard and Pickle
We also drove around Quincy a bit looking at some of the old historic homes. There is a neighborhood that is known for having great variety in the styles of architecture. They were huge and beautiful but how many styles of architecture was beyond our ability… we know there were some Victorian, some Tudor, and lots of others! We drove back to Wakonda Park and enjoyed a quiet evening. Tomorrow we will be in Hannibal for the morning or all day depending on how it feels.