Wednesday, October 12, 2011

St. Louis to Cape Girardeau MO

St. Louis to Cape Girardeau MO
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Up and ready to go after breakfast with good coffee! Mr. Brit helped us make the 10 mile trip to Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site.
 Symbol of Cahokia Mounds

We visited the Interpretive Center first and it was exceptionally well done. They had a film that we again viewed with about 100 children. The displays helped us understand the Mississippian Indian culture that lived here from 900 – 1300 AD. This site is contemporary with the sites at Chaco Canyon and the Phoenix Basin.  There are many earthen mounds in three different shapes. The most impressive is Monk’s Mound - the largest earthen structure in North America. It has a perfect north south alignment. The number of Indians at the height of existance here was around 20,000. No one knows why they left the area in 1300 AD. Ben climbed to the top of Monk’s Mound; Jane hiked over to the bottom of the mound – about half a mile.Some steps Jane can do again but not these!  The photos do not do it justice. Ben was able to see the St. Louis skyline clearly which was at least 10 miles away.

 Ben after his climb up Monk's Mound

We enjoyed looking around in their very nice gift shop with Ben buying a book and Jane some earrings. We also looked at a structure called Woodhenge – wooden poles placed in a circle like Stonehenge to allow the culture to determine the date of the summer solstice. The morning was well spent and we both enjoyed learning – Jane learned a lot but Ben loved it all since this is one of his areas of study.
 Yet another Mississippi River crossing.

After crossing the Mississippi yet again we found our way back to the Great River Road and drove south towards Sainte Genevieve where we anticipated another Great River Road Interpretive Center.  (remember, the first one in St. Paul was closed the day we were there) While it did not appear to be far the traffic was heavy and we finally arrived very hungry and ate our lunch in their parking lot. Much to our disappointment while they still had all the signage that they were a GRR Interpretive Center – they had stopped since they did not have much traffic after I55 came into being. They did have a nice exhibit from Smithsonian regarding life on Main Street across the country in the 50’s.  Needless to say we were disappointed. So on down the road – today alternating between US61 and I55 – both with GRR markings. Missouri does not seem to have as much signage and other than Hannibal and Ste. Genevieve there was not much emphasis on the Mississippi itself. The roads were not close to the river – this may be due to the threat of flooding – more an issue after the Missouri joined the Mississippi. We were unable to see the confluence due to industrial sprawl in St. Louis. 

In Ste. Genevieve we explored the town a bit finding the ferry to Illinois and their levee with huge doors to close when needed for both the auto road and the rail road.  A local gentleman explained the flood of 93 to us. The flood water reached over 49 feet. This would have been well over the top of the Sprinter on the road we were driving on. 

 The top of the marker to rt was 93 high water of 49+ ft

We decided to stop in Cape Girardeau MO as it was in the right place. There was a campground and lots of restaurants as we were hungry for some beef. Jane found a city walking trail near the campground and walked 1 ½ mile in addition to doing all her exercises. May seem strange but a picnic table is an excellent exercise table – even better than floor! 

We found an Outback nearby as none of our searching turned up any good local restaurants other than a pizza place and an oriental restaurant….both sounded good BUT beef was on our mind!  A filet for Jane and prime rib for Ben filled the bill. Colors for sunset were fantastic even tho the scenery was a parking lot!

Cape Girardeau Outback Parking Lot!

Full moon was pretty tonight and it was in the 60’s – nice after the hot afternoon in the 80’s  Forecast is for some rain tomorrow. Tomorrow will be completing MO, a bit of Kentucky and making it to Northwest TN. We have never been to that part of our home state.

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