>Road Trip Day 1 – Home to Springfield, IL

>    For a day that started out gloomy and is ending up with thunderstorms, it has been a very good day.  We started out at 7:30 AM.  Well, that’s when I got out of bed.  We packed everything, closed up the house, ran down the checklists, and loaded Willow in the car.
The first stop of the day was the animal hospital.  We love Bethany and trust them with Willow’s well being so boarding her there made perfect sense.  We still felt guilty leaving her behind.  I imagine we were feeling a lot like parents dropping off our child for camp for the first time.  With Willow out of the car, we rearranged the stuff in the car and headed off.  We stopped at the Fifth Third drive-thru and had to wait a few minutes for them to open to get some cash.  We filled up the gas tank, got breakfast at BK then we were finally on our way.  It was about 9:30 AM.
It started off gray and hazy with rain falling intermittently.  The road was long and the scenery monotonous.  We played with the radio each time we lost our station.  (There was a station out of Peoria that hung on the longest.)  We had fun reading signs as we drove.  There are some interesting town names and attractions.  The monotony was broken briefly by the sight of a pair of enormous white wind turbines off of the highway.  They were some distance away and it was so hazy that we didn’t have a completely clear view but they were still impressive.  I have seen a lot about them on television but have never seen any of them let alone ones that large.  It was really something to see.  Then there was also driving near Starved Rock and crossing the Illinois River.  The river and the trees there are beautiful.  They are fully green now and  the view of them from the highway was pretty good.
We had an unexpected passenger in the car as well.  A small black ant amused us by crawling back and forth on the dash and windshield.  It could still be in there now.
By the time we reached Springfield, it was not as gloomy; the haze was gone.  The only problem was the Navigator stopped talking and I missed the exit.  It wasn’t that bad though and we found our way anyway.  I power cycled the cell phone and we were back up and running.
We actually drove by the Illinois National Guard Armory.  There are some pretty interesting vehicles parked there.  That was near our first tourist stop, the Illinois Military Museum.  We went there because of the captured leg of Santa Ana but we were pleasantly surprised by the exhibits.  The museum is maintained by volunteers and relies on donations and the sales from the gift shop.  The first floor hosts a memorial to those men and women who have given their lives in recent operations.  There is a solemn feeling to it with the little metal plaques photos, and personal items placed there by loved ones.  It is pretty amazing to see it.  The man working there (a volunteer and former military) was very friendly and helpful..  It was at this time too that we first ran into the boy scouts.  We learned later that this is the traditional time for boy scouts to make their Lincoln pilgrimage.  The rest of of the exhibits were interesting with the old weapons, uniforms, flags, other items, and many pictures.  It was worth it to stop.  I picked up a teddy bear in an army uniform and it was time to move on.
Next we went to the cemetery to see Lincoln’s tomb and the Tomb of Mr. Accordion.  The cemetery is an amazing place.  We enjoyed it even though the intermittent rain had turned the 70 degree day muggy.   I was surprised to find that the cemetery felt very peaceful with its green grass, huge trees, and aged tombs and graves.  Lincoln’s tomb is a beautiful structure.  The quiet was interrupted there by a troop of girl scouts and later the same boy scouts we saw at the museum.  We visited the actual tomb which I quite liked.  It’s so solemn and there is a feeling of being in the presence of the man himself.  I rubbed Lincoln’s lucky nose and we went off to explore more of the cemetery.  We found the old vault that held his remains while the monument was built.  There are many amazing old monuments on grave sites.  It is something that must be seen.  We photographed the tomb of Mr. Accordion.  His real name was Roy Bertelli.  He was sold this corner plot in error but they failed to take it back from him so he had this large monument made with an above-ground tomb.  It’s a corner plot and so you can’t miss it.  Good for him!  The cemetery is also home to the war memorials.  They stand in honor of our fallen soldiers.  They gave their lives for our freedom and the memorials are something everyone should see.
We left the cemetery just before some heavy rain began to fall and we turned toward driving by the capitol buildings (new and old).  Then off to Cozy Dog for lunch.  The corn dogs there really are amazing.  Steve picked up a Cozy Dog hat and it was finally past 3 (about 3:30) so we could check into the hotel.
We’re  at the Howard Johnson.  It isn’t bad.  We got what we paid for, I think.  We have 2 queen beds., TV, and internet (not the best connection but we have it).  I’m glad we checked in when we did because it has been thunder storming for quite a while now.  We’re planning to just relax for the rest of the night and order in from Pizza Hut.  It’s been a really good vacation so far.

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2 thoughts on “>Road Trip Day 1 – Home to Springfield, IL

  1. >Sounds like you're having a great time. I went to Sprinfield once years ago but I was little and can't remember it. You're making me want to go back!

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