L & C Trail Start and End—Ours Close to End!

Trip Start May 06, 2012
Trip End Jun 18, 2012

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Casino Queen and Casino RV Park

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, June 17, 2012

We had a storm last night and figured we would have to travel in the rain today, but luckily it stopped in the early morning hours, and by the time we pulled out at 9:45 the sun was shining, the temperature was already 79 degrees and the humidity (shudder!!) was 76%!! Our drive was almost immediately back into driving past farms and fields.

We didn't go very far at all because our first stop was 20 miles down the road at Fulton, Missouri, thanks to the suggestion from Mary R. of Navy Circle…and we ALL know that it is wise to listen to Miss Mary when she speaks! Her suggestion had been to visit the piece of the Berlin Wall that was there. Since we had seen pieces of it before, our first thought had been to pass it by. However, there was a sign on the interstate advertising the National Churchill Museum. I Googled it on the iPhone and we discovered that Winston Churchill had made his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton on March 5, 1946. That, added to Mary’s suggestion, had us turning off the interstate and driving into Fulton at 10:45.

What a great stop this was! Driving into Fulton and onto the Westminster College Campus, one of the first buildings that caught our eyes was a lovely church sitting on a small rise. According to their brochure, “the Church of St. Mary is a magnificent Christopher Wren designed building that dates back to the 17th Century. The Church was painstakingly moved from London, England to Fulton, Missouri, where it was lovingly reconstructed, stone-by-stone, on the Westminster College campus. Featuring a handcrafted tracker organ, and an original Wren Pulpit, the church now stands exactly as Wren’s design envisioned in 1677.” The National Churchill Museum was in the basement of the church.

The sections of the Berlin Wall were there to the side of St. Mary The Virgin, Aldermanbury. These particular pieces were donated by Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. She designed the Berlin wall pieces into a very moving sculpture which spoke to us more than any others we have seen in the past. After looking at the Wall pieces, we went into the church from inside the Churchill Museum. It was amazing. The original church burned in the London fire of the 1600’s. Christopher Wren became a guiding force in rebuilding London after that and this church was one of his projects. It was rebuilt in 1677 and stood until it was bombed in World War II. Standing ravaged for twenty years, it was finally bought and moved to Fulton where, as is quoted above, it was reconstructed stone-by-stone. The church had stained glass before it was bombed and the decision was made to use clear glass as Christopher Wren had originally purposed as he felt that there was no substitute for natural light. The window glass was made by Blenko (sp?) Glass Works here in this country and it really has the look of early, early glassmaking. It was a lovely, lovely church and can be rented out for weddings if timing and scheduling permits.

After touring the church, we went back down to the Winston Churchill Museum and did a short tour of it. The folks there have done an amazing job collecting artifacts of his life. There is information about London during the War, archives of his papers, a life line of his early years up through 1946 and beyond and this is all displayed wonderfully in many, many informational exhibits. It would have been very easy to spend many hours there drifting from exhibit to exhibit but we felt that we just had time for a quick once over and by 12:30 we were once again on the road heading east.

A little after 2:00, we stopped at an Olive Garden for a Happy Birthday/Happy Father’s Day (I decided to let John share my day after all!) meal. We tried a new item on the menu, grilled chicken and Asagio Cheese tortellini, grilled asparagus, soup and some bread (forgot the name) and it was wonderful. We would definitely try it again.

Our original plan had been to get to Mt. Vernon, Illinois but since we had done a tour that we had not planned on and had taken time for a nice meal, we decided to head for St. Louis instead. Actually, we headed for EAST St. Louis. Laura, I know we told you that we wouldn’t go there, but the RV park advertisement said it has 24 hour security and a view of the Arch…what else could we do??

We crossed the Missouri River for the last time on this trip at 4:00pm and discovered that we were once again on the Lewis and Clark Trail. We arrived in St. Louis at 4:20 and crossed the Mississippi River at 4:30. At 4:45, after driving through what looked like where the Chevy Chase film “Vacation” was filmed (truly!!), we pulled into the Casino Queen RV Park.(Welcome to East St. Louis!!) We can see the St. Louis Arch from our windows, and the campground is great—paved, level lots, excellent electricity and it feels very safe. We are actually staying very close to the spot where Lewis and Clark spent the winter before heading out on their Voyage of Discovery. It is kind of neat to be where it all began and where they came back through on their way from Fort Clatsop to Washington, DC. I guess we can safely say that we have almost ended OUR adventure near the same spot! They continued to DC from here as we will continue to Mt. Juliet.

We are settled in for the evening. I doubt that we will take the shuttle to the casino as we have found in the past that there is usually way too much smoking going on in casinos for our comfort. We have had an excellent Birthday/Father’s Day combination and will be inching closer to home tomorrow.

We drove 161 miles today.
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Mike C on

When I think of East St. Louis, I think of Chevy Chase getting lost in "Vacation"

Melva Meador on

Happy Birthday Pat - Happy Father’s Day John! We pray you have a safe trip back to Mt. Juliet.

Lora on

Pat and John,

I am glad you had a nice birthday and had a wonderful day. I would love to see that college campus it looks beautiful. I have never been to the St Louis Arch.

It was also nice to see John standing tall under the Berlin Wall.

I will see you both in a couple days when you are home.


Linda & Rick on

Happy birthday Pat and happy Father's Day John! So glad you both had a very good day!

Joyce Partridge on

It will be good to have you home. I feel as though I traveled right along with you and I truly enjoyed it. What a great documentary and photographs!

dwlp.travelkids on

Joyce (and everyone else!), thanks for the good words. It has been fun sharing our journey with so many family and friends and getting positive feedback encourages us greatly.

Mike C.--am I getting full credit for agreeing that you needed an iPad? Am I a great mother in law or what!!

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