Day 6: Driving galore and 3 states

Trip Start Sep 08, 2005
Trip End Sep 25, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Today took us from Paducah, KY, through parts of Illinois, and into St. Louis, MO. It wasn't a terribly exciting drive, we were mostly just focusing on getting to St. Louis in time for dinner with Winkie's cousin, Ann, and her husband, Bill. After departing Paducah, we headed north on the Great River Road, a scenic byway that is supposed to give you great views of the Mississippi River. There were a few scenic turn-outs, and the road went through some very pretty countryside, but it didn't travel right along the Mississippi like we thought it might.
Before we got out of Kentucky, however, we stopped at the Wickliffe Mounds, the "location of a Native American village of the Mississippian mound building culture, occupied from A.D. 1100 to 1350." We stopped there on a whim, and it turned out to be fascinating. There were buildings around the archaeological digs and you can look at the actual site excavations. There was a ton of information about the culture itself, archaeology, and the ongoing debate about how to properly respect cultures' beliefs while excavating ancient or abandoned sites. A continuing mystery is the Native American's apparent abandonment of the area.
After that fun stop, we trucked on northwards, across the Ohio River into Illinois, through lots of low-lying delta farmland--the hay is mostly baled, the soybeans are fat, and the corn stalks are ready for harvesting. We crossed the Mississippi at the town of Chester, IL, the home of Popeye. So we ended up skipping Memphis in the interest of time, but hey, we got to see the home of another American icon. After crossing the great muddy, Julia navigated us over various country roads, hill and dale, thru several barnyards, finally intersecting the interstate into St. Louis, over the Missouri and to our cousin's house, where we are now.
Three states, three rivers, what a day. Tomorrow promises touristy exploration of St. Louis and probably lots of fun.
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