Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
We pulled into town just in time to go see the fireworks over Lake Michigan from the Navy Pier. We walked over from our hotel. The problem was that the closer we got, the more crowded it got. Now, if you know me, you know I hate crowds. They just make me jittery and nervous. Well, this was a crowd like I had never seen before. Even my wife had had enough when a guy sat down so close to her that he was practically in her lap. We got up and headed out. We decided to go to dinner instead. We headed for Lou Malnati's which we had heard made the best Chicago-style pizza in the city. We ordered the basic pie that we had heard was what to order. It took 30 minutes for it to arrive and when it did I have to say, I wasn't that impressed. Chicago-style pizza is famed for the thick crust almost lke a pie crust it is so flaky and for how the pie is put together. First, they put on the cheese, then a layer of sausage and the tomato sauce goes on the top. Anyway, I didn't care for it that much. Give me a New York style, anytime! We walked back to our hotel late that night having seen nothing of the fireworks.
So, of course we dropped by these two places to check things out. First, Knox College. We stood on the same steps that Lincoln stood on when he debated his opponent Stephen Douglas in 1858. Imagine that, I stood exactly where Lincoln stood! Today, on either side of the door into the building are plaques that commerate the debate that was held here so long ago.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
After touring the home we had lunch at a little downtown place with outdoor garden seating which was really nice on a very warm day.
Another hour or so and we arrived in the Quad cities. Our hotel was on Iowa side so we crossed a bridge over the mighty Mississippi River. Barges hauling agricultural and mining products were being towed up and down the river. It must have been nearly a mile across. After checking into our hotel we decided to see as many local attractions as posible since we had to leave early the next day. So we headed back across the river to Moline, Illinois, home of the John Deere Company. I have always dreamed of owning a John Deere tractor for my garden, but they are a bit expensive. So here I am in the next best thing. Oh well, it is probably a little too much tractor for my yard anyway.
We drove down to the river because we wanted to walk along the Mississippi. We found a spot and walked along for a half mile or so and then turned back. It is big, but not too big for this little family of ducks.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We decided to visit as many of the Lincoln sites as we could fit in and we managed to see quite a lot. Yesterday we drove to his tomb and walked around after all the tourists had gone home. We had the entire tomb to ourselves which made it seem so much more than just a tourist attraction. It was quiet, peaceful and without people making noise or fidgety kids running and climbing on things. It felt like the sacred place that it is.
Tomorrow we drive to Davenport, Iowa, another new state, the home to the John Deere Company and we cross the Mississippi River!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The rest of our day in Cincinnati included a quick trip across teh Ohio River to a totally different state--Kentucky! We drove around and looked in on a couple of old churches and neat old neighborhoods. We also walked along the Ohio River and looked across at the skyline of Cincinnati. From our vantage point we could see the Cincinnati Reds baseball park and the Bengals football stadium.
Next we hopped back in the car and drove back over to the Ohio side of the river. Cool, huh? Two states divided by a river. During the days of slavery the Kentucky side was a slave state and the Ohio side was a free state, so all a slave need do is cross that river and they were free. Of course it was a lot harder than that and we visited an amazing museum along the banks of the Ohio River to find out just how difficult it was. It was the National Underground Railroad and Freedom Museum, one of the best museums I have ever visited. I wish we could take a fieldtrip here so you could see it for yourself. Here are a couple of photos I took while there.
Talked with some wonderful museum docents, walked through exhibits and saw films and slave re-enactments. All incredibly done. But our day was far from over. We needed to get back on the highway and head for our next stop and our next state--Indiana.
As we left Cincinnati we made that other stop at Putz's ice cream and split an ice cream cone of their delicious creamy yellow soft serve. It cooled us off too as the humidity began to rise in the hottest time of the day. We don't have to deal with the problems of humidity here in the northwest. We can have a pretty high humidity but because the temperature is not high we don't really feel the humidity. But in the midwest where teh temperatures can reach into the 90's and the humidity 90%, it is easy to feel pretty miserable some days. You feel the seat dripping down your back and just want to get out of it and into an air conditioned space. Fortunately, our car was air conditioned and so were our hotel rooms so we were pretty comfortable most of the time.
While stopped getting gas I noticed a White Castle hamburger place nearby. Northwesterner's may not know about White Castle becasue we don't have then out here. They are mostly in the midwest but they are a chain. They have also been around many years. White Castle is famous out there. I have never had a White Castle hamburger so naturally I wanted to try one. We went in and I saw immediately taht they were very small. I mean small. A couple of bits and it is gone. So some people will buy a bag of them, like 10 and eat them all. They are pretty small. Still, I only bought 4 and split them with my wife. They are pretty simple, a very thin patty, a few onions and mustard and catsup, cheese is extra.
On we went and eventually arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis 500! Before checking in to our hotel we stopped at the highly regarded road food stop called Shapiro's Deli and shared a pastrami sandwich, and sides of cole slaw, a potato latke and their famous macaroni and cheese. I am a huge fan of pastrami and the gold standard for pastrami to me is Katz's in New York City. This was pretty good! Our day ended having visited 3 states--Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Whew!