Thursday, May 14, 2009


Next, it was on to Springfield, IL, where this year is being celebrated the bicentinnial of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

This has been one of my favorite spots so far. In fact, we liked it so much (we were here in late April) that we are back to finish exploring this week.

So, a little background. Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809 in Kentucky, second child of a pioneer farmer and carpenter. In 1816, the family moved to southwestern Indiana, where they live in a three-sided shelter until their log cabin is built. The family moves to Macon County, Il. in 1830. Soon after, Abe moves to New Salem as a young adult.

From the website: "Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, about 2 miles South of Petersburg and about 20 miles Northwest of Springfield, is a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem formed a turning point in his career. Although he never owned a home here, Lincoln was engaged in a variety of activities while he was at New Salem. He clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836 after an unsuccessful try in 1832. "

So, here are some images of life for the young Abe Lincoln:

This was the weekend for a big Boy Scout Jamboree, so there were A LOT of Scouts camping out here. When I first saw this, I thought "OH NO" but the kids & leaders were super - asking lots of good questions and generally being everything you think a bunch of teenagers COULD be, but generally, aren't....

In Springfield, you can see many preserved sites where Lincoln lived, worked, and made history.
The old State Capitol:
On the street:

We also spent a lot of time in the Presidential Library & Museum. No pictures in the museum, but this is the mail lobby area of the library - the banners along each side are "Happy Birthday" messages from school children in the area. Quite impressive.

At Lincoln's tomb, we again ran into the Boy Scouts who had marched through town to the tomb. Again, they were so orderly and respectful, we were really impressed.
The tomb - I can't even start to describe...
And at our RV Park, a sure sign of spring:
That's all for now....

Next stop - Mark Twain's boyhood home Hannibal, MO

"Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink - under any circumstances." Mark Twain's Notebook

A few highlights:

Our campground (Mark Twain Cave & Campground):

Note that the trees are just budding out - we seemed to be keeping about two weeks ahead of spring. However, the dogwoods and other trees were in full bloom. Also note how "crowded" the campground is at this time of year! That's us with the awning out behind the tree.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum was very interesting. This includes an exhibit of 15 original Normal Rockwell paintings...of course, no pictures were allowed inside the museum, so you'll have to go see for yourself.

Overview of Hannibal from Lover's Leap:

View down Main Street:

The Mighty Mississippi River from the waterfront:

The Lighthouse:

And the famous fence.....
Grant's Drug store:

Finally, one of my favorite things was this amazing quilt by Kathy McNeil (this picture doesn't do it justice - check out her website):

That's all for now!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catching up.....still

Now, where was I?

Off to Branson. (We were there in April...I know it's now May; give me a break)

We went to three shows:

The Presleys (no, not those) are a very entertaining extended family group. Very enjoyable.
This family has been performing since the beginning of Branson as a center of music; they build one of the first actual theaters after performing in one of the caverns in the area.

Then there was a group called Pierce Arrow with a pretty good George Strait look-alike:

Then, our favorite, SIX:

These guys are REALLY GOOD!

While in Branson, we also met new friends, Terry & Charlie Athorn, who graciously invited us to join them for Easter dinner. I hope they had as much fun as we did!
I also had the chance to take a really nice hike while John nursed a sprained ankle. Here are a few highlights (click on any photo to enlarge):

More later.....