Ever since we sold our house in July, we have been on the move! Of course, that IS what the RVing lifestyle is all about. I last left us off, in the blog posts, in Arkansas. After enjoying that area so thoroughly, we were off to see family in Illinois. But we took a meandering path that still included some interesting stops.
Ever since seeing the Cars movie years ago, I have wanted to drive on Rte 66. We found portions of it in Missouri, so we just had to drive on it.
All along Rte 66, there are things to look for from by-gone days. Wagon Wheel Motel is one of the few motels from the early parts of the famous road that is still in operation.
The Wagon Wheel motel had a car that is the right year for the heyday of Rte 66. Matt had fun pretending he was changing the oil.
There are more recent things to find along the route too, like this huge rocking chair. It was the world’s largest, but has since been upstaged.
As we drove around Rte 66 in Missouri, I read about it. I began to understand that this was a road built to connect towns along the train route just as cars became popular. It is one of our nation’s first highways. People loved taking this road from Chicago to LA and often used it for vacations. It was referred to as the Mother Road and services, such as motels and restaurants sprang up all along the way. It was fun looking for the few old signs and places left.
While there, we also visited a cavern that was a hide out of Jesse James and his brother. My only thoughts of them were from movie clips I might of seen here or there and I had a rather lightweight view of them. After reading about them on Wikipedia, I realize they were pretty awful.
But Meramec Caverns, where they brothers hid, were beautiful. I am really not one much for caves because I love the light! But this one was pretty with an underground river in it.
At the end of the tour, they showed a video on part of the formations.
Finally, we made it to Illinois for Thanksgiving. What a joy it was to spend it with family.
And to see the “Rat Hat Gang”. This gang ended up being much cuter and nicer than the ones that hid in the caverns. Our sweet grandkids had fun playing with the pop guns and hats that we had gotten for them in Daniel Boone National Forest. One of them called the hats, rat tail hats, and the gang name stuck.
While there, we visited Casey, IL. Remember we had seen a really big rocking chair along Rte 66? Well, the town of Casey can now boast of having the worlds largest rocking chair and well as many other hugh items. We just had to get into the love bird cage.
Our time in Illinois came to a close and when we went to hook up, we saw this on the bumper. One of our sons is notorious for doing this. Now I can never wash the truck….
Now we were headed towards Florida for our stopping place for the winter. But first we figured we could fit in some exploring on the way. Another thing that has captured my imagination is the Mississippi River. Tom Sawyer’s Campground had spots right along the river. We loved watching barges as they floated by. Can you see that big one out the window?
We were close to Memphis, but the only thing we did there was to go to the Bass Pro pyramid. What a huge place! After shopping, we decided to go up the largest free standing elevator and see the view from near the top. It was a lovely view, although a bit freaky since we had to walk over a see through floor to get to the railing. Heart pounding!
Our next stop was Natchez, MS. This area is known for so much history! Here is Matt after finding a geocache near some ruins.
Here are the Windsor Ruins. It once was a beautiful home that burned down. We had an interesting time getting to this place. We had to take back roads to it and were almost there when we encountered construction that had the road completely blocked. Matt parked the truck and got out to see if there was any way he could drive around it. While he was doing that, I sat in the truck, engine running. Suddenly, the driver’s door opened and a man peered in and said, “What are you up to, Girlie?” I sure was not expecting that! The first thing I did was point to Matt, who was now returning quickly, and told him that we were trying to find a way to the ruins. He gave us some detailed instructions, none of which included road names, and we were off on our way. We were glad for our truck! Here is a video I took on the road he told us to take: Lost In Mississippi
I found the soil so interesting. It looked to me like all that was holding soil in place were tree roots. So different than the PA soil I grew up with.
We drove on another interesting road, Natchez Trace. What a beautiful road! It is a 444 mile scenic drive that is part of the National Park Service. This had first been an Indian trail and then used by early settlers. This photo shows a part of the old trace called “Sunken Trace.” As people traversed along the path, it became deeper and deeper because of the type of soil.
Natchez is known for having several antebellum homes. We only had time to tour one, Longwood. It is octagonal.
But Longwood’s main attraction is that it is unfinished. It was being built at an unfortunate time and the Civil War stopped its progress. The family lived in the basement for years until it became a museum.
There are still paint cans and other tools that were abandoned as the workers left for the war. The tour was extremely interesting and well done by the curator.
I wanted to see New Orleans, but Matt wasn’t into it. So, we went south of the city and stayed at Grand Isle State Park on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.
We felt like we had the place to ourselves, except for the many birds! The campground was lovely and it was just a short walk over some dunes to the beach.
Our last night there had a magnificent sunset.
But that sunset heralded some bad weather. After a night of strong wind, we woke to rain. We decided to head away and towards warmth in Florida. But we didn’t make it very far before the rain turned to snow. This was not in the plan! We knew we had many bridges to cross and were in an area that hardly ever got snow. In fact, they hadn’t had snow in 8 years. We pulled off into a gas station and I called to see if any RV resort nearby could let us stay a night. We found one 5 miles away on a bayou. We sure didn’t expect snow on a bayou, but were thankful for a place to stay and warmer weather the next day.
And we made it to Florida! Not our wintering spot yet, but a really cool place, Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring. I had seen this place in some YouTube videos and really wanted to visit it. But when we got here I started to freak out. First of all, it was only 60 degrees outside. Not hardly swimming weather. And then the place to swim was a dark cave in 72 degree water. As I said before, caves are not my favorite thing. But I got brave and did it! And it was a beautiful place.
So, next we will be heading to our wintering spot, Sarasota. Until next time, Happy Adventures!
We met this Minion in Casey, IL. He was hiding a geocache that was called, “Say hi to Dave”. He was very friendly!