Friday, June 11, 2010
Hanging around Litchfield, Il
We have spent four days in Litchfield, Il, as a staging stop before we go to Springfield for our first Winnebago rally of the paid variety as we tour the sights of Springfield and then Chicago, Il.
While in the area, we tried the famous Ariston Diner in Litchfield along the original route 66. This was started by a Greek family in 1924 and remains a family operation to this day.
One day we headed west until we hit the Illinois River, then south, the first town we came to was Grafton. It is best known as the place where the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers meet and continue south to St Louis as the mighty Mississippi River.
As we continued along the river, the high cliffs on the east side of the river emphasis the power of the river. The steady barge traffic attested to the economic value of the region. We then flew past the town of Elsha, which was declared a national historic site; we made a u-turn and returned to walk the streets of the town that claims time had forgotten. It has a very quaint charm and none of the usual tourist traps, so that you could imagine life as it was many decades ago.
We then stopped at the National Great Rivers Museum operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and located at the Melvin Price Lock and dam. This is one of many such sites that does its best to control the level of the great rivers as they are affected by heavy rain and flood conditions/droughts thru the years. As the high water marks indicate, this is not something that is completely controllable.
Finally, we visited the town of Alton, Il, which remains a town dependent on the river for its economy. The two historic sites of note are the statute remembering the life of Robert Wadlow, who at the time of his death at the young age of 22 was the tallest man in the world in 1940. The second is the site of the Lincoln/Douglas debate that took place in front of the Courthouse, which is long since gone, but remembered by the memorial on the spot where the debate took place.
While in the area, we stayed at the Honey Bend RV Resort, where we enjoyed a hill top camping spot with great views. There was the issue of regular train transits day and night, but we have become accustomed to this part of the RV lifestyle.