Illinois Trip Day 3

Springfield, MO to Galesburg, IL

We decided to go ahead and leave this morning without seeing more of the sites.  Back on the road, enjoyed the drive through Missouri.  This is such pretty country!

Got stuck in road construction traffic outside of St. Louis for an hour, but besides that, it was another great drive.  Everyone else slept through most of this drive, so there was nobody to share in my excitement most of the day, but it was gorgeous.  For several miles in Northwest Missouri, I-44 merges with the old Route 66, and it’s just what I expected.  The highway winds through the Ozarks and you can see the valleys and the communities from the interstate.

When we crossed the Mississippi, then the Chain of Rocks Canal, we were in Illinois.  I honestly don’t know what I expected before that, but the only memories I really have of Illinois was the one trip to Great Lakes bootcamp to watch my ex-husband graduate in the Navy.  It was 13 years ago, so the memories aren’t too clear, and are mostly of Chicago.  The Illinois I saw on this trip was anything but that.  Gently rolling hills, and lots and lots of farmland.

Starting late last night, there’s been a HUGE storm coming into the area… actually stretching from the Great Lakes to Texas.  There’ve been tornado watches and warnings, and a lot of people are worried.  Since we’re driving a rental car, we’ve been worried, too.  But while the drive has been windy, there wasn’t any rain during the drive.  We saw a Wind Farm just before Peoria, and had to pull off the highway to get my camera and takes some pictures.  It was really cool… amazing that there are so many of these windmills… Living in South Texas, we see them constantly being trucked north, and each blade is the length of a tractor trailer, then the stand is broken into three pieces, each taking up a tractor trailer.  To see so many of them in use makes me feel very small, so I needed pictures.  🙂

The wind nearly ripped the door out of my hand, and blew the trunk up before I could get to it.  I brought my camera out, standing with my stance very wide to try to maintain my balance, while snapping shots of the windmills.  It was wild!  I’ll upload some of those pictures here in a little while.

Tom spoke with Joe on the trip here, so we were trying to make it to town before 5pm, but the road construction traffic had pretty much killed that attempt.  Joe was not happy with our choice of hotels (again with America’s Best Value Inn), so he arranged for us to stay at the Best Western instead.  It is much nicer, I’m sure… also not as frugal as what I would choose to do.  😛  We arrived and unpacked, then decided to get a feel for town just as the storm was blowing in, so we waited, worrying… and it came and went in little more than 20 minutes.  No hail, no tornadoes (at least not here in Galesburg), just a thunderstorm that came and went.  Afterward, we got out and drove around town.  It was getting near dark, so we didn’t get to take any photos, but it is a very picturesque town.

There’s so much history here that my heart soars.  The architecture is amazing and what I notice first is that the town is so much more affluent than some of the small towns in Texas.  Here, nearly all of the historical buildings have been preserved… and they’re nearly all OCCUPIED!!!  Even in Victoria, both the older sections and the newer, many of the shops have closed.  Not so here.  I’m sure they’ve been hit by the recession, too, but it appears that they are weathering it better.

That was the end of Day 3.  Tomorrow is Tom’s interview, and my visit with my long-time friend, Tracie… and I get to meet her kiddos and her my youngest… 🙂

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