(Chuck) For several years we have wanted to find a place on the Mississippi River and watch the tug boats and barges as they make their way on the river. Looking in Days End, we found a place to stay just up river from Hannibal in Canton, MO. There is a very nice city RV park which is located right on the banks of the Mississippi River. We stayed in a site which was immediately below Lock and Dam #20. We had a front row seat to the barge traffic as the progressed up and down the waterway. The full tows on this part of the river seem to be fifteen barges. Three wide and five barges long is an impressive sight. Each barge is about 200 feet long and 35 feet wide, which makes the total length of the tow to be over 1000 feet long. Each barge can carry 1,500 tons of commodities. Each year 60 million tons of grain are moved downstream for export. In addition to grain, coal, petro chemical products, lumber wood products and sand and gravel are moved to markets.
It was a treat to watch as the tow boats maneuvered the barges out of the locks and into the river. The larger boats are over 150 feet long. The big diesel engines which develop up to 10,000 horsepower leave the water churning for several minutes after the tow has moved down the river. We stayed on this site for four days as we enjoyed the river experience.
(Jan) We drove across the river to Quincy, Illinois one day to visit the Lincoln Douglas Interpretive Center and the John Wood Mansion. The Interpretive Center on the town square highlighted the 6th Senatorial Debate between ‘Judge’ Stephen Douglas and Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Their series of debates centered around slave and states rights issues. Douglas won the Senate office but one year latter Lincoln was nominated as the new Republican Party’s candidate for President.
We also toured the John Wood’s Mansion. Wood and Lincoln who were both Whig party members, worked to establish the Republican party. Wood was an Illinois Governor. The town of Quincy was named for the 6th U.S. President John Quincy Adams and one of his desks is in the Woods mansion. While in Quincy we had lunch at Fatbacks Smokin’ Racks BBQ. Pretty darn good! Could had used a sharp knife and a real fork but the flavor was pretty amazing.
(Chuck) As we moved North into Iowa we stopped at my cousin Kathy’s place to re-connect after several years and to exchange some genealogy information. I came out with some excellent photos of our common ancestors and I left my research with her. We brought our scanner to her house and scanned many photos of family members which I did not have. It is a good way to share photos. We had a great visit with Kathy and Jim and also had a good meal at a local BBQ restaurant and some excellent ice cream for desert.
(Jan) On our way to Ames today we stopped in Pella, Iowa to see the Tulips! Pella was founded in 1847 when eight hundred Dutch immigrants settled the area. Each year Pella hosts their annual Tulips Festival featuring millions of beautiful blooms. We were a little early for the festival but certainly got in on seeing the fabulous tulips!