The Beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
I was in St. Charles a few years ago, and really thought it was charming, so I wanted to bring Ron back here to see it. There is a Nature Center and the Lewis and Clark Boathouse, as well as a “vintage” Main Street and, of course, the Missouri River.
It was a short ride today; we were in the campground by 12:30. Of course, we left earlier than the past 2 days (8:30), and we lost an hour when we crossed into Central Time Zone at the Illinois border. It was also cold, damp, and windy, and there are frost warnings for tonight. Yeah Spring!
Indiana and Illinois are relatively flat, and quite green. There is a lot of water around here: streams, brooks, creeks, ponds, small lakes. Quite beautiful! I had forgotten that, like the area of Los Angeles in which I grew up, you often come across small “grasshopper” oil wells in the middle of a farmer’s plowed field.
The “Cross at the Crossroads” near Effingham, Illinois, is quite impressive. Here is what the web page has to say:
“The Cross at the Crossroads was built with a record in mind - according to the couple running the welcome center that day, the Foundation looked at the other World's Largest, and built theirs 2 feet taller. Inside the welcome center, you'll also find a video illustrating the construction of the World's Largest Cross, as well as models of the footing structure required to stabilize the monument.
The cross itself is made in four sections, and covered with a steel skin (sort of like a very elaborate Morton building). It's surrounded by little benches and monuments for the 10 commandments, always open, as a stop for truckers and travelers along Hwys. 70 and 57 (hence, the Cross at the Crossroads...)
It should be noted here that these pages contain many duplicate "World's Largest", as WLT Inc. is mainly listing monuments as the builders label them - this monument in particular gets a lot of correction emails, pointing out that the ACTUAL World's Largest Cross lives elsewhere: . . . the Millennium Cross in Macedonia is in fact the tallest cross in the world.
And in case a nearly 200-foot cross isn't surreal enough for you, this site is enhanced by ten rock-shaped (as in "Rock of Ages", natch) speakers next to the stone tablets for each Commandment, blasting out what sounds like the stuttering instrumental break from Pink Floyd's "One Of These Days." Press a button by each station and hear a bit of wisdom appropriate to the given Commandment.”
Other than the Cross, the other highlight of the day was the Arch on the western side of the Mississippi River, known as “The Gateway to the West.” If we were a little more clever, or a little younger and more observant, we would have been able to park, walk to the Arch, and ride in the tiny car up to the center of the Arch. Very claustrophobic, I’m told. But we couldn’t find the parking place for RVs and buses, so we just got to drive by and take a few unhelpful photos. Ron is convinced that 40 years ago, when he drove through St. Louis, he actually drove beneath and through the Arch. I have no comment about that.