´¯`•. June 08, 2017

Illinois:  Alton and Around

Pere Marquette State Park is amazingly near to a very poignant place in the country.  This is why I elected to stay here for two nights, when we were on vacation.  It wasn’t so much to see Pere Marquette as it was to have a ‘home base’ from which to work from.  Because there’s a LOT of wonderful things in Alton and around it!

There are very few lighthouses in Illinois.  Six listed as being in Chicago, but only two are actual lighthouses, the others are ‘cribs’ (basically big concrete islands with no lighthouse on them).  But there’s one on the Mississippi – in Grafton, between Pere Marquette and Alton.  It was erected in 1993, in honor of the devastating floods.  Ironic, it’s flooded up to the door, in my picture!

The drive to Alton.  Looks like the White Cliffs of Dover, ‘cept they’re not white
and it’s not Dover.  And technically they’re not cliffs, I don’t think…?

She’d better pray.  Or she might float away… s’all I’m sayin.

Alton is an industrial town.  But it’s pretty impressive, driving thru this!

The murals in this state, though, I have to admit are lovely!

Alton is across the Mississippi from St. Louis, Missouri.  You can take the Clark Bridge (named for Lewis & CLARK) to get there.  Since I’ve never been to Missouri, we went aross, just to say we did it!

Proof we crossed the Mississippi to Missouri.  How ’bout that?!

Missouri was rough.  All five minutes we were there, getting gas.
A Missourian Post office.  No kidding.  We decided to leave that state.

Back across the bridge to Illinois.  Purdy, ain’t it?

From there we went to the Lewis & Clark Historial Site, climbed the Confluence Tower, visited the Great River Museum, and toured the Lock & Dam site. All of which are separate posts, and will be here, in the next few days!

The riverfront all along Pere Marquette, Grafton, Alton, and downwards is known thereabouts as a ‘scenic byway’, because this is where the Illinois River, Missouri River, and Mississippi all meet.  There is much to see, all along here, and as you’ll see, much to do.

This is… something I had not wanted to see.  I was intentionally going to miss it, because it’s ugly and stupid.  Apparently there was a Native American legend about a flying deer-eagle-lizard beast called the Piasa (pronounced: pie-a-saw).  It hung out in these caves and ate the indigenous peoples.  Then someone came along and drew a big picture of it on the rock.  We sadly couldn’t *help* seeing it, on the way back through to camp… so I took a picture.  It’s… sort of history.  Myth & Legend, anyhow…!?

THIS is what I wanted to see.  I saw a picture on-line, but there was NO information as to where it was – a big, smooth, rounded park of stone.  And to my delight, it was along the same road – from Pere Marquette to the attractions!  So we got to stop at it, after all!  It’s crazy huge, and beautiful.

Turkey vultures along the river, watching for the next meal.

After this, we went back to PMSP and took the trails.  I posted about that, yesterday, so you can page back to see the pictures.  Moving on…!

I’d read on-line about a really awesome restaurant called the Fin Inn, in Grafton.  They said there were HUGE fish tanks at every table, and people could watch massive fish swim by while they were eating!  So for dinner, I’d planned for us to go to Fin Inn… except that there was a ‘for sale’ sign out front.  Oh, no!  I ran in, and was assured that they’re still open.  *Whew!*  So we got to eat at a place with HUGE fishtanks by the tables!

The kids were SO geeked about it.

We tried turtle soup, ‘eagle’s nest’ onions, cod, shrimp, catfish bites, and buffalo fish (right out of the Mississippi!)  It was crazy weird food, but very interesting to try.  Turtle is sweet – who knew?!   NoTe:  Yes, we were unclean for about an hour (technically).  I told them it was okay, because we were doing it as a study, and as a travel experience, and not just as a willful act.  Now my Frisco at Hardee’s?  TOTALLY sinning.  I did.  I wish I were remorseful.  I ate bacon.  I *LOVED* every bite.  I’m sorry Frisco’s are unclean.  But I don’t pass one up when we leave lower  Michigan.

Speaking of unclean critters… look at this mamma-jamma!  WHOA.

Then we collapsed at camp, afterwards, to regroup.  That’s good, right?
More to come, tomorrow…!

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