´¯`•. June 09, 2017

Illinois:  Lewis & Clark

We’re still on Day Four, for another day or so, now.  Because frankly, there was a LOT that we did and saw.  And it takes me some time to get thru it all… if’n I wants t’do a good job.

Our first stop of the morning (after crossing to Missouri) was the Lewis and Clark State Historic site.  This was because it was the furthest away of the things we wanted to see, and I thought it’d be best to drive out and then work our way back.  (It’s the anal thing.)  The site was where Lewis & Clark built a fort and spent the winter preparing their crew and forming a solid team.

This is where Louis & Clark started their westward exploratory adventure!
(Well, close.  The river shifted, and the spot is in the Mississippi, now.)

There were interactive things on the way in to give us an overview of what we would be learning, and honestly, I liked that very much.  Kind of a ‘preview’ before we even hit the lobby.  When we did go in, the lady told us a film was just starting, and we should watch it.  I’ve learned that the films bring everything home for the kids.  They get the STORY, and then visit the exhibits knowing what they’re looking at.

The film was very well done.  And the kids really like them.

People always talk about Lewis & Clark being led by Sacajawea, but did you know they had a full crew of men along, as well as Sacajawea’s husband (she translated from her tongue to his, and he translated from his to English!)… and on the adventures there was also a big black dog!  “Seaman” was the pooch on the Lewis & Clark expedition.

They also gave tours of a re-creation of the original Fort.  Sadly, it’s in such disrepair, that we weren’t allowed anywhere near it.  And it made NO sense to me – it was just built in 2006.  This is not an old structure.  Illinois just did such a piss-poor job of constructing it, it’s already a shambles.

The man who served as our tour guide was a sour old grump who thought we were just ‘tourists’ wanting a look see, not interested in his history.  Turns out he has a doctorate in history, and once we got him talking, his sourness faded, and he was a wellspring of fascinating information.  He told us that in the Lewis & Clark movies, York is always shown as this massive, buff dude with no shirt on… on one Hollywood set, the actor playing York almost drown, because they had life vests under everyone else’s coats, but he had to be buff n’ manly… and when the boat capsized, he had no floatation!

Anyhow, in reality, York was NOT buff and stud-man.  He was merely a chubby manservant of Clark’s, who had been his valet since for years.  He’d never done hard work in his life, and they actually recorded when he did anything that involved manual labor in the journals, because it was a HUGE thing for him!  In fact, they ran into trouble, once, and Clark wrote that York was huffing and puffing behind everyone else, because he was so fat and out of shape!

We had a long, long talk with the historian man.  He was much nicer when he found out we were actually interested in the things he had to say… and he saw us back inside, where we now had time to go into the museum, itself.  And look…!!

It was fascinating, there!  The outside of their boat.

And the inside.  Everything is interactive, you can open the kegs,
barrels and boxes.  It was amazingly well done.

We left Lewis & Clark, and went next to the Confluence Tower!

One hundred fifty feet tall at the top level, this tower is a memorial of sorts to the two men who set off on their journey at the ‘confluence’ of rivers – where the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi meet.  From up there, we got to see where the rivers converge!

And see the St. Louis skyline, in the distance.
(The arch is the shiny thing on the far left.)

The convergeance point!  And what a view…!

The family at the top.  For posterity’s sake.
(It was kind of skeery, because it was so WINDY.)

Owen shows the difference between Michigan and Illinois.

Our tower guide was the lady with the ‘turkey’ joke from two weeks ago.
She likes pandas.  A LOT.  She had pandas everywhere… even on her car tires!

Anyhow, we came away with coloring books, postcards, brochures, a map of the journey to put up in our house, and we got to meet [not only the panda lady but] a woman from Oregon who was doing the ENTIRE Louis & Clark journey, herself!  How fun is that?  She and a bunch of other ladies from the west coast.  She was very interesting to talk to, too.

Definitely a great educational experience!



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