´¯`•. June 14, 2017

Illinois: Planes, Paw, and a Park

The day we left Pere Marquette was supposed to be a mostly driving day, but there were things that we wanted to see along the way, so this calls for a ‘mixed visit’ post, of sorts.  We started off at Cahokia, which you saw yesterday.  Then my guy indulged me and let us stop at Scott AFB.

Confession:  I’m a total Air Force Brat, at heart.  I lived on military bases most of my growing up days.  We were military for twelve years, and as a result?  I LOVE me the aircraft.  More, I get wistful around anything having to do with the Air Force.  So when I found out we’d be driving right past the exit where Scott AFB was… and that they had a park with planes set up, just outside the gates?  I asked (okay, maybe it bordered on embarrassed begging) to stop there.  I’m spoiled, have I mentioned this?

We got to see one take off, while we were there!  And I kept thinking about
how Pop would’ve loved to have been here, with us.  I digress…!

And there were three flight crew members hanging out in the parking lot, which made my kids SO happy – that’s big stuff! – to see the personnel in their jumpsuits.  They look exactly the same as I remember them.  Ah, nostalgia…!

We stopped for lunch, and then drove down to Murphysboro.  I’d read of a ‘best kept secret’ waterfall that was supposedly really beautiful.  It was ‘just west of Murphysboro’ on a ‘spillway’ (?!), so when we got there, I had a rough idea of where it was, but thought maybe a local would help us not have to drive in circles, towing a camper while doing it.  So I asked at a gas station [six miles down the road from it].  They had NO idea what I was talking about, but the manager came out and said there was this access road [spillway] that kids liked to go back to… it had some falls.  So that’s where we headed.  I hadn’t a clue what to expect.  But it wasn’t this!

These are the Kincaid falls – the ones that I was looking for!  There are more up further that are supposedly just as pretty, but it was so flooded, the passage to them was thigh-deep.  We couldn’t do that.  Besides, one of my cottonmouths was squished on the road at the turn-off.  So… mmmno.

Do you see something unusual in this picture…???
He was hidden at the bottom of the falls.  Isn’t he beautiful?

About this time, I tried to get help from a fisherman in finding an alternate route to the upper falls.  Maybe someone who spends time back along the spillway would know how to get around the flooding, or about another way up?  The son and wife referred me to ‘Paw’, so I went out on this dock (!!) to talk to ‘Paw’.  ‘Paw’ patted the steering wheel of his boat and said, “You wanna see the falls?  Get one of these.”  (!?!?!) He was somethin’ else, Paw was.  BTW, they got them some South’rn accents, down the bottom a’Illinois.  He was a’hollerin’ at Maw to lay on the gas n’ pull his boat out, for criminy’s sakes!!  Anyhow, he was shouting from the boat at me as Maw gunned it and towed him up out of the water and away.  He never did stop shoutin’, even when he was out of hearing range.  It was… funny.  Okay, not as humorous as Junior in Indiana, but it was silly.  So apparently we saw what we were able to see (without going in).

Time to get back on the road… but not very far.
We were only headed east a little to a city called Carbondale.

Carbondale has paw prints all along their roads.  SO weird…
And it wasn’t just this road – they were on all the roads we took thru town!

So is this.  I have no words.  Really, I don’t.
But believe it or not, No Name Rd. was my next destination.

Next stop?  1300AD Medieval Fantasy World.  This is a ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ park, created by the parents of a young boy who was killed just yards from his house.  They bought the property, and instead of putting a cross on the corner, they built him a HUGE memorial, and I’d heard it was amazing.

NoTe:  If you go here, know that it’s going to be MISERABLE if you have a trailer in tow.  There are no neighboring businesses to park in, and the parking spots along the side of the park fit a car… there aren’t any places to park a camper.  We ended up driving down ‘No Name’ to the dead end, backing the camper up to turn around (!!) in people’s driveways, and then pulled over along a small wooded area – but we were parked on the street, and I’m sure the residents weren’t thrilled.  It’s not big-vehicle friendly.

But what I’d read about this place wasn’t wrong.  How about THIS?!

Brian was skeptical when I told him, but
I’m just nerdy enough to HAVE to go here, on our travels.

It’s a huge park/playground with wizards, creatures, and castles.

The details and sculptures are amazing.  There are dungeons, secret passages, hidden ‘tunnels’, and all accessible for the kids to run and play in.  (There was also a squirrel who swiped somebody’s birthday cupcake and was chucking frosting at people.  But that’s not related… just another funny along our travels.)

This guy?  He’s got it goin’ on.  (Look at the detailing…!!)Yes, there’s someone in the gaol.

Yes, those are real swords.  In a playground.  Tru dat.

It was a visual feast for the eye…!!

My kids were absolutely awestruck.  They saw unicorns, wizards hurling glowing balls at each other, and a whole pergola full of sun-shaped mirrors and mosaics, and there was a birthday party being held there (hence the cupcake), with Nerf as the theme – the kids were having a blaster battle.  And the people who own it were building more to it – it was being prepped, and there was a big trailer full of cement for more scuplting.  So it was definitely worth finding!

Then we took the scenic route to Fern Clyffe State Park, got a lot at the campground, (again, no camp host, all night, and no reservations, anywhere along our trip) and we grilled burgers. The scenic route to Fern Clyffe is pretty, though – you have to admit it.

It was such a strange day… ancient archeological/historical site, then an air base, then a waterfall, and after that, fantasy and fun.  Each thing was so vastly different from the last…!  We really try to mix it up and get a wide variety of things to see/do when we travel.  And it works!

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1 Comment

  1. Catherine Miller

     /  June 14, 2017

    I just heard Wright Patterson in Dayton OH has added presidential planes to the aircraft museum. I’m not a huge aircraft fan but I think the president’s planes would be interesting. May make a road trip down there.


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