Before crossing the Mississippi River we drove to the waterfront to view the great waterway up close. The river is slowly rising, and many towns in its path have already flooded while others prepare for flooding. Sandbagged buildings and flooded parking lots mark the waterfront. Trees usually lining the dry waterfront are now underwater.
We drove across the Mississippi, bid Iowa farewell and continued east, driving through southern Illinois. We immediately noticed the roads - visibly worse than roads in Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa, with more potholes and roads in need of repair. There were also more billboards marring the landscape.
Before long, relative to cross country driving, we entered Indiana and lost an hour passing into the Eastern Time zone. We played the license plate game, unable to do so the previous couple of days because the few cars seen were local ones.
Dropping a few dollars in the state of Indiana, we drove on to Ohio the following morning – actually this morning, but it seems like a long, long time ago. Our first destination was the Banana Split Festival in Wilmington. We cruised the display of old cars and enjoyed ice cream. Even Charlie (the dog) had a great time. Discarding an almost-empty tub of vanilla ice cream, the very nice ice cream scooper let him finish the dregs remaining in the bottom.
Trip highlights vary for each traveler. Our grandson has so far found the following experiences of special interest:
Make-your-own waffles at the motel breakfast buffet.
A motel indoor pool with four fountains spouting water into the pool.
Dessert at the Dairy Point in Greensburg Indiana, indulging on strawberry shortcake and an ice cream flurry. A late lunch/early dinner (we were kind of confused with the loss of an hour) was a close second, feasting on pancakes and a milk shake.
Make-your-own banana splits at the Banana Split Festival.
The obstacle course and games, also at the Banana Split Festival.
Then there are things that will probably not evoke fond future memories. Our nine-year-old traveler pipes up, as we drive through Illinois, “Haven’t we been here before?”
“No,” I tell him, “it just looks like we have. This is the same landscape we saw in Nebraska and Iowa and now Illinois.”
A couple of hours driving through southern Ohio and we arrived at the Wings and Ribs Festival in Pomeroy, our dinner stopover.
After dinner, crossing the Ohio River and venturing into West Virginia, we began to feel as if we were almost home. ‘Only’ 400 miles to travel tomorrow, our last day on the road.