Saturday, July 22, 2017

Warren G. Harding Home and Tomb

July 21, 2017
Becky and I have lived in Ohio for 40 years and neither of us have been to Harding's home or tomb. We've drove by it a lot and finally decided we should go. First was a stop at 29 Brew Pub. I had the Chicago dog and some of the best homemade potato chips I've ever had. Worth the stop alone!

 On to Harding's home. The house was built in 1891 for Harding and his future wife, Florence. They lived there for 30 years before he was elected to the presidency. He died in office and Florence never returned.
The home is not accessible and the tour takes about an hour. Becky went on the tour and listened to the guide tell stories about the President. They have 5000 original artifacts belonging to the President and his wife. The family is donating another 2000. They will close the home in September of this year and reopen in 2020 after a restoration to 1921 when Harding was giving his front porch campaign speeches. A presidential library will be built to house the artifacts and his presidential papers.
What is accessible is a small house that Harding had put up for the reporters when he was doing his campaign speeches. The house was a kit he bought for $1000 from Sears and Roebuck and put up in two days.

 The reporter house. below
 In the above picture, to the right is a tin structure on wheels. It is described below.
 Inside the reporter house are artifacts and information boards and a fifteen minute film.

We stopped by the tomb several weeks ago. Here are the pics.

 There are 46 pillars because 50 was too expensive.

To leave you off, a picture of the place we are staying from a distant hill.
 I made a mount for my camera so it is front of my face and not on top of my helmet. Hopefully it wont get in the way...too much. Look forward to shooting some underwater video for you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A little excitment

I have taken a job in Fort Lauderdale and will start in September. We will be off the road for a couple of years while Patrick finishes high school. This isn't the end of the blog because I will be posting stuff about Florida, scuba diving and the fun we have down there.
In August, we plan a loop through Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois before heading for Florida.
Stay tuned for our new adventures.....!

St. Louis to Vincennes, IN

Tuesday June 27
Before we left Ohio, we began paring down more of our junk we had in storage for the last year. Becky's aunt and uncle were having a garage sale over July fourth weekend and we put some of our stuff in it to basically give it away for cheap. (isn't that what a yard sale is?) So we needed to be back to help set up for it and so we only had one day in the Gateway City.
In the morning, we packed up the trailer and headed back east. Our first stop was a place that Becky talked about going for several years. She is a fan of Indian mounds and just east of St. Louis is the largest examples of the Indian mounds in the United States, a place called Cahokia. (Ca-ho-kia). The map says state historic site, but this is a National Historic Site, a UN world heritage site and the site of the largest archeological dig in North America.
At one time, in 1100 AD, the mound area supported around 40,000 people. It was equivalent to London or Paris' population at the same time. The city was larger than any American city until Philadelphia reached the 40k milestone in 1780.
In 1300, the site was largely abandoned due to disease, drought, floods, and the unsustainability of the land. The people disappeared from history and were replaced by other Indian tribes who revered the sites and left them alone.

 From the top of the largest mound, Monk's mound, named for monks that lived in the area, you could see St. Louis. Amos Hill built a house on top of the mound in 1831. Monk's is one hundred feet tall.
We left the mounds and traveled east across Route 50. Our destination was George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes. I spotted this suspension bridge just outside of Carlyle, IL and pulled in to have lunch and to check it out.

 Looking up stream on the Kaskaskia River.

 Becky went into the trailer to fix lunches and discovered that Patrick had not tightened the lid on the quart jar of maple syrup. The jar fell over, sometime while we were driving, and spilled all over the floor, going under one of the cabinets and leaked out onto the ground while we were sitting. She was not a happy camper. I took the dog for a stroll all around the river walk while she and Patrick cleaned things up.

 We got to George Rogers Clark National Historic Monument at 4:30. It closed at 5. The Visitors Center in fairly small but they have a thirty minute movie. We watched the movie, which told about George Rogers Clark's adventures during the Revolutionary War. He came into the area to capture British forts and stop the Indian raids on American citizens. They eventually captured Kaskaskia, Vincennes, and Cahokia, a triangle of villages many days march apart. He found the French to be helpful and they surrendered without much of a fight.
Clark's major achievement in the area was the march he and his men made from Kaskaskia to Fort Sackville in Vincennes. The trek began on February 6 and they reached Sackville on February 23. Most of their route was through flooded marshes in freezing temperatures on foot. Imagine trodding through hip deep water for seventeen days in freezing snow, ice cold rain, and never being able to dry out. These men amaze me with their fortitude and desire to win the war and be free of British tyranny. The original Brexit. After arriving at Fort Sackville, they laid siege to it for two days until the British commander surrendered.
Clark went on to fight in Ohio and won several more major battles. He is called the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest" breaking the British strong hold on the area and helping to win the revolution. He financed much of his campaign by borrowing money from his friends even though Virginia gave him a military commission and the job of defending the Northwest. He died broke and deeply in debt.
FDR, as part of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corp, had the monument built to honor the brother of William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame.  

 Chapel beside the monument.
 Francis Vigo was an Italian immigrant who established a fur trading business in Vincennes. He traveled to Kaskaskia to inform Clark that the British had retaken Fort Sackville. Vigo was a patriot and a spy. He established Vincennes University and was the foremost financier of the Revolutionary War in the Northwest Territory. He was repaid an amount specified in his will after his death but nowhere near the amount of money he lost due to the government's refusal to pay. The US government welshed on their debt even back then.

 We ended the day at a Knox County Park and Recreation campground for the night.

June 28  We toured on home

Saturday, July 15, 2017

St. Louis

Monday June 26 We walked down to the City Museum where we caught the shuttle. It cost two bucks and you can ride all day getting off and on at whatever stop you want.
The city museum. Patrick wanted to check it out and we said we would get to it after we saw the Arch but we didn't get to the museum. 

 We caught the shuttle to the court house that is now part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The court house is famous for the Dred Scott case. I took this photo from the park across the street from the court house while B and P were up in the arch.
 A view of the court house from the arch side.
 Inside the court house. We bought tickets for our tours and got stamps for the book.

 Part of the tour package we bought included a boat ride on the replica paddle wheeler. I was disappointed that the paddle didn't move. The electricity was out on the dock and the restaurant we planned to grab lunch at was closed. We ended up getting some food on the boat. Brats and Budweiser for me. The only beer sold in St. Louis, right?

 This bridge was the first built across the Mississippi. Built by James Buchanan Eads, cousin to the President. People would not cross the bridge because they were afraid that it would collapse. He brought some circus elephants and they crossed the bridge. Supposedly, elephants will not cross anything that is unsafe. This convinced people the bridge was stable and they began to use it.


 Inside the arch is this neat mural/sculpture. It shows the arch being built and the cranes and tracks on the side of the arch they used during the construction. They have a neat movie that is well worth the three bucks just to chuckle at the lack of safety gear and casual attitudes to working so high in the air. 
After seeing the movie, we had time to kill until B/P went up to the top. It started to spit rain and the radar showed a big storm coming. We walked up to the courthouse and caught a cab back to the RV park so we wouldn't get caught in the storm. It never really rained and I drove them back to the arch and dropped them off in time to catch their carriage car to the top. They are not handicap accessible.

 there was a large gathering of a women's college sorority. All the gals were wearing white shirts with the same logo. Three of the girls, college graduates, were at the top of the Arch with B/P. Becky over heard them trying to figure out which river they were looking at. They thought it was the Mississippi but were not sure. Becky told them it was the Mississippi and the girls were ecstatic at figuring out they were looking at the mighty dividing line between east and west. Then they huddled together and tried to figure out how to spell Mississippi while posting photos on their social media accounts. 

 While B and P were in the Arch, I cruised around the waterfront. There were lots of old buildings, many looked abandoned. I found this neat little place tucked behind the power building. 

 A cool house across the street.

 When we were at the courthouse, Patrick spied a restaurnat across the street he became infatuated with and wanted to eat at. So we had supper at Caleco's Bar and Grill. I had the pork steak. It was tender and juicy and the American potatoes were excellent.

 These two bicycle cops stopped outside our window and it looked like one is writing a ticket to the other.

We waded through traffic because the Cardinals game let out right as we were leaving the restaurant. We finally got back to the RV park and called it a night.