It’s been a while since I practiced towing, so Monday was my day to drive. Ugh! I should check to see how far we have to go before I agree to such things!!! We hit the road by 7:30 AM, and for the first few miles, a hitchhiker kept watch to make sure I was doing it correctly (see pic below). A little after 9 AM, we made it to our first stop in Pontiac, Illinois. Unbelievably, I found street parking for the whole rig right across from our destination. The plan was to visit the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum. It didn’t open until 10 AM, so we walked around town a little bit and popped in to the Madison Street Family Restaurant for breakfast. Pontiac has a lot of interesting-looking shops and restaurants near the courthouse square, and the courthouse is quite pretty. They have multiple memorials to veterans from the county, and quite a few murals around town as well, many associated with Route 66. There are also several museums and exhibits, including the Livingston County War Museum and the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum. After breakfast we walked back over to the Route 66 museum. It was pretty cool. First, behind the museum is a DIY motor home that we are thinking will be the pattern for our next home. The man who made the land yacht, Bob Waldmire, was an artist and a true Route 66 ambassador. He spent his life creating artwork that celebrated the Mother Road. Inside the museum focuses on the Illinois portion of Route 66 and has several floors of memorabilia and information. Bob’s 1972 VW Microbus is on the first floor. They also have a display showing a typical 1940s house and a wall of newspaper headlines from WWII. All in all, it was an interesting place, and the entrance fee was reasonable…free. Mary Ann, who signed us in was very nice and gave us the low down, including some information for when we drive the Mother Road ourselves. (It’s on our TO DO list.)
After taking it all in, we got back on the road and zig-zagged our way west. Near Castleton we made a quick stop at an overlook park to stretch our legs and take in the view. Then it was north to Rock Falls, across the Rock River, northwest to Savanna, then a few miles up the Great River Road to Mississippi Palisades State Park, our home for the next few days. We were pleasantly surprised to see most of the park empty, and our site was amazing. It took me a little maneuvering to get Petunia in, but it wasn’t too bad. By 4:30 PM we were finally set up, and I was ready to just veg with a little TV.
Tuesday started out with MW (Mr. Wonderful) helping with my haircut. One of the hard things about being on the road most of the time is not having a hairdresser. (In Greensboro I had the same stylist for years, and I really miss her.) Before Covid, walk-in appointments were easy, but I never knew how it was going to turn out. (Yes, there were a couple of BAD issues.) Last month I just took the scissors to it myself with the tried and true, pony tail on top, but that left it too long. This time I chopped off the fronts and sides, and MW took care of the back. There was a lot of hair on the floor, and I’m pretty sure his hands were shaking, but it didn’t turn out too bad.
Next up was a little work before we headed out to Galena, Illinois, which was on the list of 50 most charming small towns. On our trip up the Great River Road in 2018 we passed through this cute little town, but then we had a schedule to keep heading west. I keep a list by state of things to see, though, so it’s just been sitting there waiting for us to have another opportunity. After dropping off mail at the post office, we checked out the view from the bridge to Grant Park. Still having eye problems, we then found a drugstore for some medicine before returning to downtown. It doesn’t take long to figure out why this town made the list. Their downtown area is very large, and is full of restaurants and shops in buildings that have been kept in great shape. The oldest house in town was built in 1826, and is still there. Normally the streets are open, but Covid has them closed to provide outdoor seating for the restaurants. (I’m not sure why. It was 95 degrees in the shade when we were there. Who sits outside in that?) We walked through town a bit and landed at Durty Gurt’s Burger Joint, which advertises the best burgers in town. Although I haven’t had burgers at other places in town, I can’t imagine this being far off. I had the Hawaii Five-O Burger minus the jalapeños with sweet potato fries. MW’s choice was the Tombstone Burger and seasoned fries. My recommendation: share! Both burgers were about 6″ tall and probably 5″ wide. I struggled to get it into my small mouth! (Seriously, my dentist said I have a small mouth. Mom, quit laughing!) MW took the burger on like a pro, but stalled at the fries. I managed to eat about 1/2 of the burger and some of the fries. Both got two thumbs up for sure, but I’m serious about that sharing thing. Stuffed, we walked back through downtown, then went to scout a laundromat for the week’s chores. There was a tiny one in Galena with…gasp…a screen door and no air conditioning! Not happening.
We headed back to Petunia planning to check out the laundromat in Hanover as we passed through. (I was a little nervous when I saw they also had a screen door, but the air was running. Bingo!) On the way back to the park, we checked out the boat ramp and the palisades overlooks.
Before I forget, Mississippi Palisades State Park is beautiful! We were there during the week, and it was fairly empty. Our site (214) was well-separated from any neighbors, very long, and easy to get into. The campground includes 241 sites, 12 50-amp, 98 30-amp, and 131 primitive. The facilities were well-placed and clean. In addition to camping and the boat launch, there are quite a few hiking trails and picnic areas. Other activities include cross-country skiing, geocaching, hunting, metal detecting, and rock climbing. There were not a lot of playgrounds, but everything else a family or individual could want in a campground or park was there. We would definitely go back.
The next day I headed out to Sullivan’s Laundromat for my weekly chore. Nothing special to tell, but I did get pic of the building, which reminded me of an old western town. Once complete, I headed back to camp for a relaxing afternoon.
Next up…Iowa and the land hurricane. See you on the road!
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