Monday, July 16, 2007

St. Louis

Kenny and I took some day trips from the Rally in order to see the sights of St. Louis. Included in these pictures you will see the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis a gorgeous cathedral covered in mosaics made of colored glass. This Cathedral is over 100 years old (begun in 1907) and took over 80 years to complete.

These mosaics are made with more than 41 million pieces of glass and have over 8000 shades of color. The church is built in the Byzantine tradition.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis:

Botanical Gardens: The parks and the botanical gardens demonstrate the commitment of the founders of St. Louis to value more than just work and business. They have truly made an investment in the arts and the beauty of nature throughout the city.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Saint Louis Arch):

From the Bottom:

Looking up at the 630 foot tall monument from underneath.

Going up in specially designed barrel shaped tram carts that actually rotate as you go up the side of the arch! Five people to a tram car.

Barges push coal down the Missippi River.

From the Top:

My engineer next to some of the great engineers who built the arch! By the way, one of the engineers who worked on the arch was able to go on the trip with us and give us a first hand account of what it was like to build the arch and some of the challenges they faced. Bob Bogar shared so many remembrances not only of the arch, but of his life as an engineer in St. Louis, West Virginia, and Florida. He had his hand in many diverse project and certainly had a wonderful outlook on all the different things he was able to be a part of.

Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale Horses: Our tour was a bit behind schedule so we took a tour of the stables where the Clydesdales hang out and then on to sampling for those who wanted to.

Day Tripping

Whenever I go out for a day trip, I just never know what I might find...
On Wednesday July 11, we set out to see Metropolis, you know, the home of Superman! Along the way we were diverted by some sights. We passed Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge on our way out of town. I made Kenny stop to see some of the roadside displays. I learned they have a catfish at the bottom of the lake there that is called "Ole Whiskers". They issue a challenge out to those who might be inclinded to catch him. Since I have a National Park Passport, I made Kenny stop on our way back so that I could get my passport stamped.

Further down the road we found Cache River State Natural Area. This is a Cypress Swamp right in the state of Illinois! You normally only see things like that in the deep south. They have some trees in the area they believe are 1000 years old. It is a very unique ecosystem for sure. We got to see a bald eagle on his perch while there. The interpretive center had a great presentation on how they believe this swamp formed as glaciers melted at the end of the ice age. The Lord uses all events in our lives and in our history to display his creativity and imagination!

On to Metropolis where I found the real Superman changing in his telephone booth!

The following day, Thursday the 12th, we took Pru and went to Ferne Clyffe State Park and took a stroll down Waterfall Trail in search of some waterfalls. I was a little disturbed that my camera didn't have any batteries, but it was just as well. We followed the trails down through some beautiful rock formations that had little tiny caves formed in them. It looked like a lot of tiny birdhouses. When we finally got to the falls we found that there was insufficient water to make the falls fall. The rocks were pretty though and we were in the woods so it was shady even though the day was hot.
The campground at Ferne Clyffe was really pretty. Sites were level and there was water and electric at the sites.
We then headed out to see Lake of Egypt. There were signs along route 37 indicating that it was there, though we really didn't know what it was. So we followed the signs. Before reaching the Lake of Egypt we found Tunnel Hill. This is a 47 mile bicycle path that used to be an old rail bed. We went on the trail right before the tunnel in the hill. Wish I had my camera. Best I can suggest is that you might want to check out pictures on the Illinois Parks website... The railway used to belong to Norfolk and Southern, but was granted to the State of Illinois in 1991. Pru didn't like walking through the dark tunnel with us, but she made it through and wasn't permanently injured.
Up the road we found Recreation Road. The signs indicated that if you went down the road you would get to the Lake of Egypt. Apparently the Lake of Egypt is a recreation area and has a boat landing. The gravel road we followed turned to dirt and got narrower and narrower. I was beginning to think there was nothing to see when all the sudden we came upon the boat launch and aside from the parking lot and a view of the water there was really nothing there. Like I said you never know.

Friday, July 13, 2007

DuQuoin IL Rally Site

We are here finally! Hooray! Good news... We are located right near the internet connection. Bad news, connections are limited to 10 minutes at a time and they are dial up. UGGH!

I forgot how quickly we get spoiled. With any patience, I will get my next few posts up in a few days. I think I might be able to find a Wi-Fi site for an afternoon. Until then, Ta-Ta~

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Herrin, IL

In a camper's world simplicity rules. As long as there is adequate access (no trees blocking the path and fairly level sites and there is a source of water, electric and a recepticle for sewer, joy reigns. Miss out on one or two we can deal with the inconvenience, but more than that, there is not much happiness. Especially when you are in a caravan with several campers each having their own idea of what a good site is like.

In Herrin, IL at the Four Seasons Campground they seem to have it all. The sites are all large with lots of grassy area and space between you and the next camper. We got the pull through sites so parking was a breeze. Full service (water, electricity and sewer on site). Wi-fi internet to boot. All for $20 per night is a bargain for sure. I think ever single one of our group was pleased with the find.

The management here also have artwork throughout the campground. They have carved into dead trees some wonderful works of artistry. The town has a magnificent city park with lots of play area, sports and a public pool across the street. Nice little village and the campers were even more impressed to find that it had a Walmart to boot!

Kudos to Herrin, IL. We have loved the visit.

Walton, KY

OakCreek Campground in Walton, KY was our site for perching a few days. It was near the Creation Museum and a nice day's drive from Beckley, WV.

We are traveling with some RV friends of ours in a caravan. We were initially disappointed when we plugged into electric that there wasn't enough to run the basics. We were told that there wasn't anything wrong, but it was hot and the load of all the AC units was too much. Later, when the fuse blew, they got an electrician out and he corrected the root of the problem.

The next day it was the water. The entire campground was without water while they called in a plumber. It wasn't repaired before we left the following day. It really could be a nice campground, but the ownership really needs to invest in maintaining it a little better. Not to worry, we are on vacation and on to the next destination.

Pru enjoying the vacation life.

On the Road with the Irwin's

Roadlife is an adventure. You never know what your are going to get...

Tamarac - Beckley, WV: Our first night on the road was less than suitable in the eyes of Pru our Bassett. We stopped at an overnight truck stop attached to "The Best of West Virginia". Tamarac is a mall like place where artisans sell their very crafty items. There were some beautiful pieces of furniture, paintings, artwork, even decorated sneakers. Beautiful items, but BIG prices. Bring your wallet, they need your money in West Va.

Pru was a little unnerved by boondocking as we were. 18 wheelers running their motors all night next to us. Pru was less than impressed. The truckstop did have ice cream and a Starbucks so there were at least a bit of a treat at the end of a day.
Pru mostly sleeps and Kenny keeps command at the wheel.

While on the road, I read a biography on the life of Oswald Chambers out loud to Kenny as he drove. Occassionally, I would get tired and play my pod. I had downloaded several programs I like to listen to on my Ipod before I left home.
I enjoy vacations on the road because it gives me a chance to reconnect to my husband. With hours and hours together we can converse more than at home when we are ever so busy keeping up with all the "stuff".
By the way, here is something you can do for fun. Take a road atlas and look at the town names in West Virginia. Sod, Cucumber, Man, Job, Tornado... AMAZING. Where did they think all these up? It isn't just in the mountains, but all over the place. West Virginians come up with the oddest names for their towns (like the one called "Odd"). I want to spend a week in WV, just visiting all these towns and ask them what the roots of their names are!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Creation Museum

My dream vacation! Wow! I was thrilled when our RV caravan was willing to make a detour to Cincinnati to go to the newly opened Creation Museum. What a wonderful time I had.

Skyline of Cincinnati

At the Creation Museum, you get an opportunity to consider the handiwork of God in various forms... Dinosaurs, animal kingdom, the stars and planets; the list goes on. We take a look at all the things God made in the context of his wonderful plan for mankind. Evolution and Radioisotope dating really come into perspective when you start from the foundation of God's word. It doesn't mean that we throw science out the window, it just means that science takes on a whole new realm when we consider not only how God reveals himself in creation, but also how he continues to confirm himself through science.

Me at museum

Kenny and me by the waterfalls at the museum

Fosilized Dinosaur Eggs : consider how quickly a fossil must have formed in order to fosilize these eggs before they hatched.

Gardens at Museum

The show at the Planetarium could not be beat. The museum explained how important our beliefs regarding the first few chapters of Genesis affect how we view the entire Bible and our theology. It takes you through Creation, the Flood, and shows how our theology is affected if we allow the world to influence our thinking about the age of the earth.

I had never thought about the sacrifice that was made of an animal to provide clothing for Adam and Eve the first substitutionary sacrifice in scripture. What a wonderful exhibit at the planetarium as well. They demonstrated how vast and full of diversity our universe is. It really humbles you to think that God would care so much for us after all the greatness of the stars and the planets.

If you can get to Cincinnati, you must make the Creation Museum a stop on your list.

Patrick's Graduation

Well, another month has come and gone. Crazy busy at work. Now that we are traveling on vacation, I thought I might just catch up on my blog for a bit. We will start with some pictures from graduation party.
Here we have the whole gang together. It has been years and years since we had this kind of gathering. Thank you so much Grace for putting the whole thing together. You are the best sister I could think of.

Here is Chip, Grace and me together. Another rare picture, but we really enjoyed playing Balderdash together and Mexican Train Game.
We feasted until we could not feast any more.

Kenny with Pru. Poor Pru was beside herself nervous with all the kids and the music. She is still working on getting over her demons.
She is still just as cute as she can be.

Grace and Pat. Mom and son. Soon he will have his own life and those together moments will be forever different. That is how it should be. Grace and Bob have done a wonderful job raising him to be a gentle and kind young man. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him.

Graduation Cake: Yummy! Only weighed 1/2 a ton!