Day 10: Wednesday, May 5, 2013
Start: Evansville, IN
End: Poplar Bluff, MO
Miles Driven Today: 267
Total Miles: 1,689
Today was another four-state trek. We went from Indiana, back into Kentucky, over to Illinois and finally into Missouri.
We started out in Evansville, Indiana after a good night’s sleep and a nice (free) breakfast at the hotel. We immediately headed for Kentucky to take the Ohio River Scenic Byway and then crossed over into Illinois at the Shawneetown Bridge. On our way to the bridge, we were amazed at the huge farms with what we guessed were these enormous grain conveyor belts. These contraptions crossed many miles of farmland. I wonder if it’s more economical to run the grain across the farms on these belts than to use dump trucks.
Spring is in full bloom around here. The sunny day seemed to coax the flowers into an explosion of color; bright yellow mustard flowers contrasted with the green hay fields and the dark tilled earth that was waiting for the new crop to arrive. We were pleased with our route; it couldn’t have been prettier.
We soon crossed over into Southern Illinois and into the Shawnee National Forest. Right after we crossed over into Illinois, we encountered Old Shawneetown. Aside from the mobile homes, there was an old ghost town (Shawneetown Bank Historic District) with old buildings that seemed to have some recent life in them (neon signs were not the rage way back when…). But today, it’s deserted and the area is sad. We quickly moved on and wound our way through the forest.
The drive was, once again, quiet and lovely. While the area is a national forest, it also includes a number of small Illinois towns. We stopped at Cave-In-Rock (and the Cave-In-Rock State Park) for a short rest, and saw yet another commuter ferry that traversed the Ohio River. The park itself was not very large, but it included a nice waterfront view of the Ohio and shady picnic spots to enjoy the day. We stretched our legs and then ventured on.
We were going to try cross over into Missouri and take in some of the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozarks, but we were getting a bit road weary. I fired up my trusty TripAdvisor to start looking for a place to stay, and we settled on a Drury Hotel in Poplar Bluff, MO. From here, we’ll have a short drive to the Mark Twain Forest and our chosen route.
I do have to say that I’m impressed with the Drury. It is a very pet-friendly hotel chain (NO additional fee) that offers both a free happy hour AND hot dinner buffet as well as a free breakfast buffet and free wi-fi. I think we’ll be staying at more Drury Hotels during this trip, but tomorrow night’s stay is a special selection! You’ll have to check back and find out what we have planned!
It’s great to see that Jasmine has finally recovered from her stomach problems and is starting to bond more with Juliet. The girls are often snuggling together in the back seat, and both are looking out to see the sights whenever we stop.