From the Missouri to the Mississippi
The dome of the capitol was there in the background as we left Jefferson City this morning. It was already rather warm (English understatement!) and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
Crossing the Missouri river, we took a last glimpse of the city as we drove out into the countryside.
Our first stop was in Fulton, MO. We stopped briefly in the “Brick District”, so named after the brick streets which created a less than smooth driving experience. (English understatement #2)
Why were we here?
Well, because of Westminster College, actually. Though there is a museum here dedicated to Winston Churchill, in a church which was brought lock stock and barrel from London to accommodate the celebration of the life and times of the great statesman, we decided we didn’t need to go inside.
We just wanted a picture.
So why here? Why is Winston Churchill the focus of such interest here?
It’s because here was the scene of his famous “Sinews of Peace” speech, which included the first recorded use of the term “iron curtain”.
There’s a bit of the Berlin Wall here, too.
Having got our photos and learned one or two things, off we went again. Here we were, on a quiet Sunday morning kicking up dust behind us on a series of gravel roads. Well, we do prefer the back roads in preference to the Interstate!
In the backwoods of Missouri, we were enjoying a pretty bumpy ride because, of course, we were not travelling in a rufty-tufty vehicle designed for such ventures.
Whilst we pulled over to reset the satnav to “no dirt roads”, I was glad to get a closer look at a pretty hedgerow.
A little further on, someone else was hoping to see the other side of the road, too.
Much bigger than the last turtle we avoided, this one must have been 10 inches long at least and no, I didn’t get close up but simply felt thankful for my zoom lens again!
At last, we were back on “proper” roads and heading into Hannibal.
We parked at the Visitors centre and equipped ourselves with maps and so on, though once in town, we realised that we didn’t need them at all because really, there’s only one street here.
And a single theme, too.
Did you notice what it is yet? (That’s the Mississippi River there, by the way)
Whilst we didn’t have to try very hard to avoid the artificial visitor experiences, it was interesting to see the genuine history here.
Better still though, there was a fantastic quilt shop to explore!
So, my hero scoped out what was what in the Mark Twain department whilst Mary and I concentrated on the fabric
What appeared at first to be a small shop turned out to be a rather large one. (English understatement #3!)
Several rooms packed full of fabric, examples and patterns and the friendliest of staff too.
Whilst we’d been browsing, my hero had discovered that an hour on the paddleboat steamer – guess what it’s called? – cost $19 each. Did we want to ride? (no thanks)
So we watched the river for a few minutes and returned to Main Street to find a spot of lunch.
Look who was there.
After a little refreshment, it was time to go. One can have too much of a good thing!
So, saying goodbye to the boys, we jumped back in the car and headed on out of Hannibal.
Poor Molly Brown got her nose pushed out rather, didn’t she?
As we left, the riverboat was just returning from the cruise. You guessed the name right, didn’t you?
Oh, are we nearly home? (pronounced herm of course )
Actually, as we crossed the Mississippi, we left Missouri behind and were in Illinois, land of Lincoln.
We’ve left the Ozarks well behind now and are driving through open, prairie-style landscapes.
Quincy, where we are overnighting is indeed in the Land of Lincoln, because it’s here where he participated in one of a series of debates with Stephen Douglas in 1858 and found it so challenging that:
Douglas beat him for the seat in the Senate, then, but Lincoln got his own back by winning the Presidency two years later.
The event is commemorated in the park here in Quincy and rounded our day off nicely. Our journey from the Missouri to the Mississippi has been bookended by two great statesmen, not forgetting one great author, a cast of characters and an unsinkable woman in between!