Back over the bridge into Illinois this morning, then, for the last stretch of our road trip. We said a fond farewell to Iowa and the endless fields of corn and drove east, over the river.
We’d not been driving long when we had an unexpected hiccup.
What a good job we brought along the intermediate technology! This is the same map as we’ve used on a couple of previous road trips including one where it got wet, so it is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. It’s much loved though and now, we’ve added a bit of a grubby area around Davenport, where some hasty decisions had to be made.
Soon, we were driving along the byways of Illinois, through still more corn fields, though added entertainment was on hand in the form of a crop duster.
There was also the odd fly past of a quilt barn. Whoops – nearly missed that one.
We had a listing of them, picked up in a tourist office somewhere, but the locations were not that accurate and it appeared not all of them were listed.
Anyway, we arrived in Cambridge and were back on track after our detour.
We drove behind some strange agricultural vehicles and felt sure that the John Deere machines would have travelled a little faster.
Just when we despaired of ever seeing another of those barn quilts listed in the brochure, we hit lucky…
The Illinois block, the beans and corn block, the covered bridge block and the USA heart, all in one.
Then, plugging in the address of another into the satnav, we found this double wedding ring.
Though I think we deserved a medal for spotting this one.
By the time we reached Peru, we’d decided to give up looking. If we stumbled upon one by chance, then all well and good.
Instead, we came upon Ottawa, where the woman in the tourist office told us that the “Illinois in Bloom” judging is tomorrow, and as previous winners, Ottawa was looking its best and hoping for success.
We hadn’t really come to see flowers, but to visit another Lincoln location: The site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate in the series we’d come across in Quincy.
But our eyes fell upon the mural of the event too.
And taking a closer look, we discovered more murals. In fact, Ottawa proved to be a fun place to stop for a sandwich and to stretch our legs.
Across the road was another mural, commemorating General Wallace, who died in the Civil War – a friend of Lincoln, no less.
Then, a little further along was another one depicting the glass factory which used to be here, where marbles were made amongst other things.
Of course, Ottawa was definitely in bloom along the way as well.
The murals added a little interest to this small Main Street, though the individual shops were a good mixture and looked inviting too.
But I think it’s the Brush with History we’ll remember here.
Oh, and the various bits of Lincoln-alia.
Oh, and ok, the flowers…
From Ottawa, I’d like to say it was a swift drive into the Chicago outskirts but it wasn’t. It was a slow drag in nose to tail traffic and the fact we were driving the last/first part of Route 66 made us feel pleased that we didn’t have the whole stretch ahead of us!
Eventually, the city was within sight and we heaved a sigh of relief.
We love it here and were looking forward to checking into one of our favourite hotels and putting our feet up.
But first, there was a pizza to be eaten