Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 2 - Sea to Shining Sea: Revolution on the Frontier

Day 2's journey took us from just outside Cincinnati, OH to St. Louis Missouri, via Vincennes, IN.  We packed ourselves back up and headed for our main stop for the day, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

At first, Indiana looked pretty busy. Heading west, we went from just outside a one moderately sized metropolitan area (Cincinnati) to another (Indianapolis).  Our "flight path" took us by the Indianapolis Airport area.

With half a dozen planes on one side of the highway and a truck depot on the other, everyone was duly impressed by the FedEx Facility.

As we headed south towards Vincennes, though, things quickly got more rural. Farms and farmstands dotted the landscape at first, and then covered them. This was outside a peach orchard stand that we passed.

Many family farms are in this area.  It's funny how we consider farms at home to be "new-ish" if they're only 3rd or 4th generation-owned, but compared to this one, NJ farms are "establishment."

Vincennes is a cute little town.  Located on the bank of the Wabash River, it was originally a French trading settlement.  It became an American town through the leadership of one determined man, George Rogers Clark.

Does the family name sound familiar? Yes, he's from that Clark family.  George's little brother, William, was the "Clark" in "Lewis and Clark who explored the Louisiana Purchase." The younger Clark  George, however, was a Revolutionary War hero, who led his own expedition and pushed the British out of the western frontier.  The British had gained the holding as part of the peace treaty after the French and Indian war but only sent 300 soldiers to guard the Illinois territory, relying on agreements with Indians to intimidate would-be settlers.  Clark appealed to Virginia Governor Patrick Henry (yes, that Patrick Henry) for a group of men to help get the area under American control. In February 1798, this group of less than 200  braved the bitter cold and a swollen-to-lake-proportions Wabash River to launch a surprise attack on Fort Sackville. Through a combination American alliance with the French, an alliance with many disgruntled native tribes, and some sleight-of-hand, Clark and his "Long Knives" secured the far west for the new nation.   The monument containing this statue and a picture storytelling of the western expansion is along the banks of the Wabash River and on the site of the old Fort.

After Jude and Celia had been sworn in as Junior Rangers, we headed off again.

We crossed the Wabash River into Illinois and the Central Time Zone.

We joked, "Corn, soybeans, cows...and wait, a miles-to-Trenton-sign?  Illinois is really just West New Jersey!"

One kid joked, "Look, they're growing corn oil!"

US 50 is dotted with these out-of-service bridges.  This one was fairly clear to see.  Most of the others have been overgrown with trees and vines.

Only five miles from St. Louis, and we're at a stop. Overturned tractor trailer ahead. Yikes!

Finally crossing over the Mississippi River...welcome to St. Louis, Missouri!

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