Saturday, July 11, 2015

Abilene Kansas to Keithsburg, Illinois

We had mentioned seeing the signs for the Eisenhower museum in Abilene, Kansas as we headed a little ways east to be sure to have a camping spot at Curtis Creek COE.  Sunday we decided to head back to Abilene and see the museum.  Good decision.

Jan and I are part of the post WWII era.  Jan's dad served in the war under General Patton.  But one of the pictures he kept from the war was of General Eisenhower when he came to visit their group.

The picture to the right is of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force visiting paratroopers before the D day launch on the evening of  June 5th, 1944.  Eisenhower was well liked and respected by the allies which made him a perfect choice by Roosevelt and Churchill.

He did not seek to be in the limelight, but worked steadily towards ending the war.  His popularity carried over to the post war era with both Democrats and Republicans seeking him to run for president.  After a few years as president of Columbia University, Ike agreed to run for President of the United States as a Republican.  He won by a landslide.  In elementary school, both Jan and I remember the "I Like Ike" slogan.

Some of Ike's accomplishments were the U.S interstate highway system, the ending of the Korean War, the 'Atoms for peace"speech to the UN General Assembly, signing a bill to begin NASA, signing the 1957 Civil Rights Act, and setting up a permanent Civil Right Commission.

Born in Texas, the Eisenhowers moved back to Abilene where Ike grew up.  His father worked in the creamery and they bought the house above with two and a half acres for $1,000. It was a comfortable house for the two parents and six brothers. Jan and I remember living rooms like theirs in the picture immediately above.  That includes the lace to "protect" the furniture.
 Remember $1000 to buy the house?   Ike's mother paid $1000 from an inheritance to have this piano shipped from Boston to Abilene.  She taught all the brothers piano though Ike did not pursue the instrument.
In the background is a shortwave radio that they used to listen to war broadcasts.

The picture above is of a breadbox used by Ike's mother .  The dough was prepared on the board, the loaves rose in the box.  She would make 7 loaves every other day. 
the vehicle is the 1942 Cadillac used by Eisenhower from 1942 in Europe until 1956 in the U.S. It went over 200,000 miles with three identical engines.
The museum is huge with a lot of information.  Perhaps the most complete timeline of all the battles of World War II.  Across the lawn is an equally large library.  How many of you remember this picture from the end of the war?  In Times Square celebrating VJ Day it is the iconic picture of the end of war.  A sailor and a nurse.
Okay, how many of you saw this picture by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945 , when it was published in Life Magazine

Jan is inspecting the statue of Ike.  The label on the paving says "Champion of Peace".  This was how Ike wanted to be remembered. After the hard decisions he had to make as  the Supreme Commander in the biggest war, he worked hard to preserve peace afterwards through his presidency.

These are some of rural pictures out of Kansas and into Missouri. There are many farms with acre after acre of corn and grains.  Eustis is as amazed as Jan and I at how you can look across these fields of corn and see all of the plants at the exact same height. It's like you could walk across the tassels.  Above, the hay rolls are HUGE!!

We were on Route 70 for Abilene, Kansas. From there it was east to Perry State Park on Perry Lake.  We follow Route 59 north towards St. Joseph as we crossed the Missouri River ("cross the wide Missouri"). Actually that song is "Shenandoah" about the fur traders coming down the Missouri wanting to marry the daughter of Indian Chief Shenandoah.  Then there is also "The water is wide" Missouri song. 

East in Missouri on route 36 to Pershing State Park( named after the famous WWI general who was born in Laclede, Missouri).   From Laclede, we turn north towards Iowa on Route 5.  

A very nice stay at Rathbun COE on Rathbun Lake   Some very nice sunsets across the lake.

From Rathbun Lake, Jan and I head north on Route 5 to Route 34 and then east to Geode State Park.  As you can see there are some huge grain elevators or storage units along the way.  Many of these are owned by co-ops, but some such as the silos plus are on private farms.  

We have been trying to travel on US highways or state roads.  It is much more relaxing and enjoyable, but now and then it is necessary to just travel on the interstates.
If we are moving out of Missouri and into Illinois, it must be---------the Mississippi River.

Two years ago we were at the source of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park in Minnesota.  At that point you could wade ankle deep across the Mississippi.

One of our favorite campgrounds is Tom Sawyer in West Memphis, Arkansas where we were right on the edge of the Mississippi and could watch barge after barge go up and down the river when it was quite high and quite low.  We also visited a plantation in Louisiana where a paddle wheeler pulled up to the dock with tourists.

Now, here we are camped out on the Mississippi in Illinois.  And actually, we were surprised to see the tug, one of many, pushing about 15 barges.three across, up the river. The view of the barge is from Lady Blue's back window.

This campground is in Keithsburg, Illinois.  Just a short walk north of the campground is this loading dock for grains.  The trucks are lined up and the tower is in the process of filling a barge.  Couldn't help notice the name of the tugboat!

The town of Keithsburg is on a quiet state road that parallels the Mississippi.  It was most populated probably in the later 1800's when business on the river was at its height.  In spite of the change today, there are signs of some renovation in town.  The campground itself is extremely popular on the weekend with boaters and fishermen.

There was no identification on the tractor.  It is still working, but all the labels have rusted off.  I'm guessing from the 1950's or 60's?

Just had to include the Pabst ad on the side of an abandoned building.  We just don't remember Pabst being brewed from "God's Country".

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