A program, a tree stump tombstone, and some meandering

After a pleasant stay at the Braidwood Motel on October 10, Steve and I were up early and headed for the small town of Mackinaw, Illinois. We had sunshine for the drive and nowhere we had to go after my program. The Mackinaw historical group had thought of everything. A sign announcing the program was arranged by the front door of the library. The group served coffee and donuts. One woman presented me with a handmade gift and the group had taken up a collection for gas money. And they had a really good crowd assembled. We got the laptop hooked up to their flatscreen TV with my new HDMI adapter and I was off and running with the "Route 66 in Illinois" program. Crowd responses peppered the program with great comments such as, "We had our first date there!" (Steak 'n Shake in Normal) and "We spent our honeymoon night there!" (Harbor Inn in Broadwell). I think a good time was had by all. 

After chatting some more and packing up, we had a few stops to make in the little town of Mackinaw. First, the Prius was just about out of gas. Time for ten gallons! Then, a drive around the charming little village and then to the cemetery. Kathy Friend, of the historical society, had told us the story of an old man named Charlie - sort of a mystery man in town, apparently close to homeless. After his death, local citizens contributed to a fund raiser for a tombstone for the man. And Charlie, who loved trees, got just the right tombstone.

Third stop after the program was a mom-and-pop place for lunch. We ate at the Mackinaw Family Restaurant, a homey small-town place with good food prepared by the same woman who served it. She was a friendly woman with a perhaps Eastern European accent, faded and polished by, I guessed, some years in this country.

After lunch, we needed to pick a direction and a road. It was early on Saturday afternoon, and we had to be back home by Sunday evening. The river seemed to be calling us and we meandered west across Illinois. In Pekin, we spotted some great old buildings and a local ice cream stand, the 8th Street Sweet Spot. 

Next stop, Quincy, Illinois, on the east side of the Mississippi River. I hadn't been to Quincy in about a dozen years so we drove around for a bit and snapped some photos. 

We crossed the river into Missouri and headed south for Hannibal. For our lodging, we selected a big motel/conference complex that had been a classy old Holiday Inn in a former life. It was a little shabby but pretty darn cool. We got take-out and settled in for the evening, as I had a baseball game to watch and Steve had writing to do. And the next day was our last day on the road.


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