After a mere twenty hours of extra driving, we’re back on track after our trek to Ohio and our return trek to Illinois. We did most of the trip on Sunday with an overnight at the Kanakee South KOA Holiday near Chebanse, Illinois. Then on Monday we settled in for three nights at Thomson Causeway, an Army Corps of Engineers site, on an island in the Mississippi River near Thomson, Illinois. Our campsite on the eastern edge of the island offers a calming view of the slow moving backwater and a short walk to the western shore allows us to drink in gorgeous sunset views over the widest section of the great Mississippi! This morning we headed to Mississippi Palisades State Park where we did a few short walks to some amazing lookout points but before long hungry tummies starting suggesting that we might want to head to Galena, Illinois, a few miles north of the park. It was a great idea. We’d been here once before to visit the house the grateful citizens of Galena had gifted to the Grant’s in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, but we had not explored the rest of the town. This time we had a filling breakfast at Victory Cafe, a lovely welcoming indie restaurant on the pedestrian mall in downtown Galena. Once our hunger was sated, we sought out the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum where holograms of Lys & Julia Grant, Galena’s most famous couple, greeted us and invited us to explore the history of this town, its lead mining history including a peek down a historic lead mine shaft, the stories of its nine Civil War Generals, and the Thomas Nash painting, Peace in Union which is included in nearly every American History textbook and which reminded us of our recent visit to the McLean House in Appomattox Courthouse where Ulysses S. Grant accepted the surrender of Robert E. Lee. To top off our visit, we headed back downtown to the site of the Grant family’s leather goods shop where Ulysses Grant had been clerking for about ten months when war broke out and he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1861. Today it is For Bare Feet, a sock store where we each purchased a pair just to remember the place before heading back to enjoy a salubrious evening in our lovely little campsite and a delightful conversation with Rick & Ruth about their cross country tandem bicycle adventure!




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Cobh on Our Own

Cobh on Our Own

For our first adventure together on the Emerald Isle, we walked the streets of Cobh, County Cork, explored St Colman’s Cathedral, and visited the Cobh Heritage Center.