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Fifty States, Day 89


Dear Friends:

I don't know what's going on with the photos on the blog, but they are coming out black. I am working on it. A thousand pardons!

Day 89, Springfield to Alton, 116 Miles
"A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association
with smarter people."
~Will Rogers
We left Springfield headed for Alton, Illinois. My expectations were low. Once again, the reality far exceeded my anticipation. First, we explored the Lewis and Clark Museum and it was compelling and informative. Now those two (and their thirty-five to forty others) were adventurers. The place held a boat that could be similar to theirs, except half sectioned so one could see the storage and packing. They brought 23 tons of stuff on their two and a half year saga, searching for a water route to the West. Boy were they surprised as they thought the West reflected the East, so when they hit the Rockies, shazam! Man, them mountains are big.
Afterwards Clark did real well; married twice, had a gaggle of kids and became a governor. Lewis, however, struggled with alcohol, never really accomplished anything more and died in suspicious circumstances which looked like a suicide.  
Today, we met Jack at a gas station. Filling up your ride becomes a social moment...or a lot of moments. Jack rode a Suzuki 900 Intruder and just got back from riding the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee. What an inspiring guy. Maybe we are only as old as we feel.
We toured a tower that overlooked the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and upon descent the friendly lady behind the desk told us about the Lock and Dam Tours. We could run and make the three o'clock tour. Look at the clock. Two forty-five. Rode like idiots and got there just in time.
These tugboat captains rock. They squeeze six hundred foot barges through the
lock with a couple feet to spare on either side. Amazing. How much does a nice new tugboat cost? $5 mil. And how much horsepower? 5,400. How much weight do they haul? Hmm. Had to leave, as they were closing. I'll leave you in suspense. Once again, the trip became less riding and more learning. At this rate, my helmet won't fit by October. And it will be '50 States in 75 Weeks.'
See the previous post for our last entry of collector bikes from the National
Motorcycle Museum. See what inspired our trip. Thanks.


Mel Nason said...

I don't mean to whine or get out of line, but wasn't this day 89 and not day 59?

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Call it a mistake or throw me in a lake, but I'm trying to post pictures
and they just won't take.
Thanks for the heads up!

Mel Nason said...

I pray your painstaking picture-posting perseverance pays off, although the photos you post pale against the peerless palette of persnickety phrases you pen to paint particularly pleasing and paradisiacal pictures.

To paraphrase: Photos are nice but, with or without them, you're doing a great job of writing!

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

I appreciate the paraphrasing, for your prose provoked poderous perplextion and painful parameters of my... uh... cranium.

Mel Nason said...

Sorry, but I don't have time to alliterate on that last comment...

Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County said...

What a great pleasure today for us to meet Kevin and Sherri at our place, the campus of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County in Quincy, Illinois. We are grateful that they chose to spend some time with us and tour the 177-year-old Greek Revival Home of John Wood, Illinois' 12th governor, and the Lincoln Gallery. The 81 artifacts in the gallery focus on our town's close connections to Abraham Lincoln and on the great humanitarian effort our ancestors made to provide refuge to the 5,700 Mormons expelled from Missouri during the winter of 1838-39. Augustus Tolton, who with his family escaped slavery and found refuge here in 1860, became the nation's first African American priest and today is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church. And the stories in history of our "City of Refuge" go on. Thanks to Kevin and Sherri for allowing us to share some of it. Godspeed, friends.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Well said! Quincy has a great, wonderful and interesting history. Thanks for the special treatment.