Thursday, June 30, 2016

Garden of the Gods, IL (What??)

Those of you who follow us know we have been to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO a few times now. Who knew another state would also have a Garden of the Gods?? Okay, so not that farfetched;) But is it comparable to the one in the Springs??  In it's own way, it is actually very nice.  The area is beautiful and away from civilization which is a big plus.  See for yourselves:

Part of the Shawnee Ntl Forest, Garden of the Gods encompasses 3,300 acres of lovely greenery with some cool rock formations thrown in for effect

the rock formation just to the right of center is called the camel

just a couple of trails in the wilderness area, sure pretty though!

the Observation Point trail
took us past a pond full
of frogs, fun to watch!

Lots of lovely wildflowers line the Illinois roads

Monday, June 27, 2016

Rend Lake and Wine Country, Southern Illinois

Another beautiful large lake and recreation area, Rend Lake is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The corps has over 400 parks across the US but many don't have full hook ups.  They are always by water and always beautiful so if we can stay at one we do.

park visitors center

 In Illinois this is how you enjoy the outdoors in summer;)  Note the fan blowing on the very nice couple whose picture I took and note the distance of the fire.  Must have air movement, must have fire for ambiance but definitely don't want to feel the heat!!
camping Illinois style:)

17 miles of beautiful
bike trails
our camp area in the forest, we are on the left

 Southern Illinois is also wine country!  Yay!  There are several wineries in the area, beautiful places, and you don't have to pay an arm and a leg to taste wine.  The most we have paid for a tasting is $3!  No California wines here but definitely some  very nice ones.  Grapes in this area have names like Chambourcin, Norton, Traminette, just to name a few.  You have to drive miles in-between wineries but the countryside is lovely!

Pheasant Hollow Winery

Blue Sky also holds events,
a big place

thunderstorm moving in over this winery, we were hoping for some relief

across from one winery was a bison farm!

We returned home with
6 bottles of wine
some of which we had
to find space for under the bed:)

There are still a couple we
want to go back and visit:)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Springfield, IL, Lincoln House and Tomb

Geese hanging out in the camp ground at Prairie Lake:
We drove back into Springfield Tuesday to check out the Lincoln Library, house and tomb among other things.  The Lincoln Library is directly across from the Lincoln Museum downtown and it turns out is an active research center and holds no viewable Lincoln history or memorabilia.

We then walked across to the center square where the beautiful, restored train station houses a couple of movie sets used in Spielberg's movie "Lincoln". Very cool to see the sets up close and the painstaking detail used to recreate the rooms, clothes and Lincoln personal items.

Old Springfield train depot

Sets from the movie "Lincoln"
 Then we drove past the old state capitol building not in use at this time..... visit the Lincoln house.  But as we were thirsty, we stopped for a brew at Obed and Isaacs Brewery where I had a very nice ale and Mike had an IPA, of course!
Obed and Isaac Brewery
 Then it was on to tour the Lincoln House:
Lincoln's home 1837-1860. Originally a one story, added on to after marriage and family grew

In the formal living room/parlor,
the the black horse hair furniture
belonged to the Lincoln's

Lincoln's tiny desk!  Hard to imagine the
6'4" man working here for hours
at a time!

Lincoln's Tomb, a beautiful monument and tribute to a great man:
Lincoln's Tomb

Front entry to the tomb with corridors opening to left and right

Small replicas of larger Lincoln statues found elsewhere in the country adorn the halls:

corridor leading to Lincoln's resting place

Lincoln's remains are buried several feet under ground below this red marble headstone
Mary Todd and 3 of their 4 sons are entombed directly across from Lincoln

In front of the tomb Mike rubs Lincoln's nose for luck

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...