Day 22

Thursday, June 16, 2005Metropolis, IL
Miles: 2704Truth. Justice. The American Way.
Tennesseeya! Today we left Tennessee, this time for good. But first we checked out the Ornamental Metal Museum. The outside was the best part, with a sculpture garden and a patio with the best overlook of the Mississippi that we’ve seen yet.

After looking at some very cool metal, we headed off to Arkansas. Which is flat. Flatty, flatty, flat, flat. Holy Moses, driving in Arkansas is boring. As I write this, Keath is driving. We’re discussing the very real possibility that you could perform surgery while driving through Arkansas. Signs warn you when there’s a slight curve ahead. A train runs alongside us. The odd thing is that the trees and farmlands and stuff are similar to NH, it just looks like someone grabbed the edges of NH and tugged it flat. And I think they’re crop dusting. I’m babbling, mostly to take the edge of the extreme boredom. They’re not crop dusting, they’re just messing around, flying low over the road, about 5 feet from the power lines. We’re driving through fields of soybeans. Yummy.

Oh, look, stuff. Now we’re in Osceola, AK. We’re now officially on the Great River Road. Well, now we’ve gotten lost, missing a turn, but we’re about to be back on the GRR.

We did make it back to the GRR, but it was not Great, nor very close to the River. But I guess it was a road, so that little spiel doesn’t work so well. Anyway, we drove along, getting out of AR relatively quickly. We ended up crossing back into Tennessee so we could avoid a little bit of flatness. The Eastern side of the Mississippi has more hills and swervy bits than the Western side.

In Kentucky, we tried to see a Caboose Museum, but sadly, it was closed for the evening. We stopped in Paducah, KY for a new camp mat and headed onward to Metropolis, IL, home of Superman and Fort Messac State Park, where we spent the night.

Before settling in, we stopped in Cairo, IL, the southernmost point in Illinois where the Ohio and Upper Mississippi Rivers converge. Cleverly, the people of Cairo call this "The Convergence." (Y'know, they say that everything that rises must converge.)

We headed on to Fort Messac, and Keath built a huge fire that spat at him, burning a hole in his shirt and melting the plastic zipper on his pants pocket. Yowza! Along with the fire, we decide to have s’mores. It was during this little adventure that we learned our latest lesson of the road: don’t buy marshmallows and chocolate in Georgia if you’re not going to use them until Illinois. We had squirtable packets of chocolate and a bag of marshmallow fluff. We tried various methods of assembly, including cementing a skewer to a graham cracker using the amazing adhesive powers of melted marshmallow and then roasting the whole thing over the fire. The fire, being super hot and flamy and not at all embery, was not the best for this, but we soldiered on. There’s not really anything you can do to s’mores that will make them taste bad.