Day 233 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA
Apple River Canyon State Park
We started out the day trying to find Charles Mound, the highest point in Illinois measuring 1,235 feet tall. We were unsuccessful, but continued through
the maze of cornfields to Apple River Canyon State Park where we took a mile walk through the hardwood forest. While the wildflower lined trail was shaded by trees, I think I would have rather walked along the nearby, flowing river. Our stroll just about did Petey in, so we hopped back in VANilla and turned south toward Mississippi Palisades State Park.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mississippi Palisades State Park offers a variety of overlooks as well as trails. We made a few stops at the overlooks and tried spotting bald eagles, but it was the wrong time of year. I think we spotted a few turkey vultures instead. A sign by the overlook provided interesting facts on bald eagles. The birds that weigh between seven to fifteen pounds and have wing spans over six and half feet long are only native to North America. Their name comes from the old English word “balde” meaning white-headed. It takes juveniles which are brown four to five years to attain adult coloration. Finally, they can see five to six times better than humans. I had hoped to pick up a cache here, as Illinois alluded me during my first visit last September. My cell reception has proved to be spotty, however, and this spot didn’t work!
Thomson Causeway Recreation Area
We continued along the Mississippi River passing through small towns and by Lock and Dam No. 13 before making a brief visit to Thomson Causeway Recreation Area which turned out to be closed to day use. The water here along with places on the Mississippi River over the last few days was blanketed in a bright green film. Given the heat and humidity, I’m not sure what we would have done here anyway (except look for a cache which again alluded me), so we moved further south where we reached Albany.
Albany was home to a drag racing facility and also had a town festival in the works. Several streets around the town were closed as car aficionados hung out pampering the old priceless vehicles. We found one street that took us to Albany Mounds, a historic Indian location where I finally found a cache. Little did I know I was going to have to bushwhack to get to it. I came back onto the bicycle trail with twigs in my hair, a few scratches on my arms, and at least a handful of mosquito bites, but now I am able to mark Illinois off my list.
St. Charles, Missouri
We left Illinois and drove several hours to St. Charles, Missouri for the evening. I must say I don’t think I enjoyed the Illinois scenic drive in September nor did I find this one too exciting with the exception of Galena. I would definitely return for a quick weekend there. ETB