After leaving the town of Oglesby, we figured that since we were relatively close (another couple of hours) to the Mississippi River, we should take the opportunity to see it. So off we go. After more … can you guess? Corn fields!! we came upon the town of “Molene, Illinois” which just so happened to be host of some big golf tournament for the weekend. Apparently we were quite fortunate to grab the last room in town. It’s also home to The John Deere Company, which is another part of my Central California roots. My Godfather (aka, Nino!) worked for John Deere in Firebaugh for as long as I can remember. When we were little, we even had a play “John Deere” tractor that was passed down from my generation to our kids’ generation. I’m sure that little tractor is still in my Nino & Nina’s garage somewhere! So, I took some pictures to send to my Nino of me on a little tractor!
Unfortunately, the museum was already closed for the day so we weren’t able to check it out. Maybe another time, however, that little town of Molene sure isn’t calling my name to come back!
We had no idea where to eat so we “yelped” our way around to a place sitting on the river that served up wonderful food! “The Captain’s Table” introduced us to a crab, shrimp, spinach and hot cheese dip that was so yummy, I decided to forego dinner and just eat that! Yep, it was yummy!
On Friday morning we were up and at ’em bright and early for the drive back to Starved Rock to go on our rafting trip. We were ready to go! All set with our sunblock and hats, and our cooler filled to the brim with goodies for the 3 to 4 hour trip down the river.
As we drew near to the jumping off place for the rafting, it was noon and we decided to go ahead and eat first so that way we wouldn’t get hungry during our trip. But this time we were ready! Armed with our “OFF” we had an enjoyable picnic in another one of their amazing parks.
We headed back to The Vermillion Rafting Company ready for our afternoon of whitewater rafting and relaxing. We pulled up to find the place deserted. That’s weird right? We started poking around and finally found someone who could help us. “Hi, we were here yesterday and made a reservation to raft today but the rafting place looks closed?” “Oh yeah, we had to close because the river rose 4 feet last night and now it’s not safe to go in. Sorry.” WHAT??? Are you kidding me? We drove back 2 hours to go rafting! Well, I guess we’re not going river rafting today .. how sad! Apparently this whole “rain” thing is really unusual for them for this time of year. It sure makes for some pretty waterfalls and rivers though.
Okay, Plan B? We might as well go check out Starved Rock since we’re here. It’s another beautiful park, and this one with a lodge. Sort of, kind of, vaguely looks like Yosemite, or maybe it’s just all the “wooden cabin” look that gives you a familiar feeling. It was very pretty, clean, and not at all crowded. We took in a walk around the lodge and then … we’re done. Now what?
While Chooch and I hit the little gift shop, Eddie was looking at a local newspaper with “Things To Do in Oglesby” when a little advertisement jumped out at him. All he needed to see were the words “County Fair” and he was dashing to the car, setting the GPS, and screeching out of the parking lot! Well, maybe not screeching! But off we went to find “Plan C” … a local county fair. Let me know what you think about it …
It took us about a whopping 20 minutes to experience the entire fair … oh and by the way, we were the only people there that were NOT wearing cowboy boots. I think we stood out a bit in the crowd. But the lemonade made the trip completely worth it … you can never go wrong with homemade lemonade at a county fair, right?
We made it home in one piece, with not too many mosquito bites. That in itself was a complete success! There’s a lot more to see out there in Illinois … besides the corn fields! Talk to you tomorrow!