My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's the Journey...(Day 2)

Well, this has been an interesting day!  The agenda that I put together included travels through Springfield, IL as I was recently reading "Killing Lincoln" and thought it would be interesting to visit some of the National Park sites related to Lincoln.  To do it, though, meant swinging farther west than we would have otherwise done so and we ended up being hit with the first real winter storm of the year.  Sigh!

Lincoln's Springfield home
When we got up this morning (at 5:30), it was 18 degrees and a mixture of snow and sleet was coming down pretty heavily.  Visibility was poor and, due to high winds, the snow was blowing across the road and drifting.  By 6:30, we were able to go for a great Drury Inn breakfast and we were on our way at 7 a.m.  Now, I didn't drive all the way to Springfield just to turn around and leave so we drove downtown with the idea of, at least, seeing the Lincoln home from the outside and getting some photographs.  Turns out they've incorporated 4 blocks around the home to create a complex, or visitor's mall, so we weren't able to get very close.  The whole complex, though, is really lovely and would probably be a great place to visit when the weather is nice.  The adjacent homes have all been purchased and incorporated as part of the complex, and there are 19th century wagons and buggies sitting on the various streets.  So, I wasn't able to get my photograph, but I'm resolved to come back during nice weather!  The photo here is from the internet from a much nicer day than today!

Illinois state capital in the snow
Memorial at Lincoln's tomb
There weren't a lot of cars out on the street (fortunately) so we were able to drive right up to the state capital and I could take a couple of pictures right through the window of the van (shame)!!  It was really pretty with the snow and the lights and the hazy visibility.  From there, it was a short drive to the cemetary and the Lincoln Tomb.  Again, it was snowing pretty hard and was also too early to actually visit the Tomb.  I remember being here when I was in grade school, and you could go inside and see the crypts.

The nose has been polished from all the rubbing for luck
This time I had to settle for just taking some photos in the snow.  The Tomb is really beautiful with images from Lincoln's life, and there is also a large bronze bust of Lincoln in from of the Tomb.  Apparently, it's good luck to rub his nose so it's the only shiny part of the sculpture.

Not surprisingly, everything in the area is "Lincoln-" something:  parks, schools, businesses.

Gateway Arch in St. Louis
We were able to get on the road headed south by 8 a.m., but we didn't go very far or very fast before the reality of the storm kicked in.  Within the first 4 miles on the Interstate we saw at least 20 vehicles in the ditch or crashed.  My favorite was a small car that had obviously spun up and off the road, landing on top of a large boulder.  I thought we might move out of the storm as we went south, but the route is actually more south and west so every time we would turn west, we'd enter the storm again.  It did clear up enough to see the Gateway Arch as we passed St. Louis [note:  this is an internet photo -- we weren't quite this close].  The wind and snow continued for most of the day -- we finally got out of it and had some nice sunshine about 40 minutes north of Memphis.  Despite the sunshine, it was still cold and windy when we got to Memphis -- about 34 degrees.

Days Inn lobby

We're staying at the Days Inn-Graceland, which is totally Elvis!  The Graceland visitor center is next door and Graceland is kitty-corner.  This place is all-Elvis all-the-time; there's even a 24-hour TV channel that only plays Elvis movies!  It's actually pretty nice -- much nicer than I was expecting.  The rooms have all new linens, microwave, fridge, but absolutely no postcards, pens, brochures or anything else that people can take.  People must collect everything!

Guitar swimming pool
If we came back to stay here, it would have to be in the summer because the swimming pool is awesome!

We went out after dark with the intention of finding a place to eat, and we drove past Graceland.  It's still decorated (I'm sure it's for Christmas) with red and green lights at each tree in the front.  The famous gates were just being closed.  We're planning to go for a mansion tour tomorrow when it opens at 10 a.m.  Should take a couple of hours (with lunch) and I'm guessing we'll be on our way to New Orleans, then, by no later than 1:00.  Hope it's a touch warmer tomorrow as we didn't really pack for temps this cold!


  1. I love visiting Springfield. Besides the 4 block area around Lincoln's home. It is within walking distance of the Lincoln - Herndon Law Office and the Old State Capital where Lincoln gave his famous "House Divided Against Itself" speech. Plus you can go to the train station where Lincoln said goodbye to his friends as he left for Washington DC. Lincoln's Tomb is not far at all and even New Salem is not that far.
    I'm pretty much convincing myself that I need to go to Springfield and New Salem again.
    Have fun and drive safely. The weather should get better the next couple of days. Jackson, MS looks pretty nice the next couple of days and of course New Orleans will be much better.

  2. What a wonderful trip you'll have with your Mom! Enjoy the tour through Graceland - it is definitely an interesting place. I was surprised at how small the house actually felt when you get inside. And it still has that 70's look:) Have a safe trip!