Saturday, June 22, 2013
POST 1143; JUNE 22, 2013; SAVANNA, ILLINOIS
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Two nights ago, a number of well meaning folks directed SAM and ME to the OREGON PATCHWORK INN...a Bed and Breakfast..where we received an excellent room for the night ($82.00)...a good rest, but because I was so very beat up from walking something like 40 miles the first day after a week letting those nasty blisters heal..., and an excellent breakfast of French Toast, Sausage, lots of fruit, and selection of drinks. Breakfast was at 7:30 am...allowing SAM and ME to be on our way to SAVANNA, ILLINOIS...some 48 miles distant.
There was simply no way we were going to put in a 48 mile day. We called it quits after 30-something miles when we reached the small village of LANARK, ILLINOIS.
Having no idea where we could find a place to sleep for the night...there being NO motel...and we knew no one...we stopped in at the BROTHER'S RESTAURANT located at the intersection of IL 64 and the entrance to Lanark.
Things got instantly better !!!
Please say HELLO to the couple who owned and operated the PATCHWORK INN, Oregon, Illinois...naturally, I did not write down their names...condition that I MUST correct before another day goes by.
Main Street (IL 64), Oregon, Illinois...taken as SAM and ME made our way out of town, leaving about 9:00 am.
City Hall, Oregon, Illinois...after a lengthy restoration project. While walking through Oregon last year, the building was surrounded by construction platforms.
Although I have done no research on the history of Oregon, Illinois, I got the message from signs throughout town that the OREGON TRAIL. has had something to do with the history of Oregon, Illinois.
The above Street Sweeper Truck passed SAM and ME a couple times as we walked West on Illinois 64.
One of many impressive homes of Oregon, Illinois.
The Convenience Store that seemed to be always located at just the right spot...when I was hurting for a drink of some more flavorful that warm water is: CASEY'S FOOD STORE...found extensively in the back country of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I am rather certain Casey's is also found in many other mid-West places...places SAM and ME have yet to visit.
An extraordinarily tinybeautiful dainty baby blue wild flower growing along Illinois 64.
Yes, there is beauty in death and decay
SAM and ME walk through many small "whistle stop" villages nearly every day.
The lawn mower in the above photograph moved at a speed just tad shower that SAM and ME...still, this machine, escorted by the SUV behind it, drove West on Illinois 64 for about 10 miles...pulling into the driveway of a farmhouse. All the while, a steady rather heavy rain fell on us...with more than an occasional lightning and thunder accompaniment.
It was the first opportunity to try out my new goulashes (rubber over-boots) keeping my walking shoes from filling with rain water. The "rubbers" performed OK, but are rather awkward as they are much larger than just walking shoes. Nevertheless, my walking shoes did NOT get wet, so the rubbers fulfilled their purpose.
Illinois 64 crosses many empty miles of Illinois farming country.
...sometimes...although rarely...passing idyllic spots as in the above photograph. I was taken by the beauty of this place...a place out of the imagination of a long-ago storybook.
...and then, the hills began. As SAM and ME close in on the Mississippi River, the flatness of the prairie leaves us. Near the river, the hills become a stubborn barrier when pushing a 200 + pound SAM.
Reaching the small town of LANARK, ILLINOIS, we have walked and rolled something over 30 miles...after yesterday's 40 + miles, a heavy drain on my reserves.
We stop in the welcome BROTHER'S RESTAURANT. SAM waits outside as I enter, am seated - grateful to sit down - and study the menu.
Presently, the above lovely lady is standing over me...
Please say HELLO to MINDY.
I order Raspberry Ice Tea and ICELANDIC COD FISH...then answer Mindy's questions of how we came to be in Lanark...and our urgent problem to find a place to spend the night.
Mindy looked me in the eye..."...Honey", says she..."not to worry, we will find you a pleasant place for the night."
In the next 30 minutes, as I savored the excellent Cod dinner, no less than 5 different people came to my table, telephone in hand, assuring me that half the town was notified of the need of SAM and ME.
Before I could finish my dinner, Mindy again stood over me..."Honey", says she..."I have two pieces of good news: One of our regular customers has paid for your dinner...Oh yes, I told him thank you for you...and will do so again; also, our church Pastor will telephone you in a few moments to arrange your overnight stay in his church.
Long story...made shorter: Pastor PASTOR LATHROP invited SAM and ME into his home, where we were given our own room...which we did not retire into until midnight...Claire (as he prefers to be called)...and I sat up all evening trading "war" stories...seems Claire and his professor wife, Marcie, are both from the Seattle, Washington area.
...one of many mid 1800 buildings which grace main street of Lanark, Illinois.
Please say HELLO to Claire...
...or as he is better know within his church...PASTOR PATRICK LATHROP.
Awaking to the smells of bacon grilling wafting up the stairs to my bedroom, I quickly dressed and joined Claire for the excellent breakfast he whipped up. At 8:30 am, SAM and ME said goodbye ... complete with manly hugs...and walked back down LOCUST STREET...only to meet up with...
Please say HELLO to DAWSON...yes, just like the Dawson Creek of gold-diggers fame in Alaska / Canada.
Dawson was standing on the grass strip between the sidewalk and street as SAM and ME walked past...
..."Just got done talking to the Pastor...he said you would be walking by my house, so I have been waiting to meet you."
Dawson impressed me as the non-traditional 12 year old going on 40...a very wise, proper, and respectable young man, who carried on his conversation as few three times his age do.
Thank you, Dawson, for taking a few moments to say hello to SAM and ME...another moment of proof that our walk is important to many.
As we turned onto Illinois 64, it again began to rain...(thunder, lightning, and torrid downpour pounded the roof and windows of my bedroom all night) again. The Eastern horizon photograph shows the weather front that had only minutes before, passed over the town of Lanark, Illinois...where memories will accompany me to the end.
...as Mindy said..."...this town is a very friendly town..we take pride in our town and all who live here...you need something...no problem...someone - or many - will fix it."
Many waterways cross the flat prairie of this part of Illinois. After the rains of the past two days, many of the ditches are nearly full...in fact, Dawson told me flooding is expected today.
Those big rolls of hay seen lying about farmer's fields...are moved about by tractors such as the one pictured above. Twin forks - much like the Fork Lift used in warehouses - are mounted on the front of the tractor...allowing the big heavy rolls to be easily moved about.
After 5.5 hours, SAM and ME walk and roll into our destination town SAVANNA, ILLINOIS...sitting on the East bank of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. We have now completed the first third of our walk...that being from the ATLANTIC OCEAN to the MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
Next detail: find a place to sleep tonight. SUPER 8 is full up. L&M MOTEL is full up. There are only two motels in town. The owner of L&M Motel knows of a B&B (Bed and Breakfast)...picks up his cell phone...yes, there is a room available...yes, someone will arrive in a few minutes to pick you up...drive you to the office for registration...then return for SAM.
Please say HELLO to JERRY and GIGI.
Jerry is Right Hand Man (although his right arm won't work any more, having injured it in a duty-related incident as an EMC recently) to owner GIGI.
In the next hour, I find how determined folks operate.
SAM and ME are comfortably planted in one of GIGI's three B&B homes...all of which have filled up while I have been creating this blog update - a number of overnight residents, walking into our room to chat...just as though we were all back home...Jerry and GIGI coming and going - Jerry even did my laundry after driving me to the local supermarket to pick up din din.
Illinois 64 as it passes through the Eastern part of SAVANNA on our way to our home for the night.
Our bedroom...again, our $$ is no good.
Breakfast is when we want it...we will be joined by 16 other overnight tenants...those who will sit down at 6:30 in the morning before riding their Hogs back home...some many hundreds of miles away.
Walking may be a bit strenuous... sometimes when trying to find a place to sleep for the night...but, I share with all...sure beats sitting on my tush throwing down deep fried chips...the TV controller in my left hand the most important part of my day. Just imagine existing on that distant couch...how many fantastic new friends I would have missed today