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Report 2041: Driving the Great Mississippi River Road

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2012

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Page 7 of 33: Day 7-Daytripping from Hannibal

photo by BJ Firestone

Mississippi River near Nauvoo

We decided to spend today driving North from Hannibal along the River Road and so after another huge breakfast and having dropped our dirty clothes at a laundromat, we headed up the Missouri side of the River Road. The road here doesn't follow close to the Mississippi but goes through farm land and into Iowa. Crossing the River at Keokuk, Iowa we traveled north on the Illinois side and here the road runs right beside the River. There are pull-offs every couple of hundred feet and it is a beautiful drive.

Keeping moving was a task because all we wanted to do was sit by the River and enjoy it. However, move we did, continuing to the Mormon settlement of Nauvoo. Mormons settled here around 1840 and remained here until shortly after Joseph Smith was murdered. The settlement was ultimately abandoned by the Mormons who moved to the Utah territory and the area became a vineyard and winery. In recent years it has been rebuilt as it was in Joseph Smith's day and is open to the public to explore. It is in a beautiful location right on the Mississippi and makes for an interesting visit.

Starting back South on the Illinois side we stopped in Warsaw, Illinois which is the site of a defunct brewery, now functioning as a restaurant. They serve huge portions of food but no longer make their own beers. The brewery, too, is located right on the River, so we had a chance once again to enjoy the view.

The next place we stopped in our Southern trek was Quincy, Illinois, home to Stephen Douglas and the sight of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (appropriate since today is the first presidential debate of the 2012 election). The town is full of Victorian mansions so we drove around and viewed them stopping at Villa Kathrine which overlooks the River. This was a mansion built by a bachelor to mimic a Moroccan home.

We returned to Hannibal, picked up our now washed clothes, got ready for the Presidential debate by getting a take-out pizza and setting up the computer.

The debate is now over and we are relaxing. Tomorrow we go to St. Charles, Mo. for three days. We may stop and explore the Mark Twain cave on the way out of town. The jury is still out on that!

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