Sunday, May 24, 2015

In the Land of Lincoln, Tractors and James Tiberius Kirk.

This is Update #5 on our GRAND CROSS COUNTRY ADVENTURE.
For previous installments CLICK HERE!!!

So this is going to be a LONG POST because it covers from Tennessee to South Dakota.

So last I left off we were in Chattanooga at the Aquarium.
When we left Chattanooga we had a long drive to get from there to Spring Field IL, the Land of Lincoln (Logs).

Along the way we stopped at a cool National Battlefield (to get another National Park Stamp of course) called Stone River, where the Union Army of (Cu)Cumberland defeated the Confederate Army holding Murfreesboro.
Col. Gabriel Chamberlain Valdyke inspecting his artillery positions, May 20th, 2015
This is the oldest standing civil war monument in the country, built in 1863, a mere six months after the battle, by the men of Hazen's brigade, the only Union brigade not to break while holding "Hell's Half Acre" (which seems like the description of the black top I did marching band practice on in high school)

After that, we pushed ahead, really with no other stops throughout the day.
Except for these ones.
The next day we woke \up to go get yet ANOTHER STAMP (it is almost like unlocking Xbox achievement's. Do they mean anything? Admittedly no. Do I get tremendous satisfaction from them. YES!). Our hotel was pretty close by, so we left Baron behind to lounge in the room and checked it out.

After dueling with the pay meter we got to go on a tour of a house where you can't touch ANYTHING with a two year old. YAY!
Crap. He touched something.
Honest Abe himself sat at that desk in the corner. I imagine his 6' 4" self getting in and out of the seat is like Billy Madison in Kindergarten.
The black bunting is for the 150th anniversary of his death.
A historical dramatization of the Emancipation Proclamation.
We then left Springfield, and then turned around 30 minutes later because I left my hat in the restaurant we ate lunch at.
We saw how they transport silos. Tried to get a picture. Perfect timing right? Especially since this was our 3rd time passing the silos.
So after wasting an hour making a roundabout trip and then a couple hours drive, we made it to Moline. This was the biggest MUST DO of the trip. Why Moline you ask? Who wouldn't want to see one of the industrial heartlands of our country?

Okay, really though it was all about visiting my Aunt Barb, Uncle Terry and Great Grandma Peggy.
Yes, this is a 5 generation picture. That is a Great-great Grandmother with her Great Grandson and Great-great Grandson. Even Tony the Tiger is blown away by that many Greats.
She is a real trooper and it was amazing to see her. As well seeing Aunt Barb and Uncle Terry was great and they were so kind and had wonderful hospitality. And they had a lot of cool toys for their own grand children, so Gabe had a blast.
Maybe too literal a blast. But can I use a Mad Max gif in each post. Yest I can.
The next day we went to the John Deere Pavilion to see all the awesome combines, tractors and other crazy equipment.
A $400,000 seat
Gabriel has his commercial equipment license.
This one was made for use in China.
350 million this year alone! Something tells me this is dated.
And while there I became convinced that one day Skynet would go live and the machines would take over.
This is a walking destroyer of trees.
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Jennifer doing her best Vanna White.
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We went back and then my mom's cousins visited. Nick, his wife Megan, and their kids Audry, Charlie and Louie.

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Unfortunately, our time there had to end and we set out, leaving Illinois to head to South Dakota, crossing all of Iowa and Minnesota along the way. I specifically wore my 12 Parsecs shirt, because either the distance is so great or the time is so long. But if the Millennium Falcon can do the Kessel run in less than that, then I could make it to Sioux Falls.

While crossing the farmland of America may seem a little underwhelming...

...Today was our biggest day of little random awesome stops.

First we went to Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the USS Enterprise. While there, we got lost looking for the actual birth monument, and had to get directions from three separate people looking for "the rock", which we are apparently the first people to ever call it that. Anyway, it was hidden behind this tiny tiny hair salon. I guess Capt Kirk really does have humble origins. While there, I also got a shirt for the Shipbuilders Union Local Chapter. As in the people building the Enterprise in the reboot.
Even the facilities followed the theme...
View from the "Captain's Seat". Gives "You have the bridge Number Two" a whole new meaning really.
Yeah, good luck finding that.
Gabe was obviously impressed.
Live long and prosper. 
We forgot to bring our tripod.
Next was Iowa's largest frying pan.
Now I need to go find a bull to duel. BATTLE!
And then we stopped a the "Little Brown Church in the Vale"
Apparently it was designed by the same architect who designed the Derek Zoolander Center for Children Who Can't Read Good.
Jennifer has great luck with trucks getting in the way.
Gabe is obviously, once again, super impressed.
AND A TANK!
Then our last thing to see for the day was the Jolly Green Giant. This time Gabriel really was impressed.
Now tomorrow we are off to go through the South Dakota and the Badlands
One more, boo ya!


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