2017 Trip East to see the Colors travel blog

Rio the Cat on his preferred perch - once we stop.

Audubon Museum exterior

Our trip from Lake of the Ozarks to Henderson, KY was scheduled to be about 6 hours - mostly through farmland and the St Louis metropolis. But it was eclipse day and shortly before we left on this road trip we realized that we would be travelling through the path of totality. Jefferson City, the state capital, was “filling” up fields and parks with eclipse observers at 10 in the morning. We had a path mapped out to go south of St Louis and the timing was such that we were able to take a detour in Illinois to stop in Simonton, IL to observe the solar event. It was very COOL. We actually stopped in the Dollar General Store lot with local folks. As reported, over and over, on the news there was a collective gasp, then a “WOW”, then cheering and applause.

Our trip through Illinois via I-64 was GREEN with corn and other unidentified crops. If I was a farmer I would put up readable signs with the type of crop. I-64 does not travel through the farming towns but we could see the grain elevators and co-op operations. There was some similarity to travelling I-40 from Gallup to Holbrook – except for the green. We hit rush hour in Evansville, IN which was notable only because we were pulling the trailer. Henderson, KY is just across the Ohio River from Evansville.

We stayed at John James Audubon State Park and it is right in the city. It is a beautiful place with camping, a 9-hole golf course, a lake with paddle boats and canoes, several picnic areas, cabins and the Audubon Museum and Nature Center. Audubon lived in Henderson for about 9 years in the early 1800s and one family in particular kept his work alive. The museum was built as part of the WPA in the 1930s and the work was done by CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp). We saw the films, viewed many of his drawings and took a couple of short hikes. A sculptor from Louisville, KY did some bronze statues of 14 of the more recognizable birds and they are placed on a “trail” through downtown Henderson. We walked that trail – cool views of the Ohio River and some beautiful old homes with great views.

Trees are very tall here in the park and there are many pecan and walnut trees. Squirrels run all over the place and there are plenty of robins taking advantage of the wet soil and availability of worms. We have seen several Great Blue Herons by the lake – quite majestic – which we have also seen at Bosque del Apache. An observation room to the outside let us view cardinals, gold finches, hummingbirds and bluebirds. Oh – we also got to watch a skunk as he wondered over to eat the seed under a bird feeder. We have never seen a skunk in the wild – they are mostly nocturnal. The ranger says this particular skunk has taken to joining the birds at the dinner/supper hour.

“Henderson is on the river but never in it!" That a local motto. The city sits above flood level – or at least so far. The heat and humidity stuck with us through Tuesday but it cooled down on Wednesday, which made the hiking quite enjoyable. I need to get in the habit of taking photos to share on this sight – I have been pretty bad about it but next stop.

We leave today, Thursday 8-24, for six nights at the recreation area on Ft. Knox near Louisville, KY. See you there.

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