Touching the Places: Mount Pleasant and Springfield, Days 9 and 10

Day 9 (Sep 9): 198 miles (2652 miles total route), 16.9 mpg, 6 hrs, stops in Swedesburg and Burlington IA Day 10 (Sep 10): 41 touring miles in Springfield, 16.1 mpg

Day 9 (Sep 9): 198 miles (2652 miles total route), 16.9 mpg, 6 hrs, stops in Swedesburg and Burlington IA
Day 10 (Sep 10): 41 touring miles in Springfield, 16.1 mpg

If you could travel in time, to what time, person and place would you go? We have all speculated on this fun question, yes? It’s fun because we begin to imagine something that is impossible, of course, but wonderful if somehow it could be true.

Of those three—time, person and place—one of them, the place, can still be touched. That’s why we will subject ourselves to the melancholy of re-visiting places we shared with departed loved ones, like where Dad liked to camp or the beach where we spent that vacation.  Sure it’s not the same without them, but we still go, to touch something they touched.

Time and persons have moved on, but place remains.

picstitchDays 8, 9 and 10 of this trip had this in common, that we touched places where at another time, a past time, important people had walked, worked, lived and loved. From the hard-to-find grave of Nancy’s great-grandfather in Nebraska to the hard-to-miss grave of President Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, gravestones provided memorials and information, though we thought more about where these people lived than where they died.

The prior post gave a taste of Day 8 with our visits to places where my Dad lived and to where Nancy’s Swedish ancestors settled in Nebraska. Then the first half of our 9th day (Sept 9) was spent in the company of a wonderful new friend who showed us the little town of Mount Pleasant (IA) MPtownwhich figures in my family’s story. A huge thank you to Pat Ryan White of the Henry County Heritage Trust who showed us great kindness by taking us to the Presley Saunders sites in Mount Pleasant. My 3rd Great-Grandfather did well by establishing a town that could produce the likes of Pat.

The second half of that day we avoided interstates and zig-zagged on small roads through parts of Illinois where Lincoln did his early lawyering. Day 10 (Sep 10) was great for rest, a visit to the Lincoln Museum, and his gravesite, as well as a drive-by sighting of the old statehouse where Lincoln served and his first home.

Lincoln Fam, life size.

Lincoln Fam, life size.

The Lincoln Museum is an absolute marvel. The figures of the Lincoln, his family, Grant, McClellan, Booth, Douglas seemed to make history leap off the page. The displays were emotional, shaped creatively by the curators to engage the visitors. A tableau showing a slave auction made me understand how the young Lincoln, on seeing this, would come to detest the practice. The comically displayed row of the printed insults that he endured, the maligning cartoons, were shown with a background of muttering voices throughout that hallway, then you step

Grant (r) talking to McClellan in front of the White House

Grant (r) talking to McClellan in front of the White House

into another room displaying aspects of his children’s deaths, and then details on the war.  A map showing how the casualties mounted over 4 years held me by the heart.

For all of this, from people important just to us, to people important to the world, we have come closer to each of them because we touched the places where they were.

PShome

White House

John Wilkes Booth, background left, does not like what he sees.

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About Cal Stevens

Learning professional, a training manager, speaker, writer; two careers in helping others succeed. Travel writer for the common road trip.
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One Response to Touching the Places: Mount Pleasant and Springfield, Days 9 and 10

  1. eduJamesE says:

    I’ve often thought I’d like to sit in on the Lewis & Clark expedition. You’ve covered a lot of the same ground they did!

    Cal – check your PM in the PopupTimes site. I’ve left you my cell phone # so we can discuss the upcoming weekend.

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