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  • Galena/Dubuque to St. Louis
  • St. Louis to Memphis

    Galena/Dubuque to St. Louis

    Here is a story you might like.

    This summer, my wife and I, with another couple and the parents of the other wife, went on a Mississippi Queen cruise from St. Louis, up, then down the river. On the second day, in Hannibal, I recognized that our camcorder battery was dead. While strolling around Hannibal, we tried to find a replacement, but it was Tom Sawyer Days, so we were out of luck. Dejected, we stopped to check out a book store, and while we were making our purchase asked the proprietor if he thought someone was open who sold camcorder batteries. He thought a moment and suggested Walmart, but noted it was several miles outside of town. Just as he told us that, he glanced around the store and asked "would you like a ride over there?". My friend and I looked at each other, and started to decline, but then changed our mind and said yes.

    Just then, his daughter returned from an errand, he turned to her and his wife and asked them to mind the store. Sure enough he gave us a ride over to the Walmart, I got the battery and he drove us back. Now that was real hospitality.
    Joe Bradley --

    St. Louis to Memphis

    Where is the best place to get navigational charts of the Lower Mississippi River? We are especially interested in the section between Memphis and New Orleans. Anywhere on the Net? Thanks, Tom Cleland

    Tom, check out the January Random Links list. There are some chart sources there. --Pat

    Help! I want to visit Paducah on 18 January or 3 February...what can you tell me about quilting and Catholic churches in the downtown area of Paducah.

    Dear Heather, Paducah has an EXCELLENT tourism bureau (tell them I said that!). You can call them at 502-443-8783. or at 800-359-4775.

    Contact the Quilter's Society at 502-898-7903. The Quilting Museum is at 502-442-8856.

    They also have a web site. Search out Paducah on AltaVista. I can't remember whether it is in our links or not. I know Kentucky State Tourism has a link on our links page, and they could refer you to Paducah's 800 number. Check out

    It's not a very big town, so the Quilting museums along the river are very easy to find. I didn't hear much about the Catholic churches during my visits, but the tourism people can tell you.

    Reach Paducah easily via Interstate 57 from Chicago or Interstate 70 to 57 from Indianapolis.

    Find more about Paducah and the entire stretch from St. Louis to Memphis in our brand new Volume 3 of Discover! America's Great River Road.

    Have a great trip! --Pat

    Oh, thank you. And, healthful blessings to you in 1997! Paducah here I come!! Heather

    To: Willson Flor and all:
    I had your email right with me and did enjoy MANY nice places. One of my favorite stops was Altenburg/Wittenburg, Missouri, (birthplace of the Missouri Synod) and Tower Rock (seen from the Missouri side). Had an 80+ year old grad student guiding me around. His grandmother (or "great") was one of the original German settlers. We ate wild persimmons while we mused about Tower Rock and the terrific floods in 1993 and 1995 that brought an end to Wittenburg. I picked up an historical novel, "Lest the Corn Die." Really brought the area to life for me.

    Other favorites included the Ozarks/Shawnee Hills area of S. Illinois. Saw my first rattlesnake of all time. And it was limestone white! with the usual pale brown markings. I was with a DNR fellow (Andy) who used to work at the Genoa Fish Hatchery, so the sighting was verified. A thrill for me. It was very docile. Watched us closely, but did not threaten or rattle. We took pictures that I'd like to put up.

    The contrast between the wild bluff uplands of the Shawnee Hill areas and the flat, agricultural bottoms at the bottom of the bluffs is quite amazing, given the very small area involved.

    Also met a commercial fisherman and trapper. Showed me snakes, and snappers, furs, a snoutless paddlefish (his "paddle" chopped off by a prop), live fox and coons, and Indian relics. He is definitely an "artist" at what he does.

    Met Gloria, another writer, who lived all her long life in Maeystown, Illinois. Her corn acreage in the bottoms between Valmayer and Prairie du Rocher was under twelve feet of water during the Flood of 1993. We had to stop and seek directions as her landmarks had all washed away.

    It was good, Will. It's a wonderful area for exploring river history, even though the river is seldom seen. --Very best regards,

    For everything there is to see and a complete schedule of events in Southern Illinois, click here to visit the excellent Southern Illininois Tourism website.

    Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 16:24:51 -0500
    From: Willson Flor (
    Hi, Pat - we've corresponded in the past, so I definitely remember you. The thing I like about Thebes, Illinois is the natural feature there called Thebes Gap. It's the only place on the Mississippi River south of Minnesota or thereabouts (I think) where there's steep, hilly ground on both sides of the river, instead of the usual several-mile-wide valley lowlands. This is because the river cut its way through the Gap very recently in geological time. The railroad bridge between Thebes and Scott City, MO is quite impressive as well. There are some tremendous views of the river from the new Illinois highway 3 between East Cape Girardeau and Thebes; the highway was completely recostructed after being destroyed by the severe flooding a few years ago.

    Another interesting thing is the ferry between Sainte Genevieve, MO and Prairie du Rocher, IL - if it's still in operation (I think it is) this is probably the last ferry in existence in this part of the river. Fort de Chartre near its Illinois terminus is well worth a visit.

    If you visit Tower Rock, visit it from both sides if you can (much harder in the last 20 years since the ferry there closed.) The small town on the Illinois side has a lovely city park on a nice "lost hill" but Tower Rock itself is best visited from the Missouri side - at very low water, you can even walk out to it! The point just downstream from the Rock has quarry rail track and even an old wooden "mine car" still visible as of my last visit, about a year ago.

    In Shawnee National Forest, some of the most beautiful areas near the Mississippi are in or near the LaRue-Pine Hills Natural Area, near Wolf Lake, IL, just a bit north of East Cape. If at all possible, take the drive through this area - it's very impressive, both because of very nice scenic vistas (including the river sometimes, abandoned former riverbeds amost always) and from the road itself - the switchbacks make one think of Colorado instead of the usually-flat Illinois. You can really see why the locals call them the Illinois Ozarks. Also go to Little Grand Canyon, just a few miles from the LaRue-Pune Hills area - it's very impressive, too.

    That's all I can think of at the moment, and all of these areas are just a few miles from the Mississippi, so I recommend visiting as many of them as you have time for! -Will Flor

    Re: Mississippi River Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 14:48:28 -0400
    Sure Pat, some ideas worth considering ... Near Cape Girardeau there is an island, more like a big rock, in the middle of the river that in 1987 or so, for the first time in 100 years people could walk to, thanks to a drought. I am not sure of the year, but i know the Cape newspapers covered it (I walked out there and it was pretty neat -- felt like charlton heston with the red sea!) Trail of Tears state park is also located on the Missouri side, and is very nice, with an interpretative museum. Ste. Genevieve, MO is the oldest settlement west of the mississippi, and is fairly close to Hawn State Park. Accross the river by Ferry is Fort Des Chartes, and Fort Kaskasia (illinois) state park with a beautiful view, and a great story about this guy who set up his own nation, briefly, and commanded it from the site. If you ride bikes, its a nice ride along the river road from Columbia, Ill, through the flood wiped out town of Val Meyer, to the State Park. (About 50 miles). That's the stuff that comes to mind first, but there is a lot to see along the river! Bob

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