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FRIDAY - We are in Route 66 territory here in Illinois. So we decided to drive a short 15-mile section of it from Lincoln to Atlanta, not the one in Georgia, the one here in Illinois.

The Historic Route 66 parallels the modern day Interstate 55 between these two small Illinois towns and boy do I wish I had taken the Interstate. To say that Route 66 is a little bumpy would be a huge understatement.

At the intersection of Vine (aka Route 66) and Arch Streets in Atlanta, IL is where you'll find...

...the newest Route 66 themed museum who's Grand Opening is on Memorial Day next month.

They already have one giant hanging out in the side yard with space for at least three more.

This guy is just across the street and holding a giant hotdog in his hands?

Hey! Who's that photobombing my 19' foot tall friend?

OK, now that the fun stuff is done it's time to put on some miles before the weather takes a turn for the worse later this morning.

Here's another one of those boring travel day photos. At least this one has newly planted fields in the foreground, buildings filled to the rafters with caged chickens in the middle and wind turbines in the background generating electricity.

Upon arrival at Starved Rock State Park it was pouring down rain and not expected to let up in the next few hours. Guess the outside campsite photos will have to wait until tomorrow.

SATURDAY - This morning just after breakfast we headed over to the Visitor Center to basically "see what there is to see" here in the park.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, when I'm researching where it is we are going to visit I usually only research long enough to decide two things. One is if we even need to visit the location and two, try to get a feel for how long it may take to "see most everything" at that location. I guess the third thing would be to find out if I need to make arrangements for things like timed entry passes (i.e. National Parks), hiking permits, boat tours or advanced ferry tickets in the case of island camping.

Once the determination is made that we'll plan a visit somewhere I stop reseaching, so that when we arrive we're more likely to enjoy the surrounds and leave something to be surprised by that we weren't expecting. It's just what works for us! It may not work for you.

What my preliminary research revealed about Starved Rock State Park is that it is unanimously regarded as the "Premiere State Park" in all of Illinois, according to the few websites I use to get information on state parks. I don't rely on the State Parks websites for information, otherwise according to them, EVERY state park is somewhere you need to visit.

What our Visitor Center outing this morning taught us is first, you don't want to visit Starved Rock State Park on the weekend, this is true of most state parks. The weekend, even in the shoulder season like it is here and now, is filled with locals and travelers alike on the trails, so is the campground by the way.

Starved Rock is known for their hiking trails, all 13-miles of them. They offer views of waterfalls, canyons and high overlooks of the Illinois River.

All the trails are listed as easy to moderate, so that's why they're so popular. Today at 10:00AM the huge parking lots were already half filled with mostly Illinois licence tagged vehicles. Younger people and young familys seemed to make up most of the crowd today. We're hoping tommorow may be a little less crowded so we can get out and hike.

SUNDAY - It's been raining here for the last two days, mostly at night, and we haven't really been able to do much outdoorwise.

We're just glad we're not getting the same weather that's occuring 400-miles west of here in Iowa and Nebraska. Tornados have also been devastating the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas. There have been 138 tornados reported over the last 48-hours in these 6 states.

The town of Sulphur, OK was torn apart last night by a large tornado. If you remember, we were just there two weeks ago.

I'll be happy to deal with the winds and rain here, just keep the hail and tornados away from us.

We did manage to get out of THE POD today and do one of the shorter hikes.

The Starved Rock Trail is only .6-mile round trip, but it's all uphill (125') until you turn around to head back.

The name "Starved Rock" is derived from an Indian legend about a village of indians coming under attack and they sought refuge on top of this rock. The attacking indians surrounded the rock and prevented the indians from getting food or water. Eventually the entire village perished from starvation on top of the rock.

Although it's a pretty gruesome legend, no one has ever been able to substantiate it with facts.



The trail starts out flat and simple from behind the Visitor Center.

Then the paved path starts gradually heading uphill.

Next to approach the first set of stairs.

Around the corner you'll immediately be presented with the next set of stairs.

The top of the second set of stairs leaves you just short of the top of the rock.

From up here you get a bird's eye view of the Starved Rock Lock and Dam.

There's a small loop in the trail on top of the rock...

...but eventually what goes up, must come down! Back to the parking lot that is.

Back down on the ground be found the parking lot surrounded by Canadian Geese.

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