After a long stretch of Iowa, we finally entered Illinois, which as the sign informs everyone, is the Land of Lincoln. Fun fact: I did a report in elementary school about Lincoln, so I actually knew that. He was born in Kentucky, though. This was a bit of a special stop. Outside of Chicago, I’ve never been to Illinois, so that’s cool by itself. But this is family history: my Granddad was born and raised in rural Illinois. A bit of a treat, trying to see things as they might have been near 100 years ago. First stop, of course, was a KOA.
Lena KOA in Lena, IL. It was a nice campground with the standard pool, bounce pillow, huge chess set, and yard games, like horse shoes and you know it, corn hole, which we played before it started raining. We were outrunning thunderstorms all across the the second half of the plains, and when I got there, my cousin who lives in the area (actually, my Dad’s first cousin, even though she’s about my age), warned me of tornados. Nothing happened though, thankfully. We decided to get food to go at a nearby restaurant, which was fantastic. If I were a local, I’d be a regular at the Rafters Restaurant. So good. Before the sun went down completely, there was an opportunity to snap this shot of a ridiculously stunning sunset.
Now, to my Granddad. He was raised in Belvidere, IL, near Rockford.
Population of about 30K, so not a small town, per se. Let’s see… looking at the Wiki page, when my Granddad was growing up there, it was about 8K, much more rural. Not too far from the Big City of Chicago now, but I bet it was another world when he was growing up. I’ll have to hunt around for photos of the area back then at some point to enhance my imagination. We did stop there, but without a better place to go, we went to grab coffee. How much did Americanos cost back then, you think? I did have a good day. Thanks for the suggestion Starbucks!