$29: Clinton State Park
On the road by 6am this morning for a long day of driving. But how could I not stop in Casey, Illinois to visit their Big Things in a Small Town?
They’re big things.
In a small town.
Some are Guinness-certified as “The World’s Largest”.
Others are just Big.
A big pencil.
Biggest Rocking chair.
(No credit given to Lily Tomlin)
Biggest wind chime.
Take a moment to imagine the nightmare your mail goes through every day the mail(wo)man opens the hatch and reaches in. Terrifying.
The Big Birdcage.
You can see a very similar cage driving by the parking lot of the “Bare Assets” strip club in Key West.
Assumedly, both have bottle service.
All the places of interest are beautifully landscaped. The grass is so perfect it doesn’t quite seem real. Flowers in bloom. Swept clean. The Sunday morning stillness in the air.
All exhibits have some sort of bible verse(s) attached to them, related to the item.
Most sites are within walking distance, so it was the perfect Sunday morning jaunt.
This of you who are longtime blog readers, may see a pattern of “big and biggest” photos from past visits to: the world’s largest Dilly Bar, a giant prairie dog, dinosaurs, another rocking chair claiming to be the largest, the “largest pistachio in the world“, etc. You get the idea. And those were just the ones off the top of my head.
Since I was already off the beaten track, rather than re-join I-70’s fast-paced race West, I took Route 40. It runs parallel to I-70 for a long time, and takes you back in time. Through real towns. With real hardware stores and diners. Shiny grain silos. Classic cars on their way to a community show.
And I was quite literally going back in time, since the time zone soon changed back one hour.
Kansas City snapped me back to reality. I-70 was been closed in two places on this trip. This was the second, riddled with detours. Ok, fine. But then I experienced these three things within 5 miles:
- Thanks to the detour, you merge onto one highway, only to have one mile to cross 4 lanes of traffic to get in the left lane (the only lane going to I-70). Y’know those drivers who, when you’re ahead of them and signal a lane change to their lane, accelerate? That’s no fun when you’re towing a trailer, and need to cross 4 lanes. No fun. Most KC drivers were like that.
- After I made the swap to the left lane, another driver who couldn’t manage to compromise enough change lanes, stopped. Yes, stopped. In the fast lane (the lane I was in, that went to I-70). Stopped.
- Before all this happened, I saw brake-lights ahead of me, slowed to crawl, and tried to avoid hitting a crazy-eyed man weaving, on foot, through the speeding lanes of traffic, almost daring to be run over.
I’m sure Kansas City is lovely. Really. Just not today.
It was a risk, but I held out until Clinton Lake State Park to camp. No one answers the phone on Sundays, and you usually can’t make day-of online reservations, so I just took the 8-mile detour off I-70 and hoped.
It’s Sunday night, and the lake is flooded (21-feet higher than normal). So, with the marina, boat ramps, and beaches closed, it’s pretty quiet. Plenty of open walk-up places.
And here I am. Aimed out for the next day’s driving. Colorado tomorrow?