Abraham Lincoln Country - Illinois

We have been wandering the back roads of Illinois. We can only stay on the inter-states for so long without going crazy. What should have been a half day's drive from Marion to Ottawa took us a full eight hours meandering along on by-ways and local roads.

We got lost a couple of times. Our Garmin Nuvi GPS  refuses to communicate in any language other than Spanish or Portugese. A German brand, purchased in the US and recently up-dated in Australia - it's choice of language is weird. The really strange thing is that it spoke perfectly good English until we up-dated the maps at home in Sydney before setting out on our holiday.  Because I speak basic Spanish it isn't a big issue but it does lead to the occasional wrong turn.

David's previously non-existent Spanish however is improving exponentially. He will soon be fluent in such phrases as: -

"girar a la derecha:" - turn right.

"llegando al destino" - you are arriving at your destination.

"hacer un cambio de sentido - make a u-turn - This last one must always be said with a hint of panic in the voice.

It will be fun to see how he slips these into the conversation when we are next in South America.

Illinois is Abraham Lincoln country. In Vandalia we stumbled across the Illinois State Capitol Building, an impressive edifice used for only a few years before the capitol was moved to Springfield. Lincoln and a group of legislators known as the 'Long Nine' seem to have used less than worthy means to stack the vote to move the capitol. Lincoln is the closest thing the US has to a saint and it is rare to read anything critical of him. The suggestion on an information board outside the Vandalia Capitol Building that he may have stooped to 'logrolling' is rare criticism.  Interestingly in a time when the average height of a man was 5ft 6in all of the 'Long Nine' were over 6ft. Lincoln himself was 6ft 4in.

Illinois is littered with historical references to Lincoln. Everywhere he lived, slept, worked, debated, spoke or even stopped to admire the view seems to have a plaque, statute, visitor centre or park commemorating the occasion.

Notice the epithet  'Abraham Lincoln Site' - you see that a lot in Illinois

The old Illinois State Capitol at Vandalia

A statute in Ottawa commemorating the Lincoln/Douglas debate which took place there.

The Davis Mansion - a Lincoln site by virtue of the fact that Lincoln and Davis were friends.

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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

28 June 2014


  1. Hi Lyn & David. Looks like you are having a great time. I have just read the blog with interest. Tho I'm not sure if you will get this as I noticed the comment on comments not getting through. You are missing cold and windy weather here! Mark S.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the comment. It came through fine. I think I've got the missing comments thing sorted - but it's hard to know for sure. The old - ' You don't know what you're not getting' conundrum - lol!