Saturday, October 03, 2020

A Super Time in Illinois

We woke up bright and early for some fun times at Riverview Campground.

I'm an ant person but I still like a good termite as much as the next guy. An easy way to tell the difference is that ants have an elbow in their antennae, while termites' antennae protrude straight out from their lil heads. Another fun fact is that termites actually eat the wood, due to fancy bacteria in their guts. Ants will burrow through wood to build their nests but they aren't actually eating the wood.

A fun game to play when sitting around the campfire is to see who the gods punish by blowing smoke and cinders directly into their eyeballs. Thoughts and prayers.

Riverview Campground lived up to its name. We were camped at the Illinois/Kentucky border overlooking the Ohio River.

Barges are so slow and weird looking. You'd think a boat that sits about an inch above the water line and goes about 2 miles an hour would get sunk pretty easily.

Fort Massac State Park was nearby, and Lord knows I'm down for a good state park. Spending time going to a non-Missouri state park hurt a little bit but it was still a fun time. Forts are just fun anyway, I think we can all agree. "I'm comin to kill you!" "Good luck cause I'm in a damn fort. Pew pew!"

Fort Massac State Park is the first Illinois state park, founded in 1908. Various forts were built here and changed hands among the usual imperial suspects: Spanish, French, and finally American. Wikipedia had some interesting things to say about the place. "The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his soldiers may have built a fort nearby as early as 1540. Maps from the early 18th century show an "Ancien Fort" ("Old Fort") near this location."

I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole reading about this place. All I knew about Aaron Burr prior to writing this blog was that he was some guy that killed Alexander Hamilton. I didn't know that he was the 3rd Vice President of the US, under Thomas Jefferson. Apparently this crazy dude took part in the "Burr Conspiracy", where he attempted to get British and Spanish and just about anyone else who would listen's support to... take over some of the US' new territory and establish another country? "Burr's true intentions remain unclear and, as a result, have led to varying theories from historians: some claim that he intended to take parts of Texas and the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase for himself, while others believe he intended to conquer Mexico or even the entirety of North America." Anyway, very very long story short, Burr had a shady meeting at this fort to talk about some unclear but very shady stuff. It's funny the US history you learn as a kid makes the American path to supremacy seem like a straight line of awesomeness through history, when in reality our history is littered with nutjobs.

The side of the river was littered in fish corpses in various interesting stages of decay.

George Rogers Clark is another example of apparently how little I know about US history. Wikipedia: "He is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. The British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest"." 

Zoe's boyfriend Spencer is a big disc golfer and so we brought a set with us and hit a local course.

I don't recall who won but I remember it was not me.

To celebrate... someone's disc golf victory we headed over to Cache River Basin Vineyard & Winery. I've been doing a lot more wineries lately because it's all about drinking outside, where I'm safe from airborn cooties.

Spencer and Zoe risked their lives to go in and try a wine or two and pick us a winner while we waited outside. After careful deliberation they picked us a bottle that had I believe gone bad, tasted like vinegar, and was pretty much undrinkable. 

We wandered the grounds and checked out the grape vines as well as a little pond nearby. There were a ton of these burrow things that I had never seen before. I had to look it up but they are crayfish holes.

Evan and Sam went back to camp but I saw a road sign that I couldn't ignore: Metropolis! The plaque on Lois Lane here read:

"Noel Neill acted in almost 100 movies, but she is best known for her portrayal of Lois Lane in the television series "The Adventures of Superman". Miss Neill, also known as the "first lady of Metropolis", has been a favorite celebrity guest of numerous superman celebrations."

On the drive over here we were blasting like every Superman related song we could think of:

3 Doors Down - Kryptonite
Five for Fighting – Superman (It's Not Easy)
Crank That (Soulja Boy)
Eminem - Superman

You know, all the hits.

There's a mini episode of Adventures of Superman that is in the public domain because it was funded by the treasury department as an advertisement to get children to buy government savings bonds during the 1950s.

We practiced our flying a few times.

Spencer had a cool trick to super charge the fire using his air mattress pump as a billows.

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