day 54
across illinois

"Who woulda thought you'd have to go to Illinois for good Cajun food?" -a.
home...    map...    photos...    contact us...      visit our giftshop!
We Be Illin':
Nickname: Land o' Lincoln
Land Area: 55,593 sq.mi.
High Point: Charles Mound
Height: 1,235 ft
Population: 11,981,700
Capital: Springfield
Largest City: Chicago

Claim to Fame: Why, Tampico, the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, of course!

Patriotic Roadside Message of the Day

Congratulations Don!
Don Campbell of Ottawa, Ontario, you've won our Washington Contest by correctly identifying every single one of the landmarks behind Kevin's hideous hat. Not too shabby for a Canadian.

For those who weren't as brilliant as Don, we've posted the correct answers so you can kick yourselves.

1. Jefferson Memorial
2. White House
3. Treasury Building*
4. Capital Building
5. Lincoln Memorial
6. Washington Monument
7. Jefferson Memorial
8. Lincoln Memorial
9. The Reflecting Pool
Bonus: That's Washington's Nipple!

*The most common incorrect answer was #3. And of course the nipple.
Travelling in the footsteps of our beloved forefathers.

The Trek Continues
Oct 19 - I don't consider myself a Star Trek fan. I've caught the show a few times by accident; usually the tribbles episode. But in my mind, Star Trek has two strikes against it. And they're personal ones. The first is that Captain Janeway looks exactly like my high school English teacher. And she was nasty. So Voyager's out.

The second: Leonard Nemoy stood me up one Hallowe'en a few years back...I remember it like it was yesterday... diddle iddle um... diddle iddle um... (wavy lines) ...

I was working for a television network (it's one that I won't name, but it specializes in SCI FI programming, wink wink) and we were planning a Celebrity Chat with Mr. Nimoy. As often happens with these chats, the celebrity doesn't do the typing themselves. So the plan was that I would be on the phone with him and let him know what people were asking and I'd type in his responses. In a sense, for an hour, I was going to be Spock.

But the pointy eared jerk stood me up. Slowly the hours slipped by and not a peep from the man. We started calling anyone who may have known him. Nothing. He was MIA. After a few depressing hours of waiting, and dealing with several hundred upset fans, I went home. But y'know what? I was more upset about missing a good Hallowe'en night than missing Nimoy.

Heh? Why did I just tell you those stories? I believe I was trying to bring you into the same state of mind that I was in as we neared Riverside, Iowa. Riverside - in case you don't get the Super Fan Mega Info Official Trek Fest Bulletin - is the Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. It's where the best, no, the trek, begins.

Apparently a few years ago, some dweeb in Riverside was watching Kirk Trek, and Kirk mentioned that he was born in a small Iowa town. Kirk must have glanced at the camera when he said this, because the dweeb (let's call him "Tiberius") thought Kirk was talking to him. "Tiberius," he said, "When I said that, I was talking about your town. You may even be my granddaddy, and my namesake. You are the true hero of this show. Kirk out."

This was the defining moment in Tiberius's life. He petitioned for the town to change its official slogan from "Where the Best Begins" to "Where the Trek Begins", bringing dozens more dollars in tourism and saving the town, just like Kirk saved Earth from the Kling-ons.

All of this Trek-ness is celebrated in a yearly Trek Fest (last Saturday in June!) that I'm sure just gives the future Captain Kirk shivers of joy. But that's not all this town does for its visitors. They've contructed a year-round, somewhat rusty and riveted version of the Enterprise for you to ogle at. And right there on the trailer that is holding the Enterprise (there wasn't a trailer in the show, was there?) they boldly state their claim to fame: The Official Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.

My question: what are they going to do on March 21, 2228?

Meet Ron and Amy:
An Experience You Won't Forget!

Names: Ron McFarlain and Amy Martin.
Occupations: Founders of the incredible Cajun Connection.
Cooking School: Ron learned how to cook from the best: his grandmother. Ron used to have an afternoon nap at his granny's house and, when he was old enough, started helping her with her daily cooking. He quickly became a natural at the old style cajun flavour.
Testing Ground: In need of some money after leaving Louisiana, Ron started cooking at county fairs around the country. This was before he realized how good he was. Once it sunk in that he was a kick-ass cajun cook, Ron and Amy settled down in Illinois and opened The Cajun Connection.
Talkin' Gators: The largest gator Ron ever caught was a huge 10-footer! Beat that, Steve Irwin!
Claim to Fame: Ron is the leading supplier of alligator outside of Lousiana. That's a lot of gator!
Our Cajun Connection: We're now the connection between Ron and his friends in New Orleans. Their friends have never been able to make it up to Illinois (gee, I wonder why?) and so we're bringing a copy of The Cajun Connection's menu to them! We offered to bring a pie down, but Ron accurately guessed that we'd scarf it down before we were an hour outta town.

the final frontier...

To boldly go where no man has bothered to go before.

It's no use, Captain! We're caught in some kind of tractor beam!

I'm giving 'er all she's got, but it's no use!

Slowing to impulse
more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Riverside, Iowa

Next Stop: Chicago

see the full map...

Today's Weather:

Daily Stats

To Donny:1st Prize
To Jeff:2nd Prize
To Scott:T-shirt
To Iowa:$41.00
To NY:Address Form
Post Office:Tampico

Sleeping Quarters
Illinois Beach State Park

Nice enough place. Clean, quiet, the usual.

Cost: $11.00

Alissa's Mom's
Iowa City
K Had:Honey Nut Clusters
A Had:OJ
Cajun Connection
Route 6, between La Salle and Ottawa
K's Order:Jambalaya and Gumbo
A's Order:Blackened Chicken and Rice
Samples:Fried Alligator
Pecan Pie

A Little Taste of Home!
In Illinois? Who woulda thought? It was closed when we got there, but one of the waiters let us have a look around. Turns out the original owner used to go fishing up in Thunder Bay!

Your email address...

© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. It's 115 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank o' gas...