Day #66. Another Mississippi River road trip

LOCATION:  Cape Girardeau, Missouri – right on the Mississippi River in SE Missouri
CAMPGROUND:  3rd night at Trail of Tears State Park
WEATHER:  Overcast and light rain most of the day.  High 63

Rain was predicted for the afternoon and evening, so we got in our hike in the morning.  We did one of the trails here in the park.  It took us up to a bluff overlooking the river.  It was a steep 3-mile up-and-down hike, giving us a good cardio workout. 

We visited the park’s Visitor Center.  The name Trail of Tears comes from a sad part of USA history when the Cherokee Indians were forced to leave their homes in the East and had to escape to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).  Many, many died along the way, hence the name.  Our park is where they stayed during one especially brutal winter, waiting for weather conditions when they could cross the river.  Even more deaths. 

After lunch here in the camper (ramen using leftover meat), we took off for another loop on the Great River Road.  This time we went north, but to go north, we had to go south first to Cape Girardeau, to get to a bridge.  There aren’t that many bridges along the way.  We drove about 50 miles north in Illinois.  We crossed in a town called Chester, home of the man who created Popeye….

This bridge took us back over to Missouri.

We checked out Ste. Genevieve where we will be next week.  We wanted to get the logistics worked out, and it is good that we did.  We will be staying at two different wineries/vineyards out in the country there.  Since we are not supposed to unhook at Harvest Hosts, we need to “kill” part of the day before going to the second winery, while still towing Joy.  We plan to spend the day in the historic town of Ste. Genevieve.  Today, on our logistics trip, we encountered a very low bridge over the road – only 9 feet high.  We would not have made it with the trailer.  Good to know.  We went to the Welcome Center to talk with the staff about where we could park with Joy on Monday.  After getting that accomplished, and figuring out an alternate route (avoiding the low bridge), we headed out to their wine country..  It is like a little Napa Valley here – about 15 wineries and 2 breweries.  Since we will have Joy with us next week, we checked out two today on the Route de Vin. 

This place was jammed!  It is a brewery and distillery.  Perhaps because it was a rainy day without nothing much else to do, it was full of young people.  (Many did not look 21 and there were no masks to be seen.)  There were party buses bringing in even more people.  A loud singer crooned in the background.  It really wasn’t our scene, so we left early.

The next place took us down a very rugged gravel/dirt narrow road.  We were next to a river with a road sign warning us that the road was not usable when it rained.  We thought we had taken a wrong turn!  Then, up up up a steep hill, and surprisingly to the winery/microbrewery. This one was quieter with a better vibe.  The owners/wait staff were our age and were duly masked.  They brought in this 150-year old house and turned it into a B&B. 

The winery, brewery, and B&B cabin overlook the vineyard and valley below.  I tasted their Chambourcin wine, which is a grape native to Missouri.  It was actually quite good, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon.  George tasted their IPA and barley wine.  The owner gave him a can of IPA to take home to try.  Nice! 

Then, an hour’s drive back south to the campground.  Another nice day.

DINNER:  Chicken tacos.  I sauteed some leftover chicken with onions and mushrooms with Mexican seasonings.  I placed the tortilla shells in a Pyrex dish, piled on the chicken mix with some salsa, and then sprinkled some Cheddar cheese .  I was running low on cheese, so I added a small dollop of cream cheese to augment the Cheddar.  I then baked the tacos (instead of grilling or frying).  Side was a mix of stir-fry zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. They turned out well.  I made chicken broth with the bones for George’s Sunday morning grits tomorrow. 

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