(Also four states in one day!)
Our last stop in Kentucky was at the John James Audubon State Park in Henderson (#42) (https://parks.ky.gov/parks/recreationparks/john-james/), where there is a great museum that documents his life, even though only a small portion was spent in this town. The museum itself was built by the WPA in the depression and mimics a French chateau (Audubon was born in Haiti and spent his youth in France after the slave uprising in Haiti, later moving to the U.S. to avoid being drafted in the Napoleonic wars).
We then crossed the Ohio river into Indiana at Evansville and then proceeded west to the Wabash river (border with Illinois) for lunch in New Harmony, Indiana, a national historic landmark (#43) (https://newharmony-in.gov/). It was settled in 1814 and was first a spiritual sanctuary for the Harmonie Society and then a haven for international scientists and scholars led by Robert Owen in 1825.
We sped across Illinois and wound up for the night (April 11) in St. Charles, Missouri, which is on the Missouri river just a bit above where it joins the Mississippi near St. Louis. This town was settled by French Canadians in 1769, when the territory was still under Spanish ownership. In 1804, it was the site of the departure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on their way west to the Pacific, and it also served at the first Missouri State Capital from 1821-1826. Seeing as we visited Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia in Washington State in January, it was a nice connection to see where they effectively started their westward journey.
It is a charming river front town that has well-preserved old buildings and many tourist-friendly restaurants and shops for all those things you don’t need but can’t resist buying. More importantly the St. Louis Water Color society was hosting an exhibit at the Missouri Artist on Main Gallery (#44) (https://maomgallery.com/), which we took in along with the Foundry Art Centre (http://www.foundryartcentre.org/), where we attended an evening opening for a ceramics exhibit. We spent two nights in St Charles, which gave Larry a chance also to take the Lincoln for an oil change as we have now gone over 5000 miles since leaving Olympia.
Many Germans settled in the lower Missouri valley and they brought with them not only a penchant and skill for brewing beer (think Annhauser-Busch), but also wine-making traditions. We decided to leave the freeway on our way west and stopped at the town of Herman on the “wine country trail” and are bringing back a few bottles of Missouri wine.
Before quitting for the night north of Kansas City, we stopped at Independence to visit the Truman Library and Museum (#45) (https://trumanlibrary.org), where we toured exhibits on his boyhood, family life, presidential years and life after the presidency. This makes the sixth presidential site we visited on this trip, including Clinton, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Andrew Jackson and Truman