Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Highways & Byways July 2015

A back road in Scott County, Illinois July 4th 2015
          On Wednesday June 24, 2015 I began this wonderful trip. It has been four years since my last genealogy/ancestor trip to Kentucky.  I can only go so long without a road trip, so this was the year!  I had planned the trip for months before hand and had already received a lot of enjoyment.  Planning my routes, motels, towns and where I would do research, etc.  I have to tell you, we have a great tool in Google.  It was fun to type in a cemetery and see driving directions to it, thanks to Google.  But finally the day was here and I was ready to take off bright and early that Wednesday morning.
          I had a few trepidations, one of which was that my car had 206,000 miles.  I had never driven it further than Laramie, Wyoming.  As a backup plan I took the car title with me in case I had to trade it off along the way.  I am happy to report that it behaved beautifully and I arrived home with complete confidence in my car.  I am glad I took the chance and took it rather than a rental car, which was my other option.
          My second concern was “Can I go all day without a nap?”  I am so used to doing exactly what I want, when I want to do it, I wondered if I would have the energy and stamina to do this.  Fortunately, adrenalin came to the rescue and I had no problem staying on schedule and on track.  Actually, this concern recaps perfectly the reason I took this trip.  To answer the question, “Can I do it?”  After all, it was my eightieth birthday trip.  So again, I am happy to report that I could do it, and I did do it.
          Another reason for this trip was to gather any unknown items to add to my book about Berriman McLaughlin. It is finally finished but I decided to wait to completely finish it until I returned from this scavenger hunt. 
          So dear reader, with those incidentals out of the way we can begin this adventure of 2015. I sincerely hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
          Travel with me through southeastern Nebraska in Thayer County, across northern Missouri, into southern Iowa and Ottumwa, Wapello County, and the central western four counties of Illinois in Scott, Morgan, Greene and Pike.
          I will introduce you to the many nice people I met, interesting experiences I had, and beautiful parts of America that I saw.
         The title, Highways and Byways signifies the importance of the wonderful ways we have, in our country, to travel. Interstates if we are in a hurry, highways if we want to see towns and people along the way, and byways for seeing the back country known usually to only the local population.  Byways are my very favorite.  And even more fun are back roads.  I traveled on all of these types of roads and am grateful that we have them.  Why, because, each type of road creates a different experience.
          My first day out was a long drive of 425 miles to York, Nebraska.  I had reserved a room at a really cheap price there, and along with the cheap price was a “No Cancel” clause.  So it was make it to York or pay for a room I wouldn’t use.  425 miles does not seem like much to some folks, but to me it seemed like a long day.  Fortunately it was cool, cloudy and rainy that day so the weather wasn’t terribly hot.  I only stopped at one place for a break. That was McPherson National Cemetery in Paxton, Nebraska.  This town is just east of North Platte.  That is where I drove into Central Daylight time and was in it for the rest of my trip.  I never drive past McPherson National Cemetery without stopping.  The first time I  stopped there was when I was on my Harley on my way to see my dad in Omaha.  That trip was again, one to see if I could do it.  Could I take a long trip by myself on my bike.  Once again, I could do it and I did do it.  It was new experience to not have John with me to get me out of tight places, and to be there if I had mechanical problems.
          McPherson National Cemetery is a smaller National cemetery that is the resting place of many veterans that lived in this part of the country at the time they passed away.  The many neat rows of white crosses never fail to stir my heart.  Our flag was at half mast as there was a service that day for a veteran.
         Entrance at McPherson National Cemetery                                    Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address              

         Following Nebraska Hwy 81 south took me to Thayer County, Nebraska. I wanted to see this area where one set of my great grandparents were married and where Catherine Edinger Collins, who I believe is my 2nd great grandmother, lived the last years of her life. That is Hubbell, Thayer County, Nebraska.  This is just about as close to Kansas as  you can be, without actually being in Kansas.

Stay tuned for further excerpts from my Highways Story.    Patj

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