So, as you can see, we are speeding our way across the highways back to New York to stay with our dear friends Dot and John before we fly back home. It doesn’t seem possible that two weeks today we will be home in good ol’ Blighty!!
I’m sorry to have to tell the photographers reading our blog that from now on it is unlikely that we will have anymore mind-blowing photos to post. From here on it’s more likely to be of the holiday-snap variety!!
Today was another five hour drive, some of the roads were the same as yesterday, very straight and not much to see but there were also times when we were treated to hills and trees and the odd photo opportunity.
Today we were introduced to Sergeant Charles Floyd, another U.S. pioneer. Another moving historical story.
When we passed from South Dakota into Iowa we visited a very unusual Visitors Centre. This one was on a boat in dry dock and was called the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Centre. The Sergeant Floyd was launched at the Howard Shipyards of Jeffersonville, Indiana on 31 May 1932 and was under the jurisdiction of the Missouri River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was named in memory of Sergeant Charles Floyd, a soldier who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their epic 1804 expedition of the Pacific Northwest. In 1803 Lewis was picked by President Thomas Jefferson to lead an expedition through the Northwest. His instructions were to explore the Missouri river. Lewis chose Clark to join him and to share command.
Sergeant Charles Floyd (1782-1804) was one of nine young men from Kentucky chosen to accompany Lewis and Clark on their expedition and he kept a regular journal of the trip from 14 May 1804 until just prior to his sudden and unexpected death on 20 August 1804. It is thought his death may have been caused by a ruptured appendix.
He was buried on the top of Floyd’s Bluff with military honours on 20 August 1804 and the river where the expedition camped that night, was named for Sergeant Floyd. His grave was a well-known landmark but in the spring of 1857 a high and irregular river washed away part of the bluff and exposed his bones, which were seen and rescued. On 28 May 1857 the bones were re-buried approximately 600 feet east of the original grave.
The discovery of Floyd’s Journal and its publication in 1894 led to a search for this second grave site and after finding it the Floyd Memorial Association was formed to recognise the area, mark the grave and construct a suitable monument to the first and only member of that historic expedition to die.
That monument, standing 100 feet high, can be seen today next to the Floyd River. When the bones were studied between 1895 and 1900, photographs were taken of the skull and lower jaw and an impression made of the skull and a plaster cast was formed and the head and face of Sergeant Floyd were reconstructed and is now on display at the Floyd Welcome Centre.
After reaching Winterset in Madison County and checking into our lovely B&B we set off to find a hairdressers as it was time for another trim (how the time flies).
We are here in Winterset primarily to see the sites where they filmed The Bridges of Madison County (have you watched it yet, did you cry?) so the obvious place to start and to eat at the same time, was the Northside Cafe. This is where one of the scenes was filmed and it’s still possible to sit on the same bar stool that Clint Eastwood sat when he was filming there. The fourth one from the door, so of course I had to do that and have my photo taken too.
I was rather surprised when I started talking to the young waitress that although she knew the significance of where she was working, she has never actually seen the film!! What!!
Winterset is also famous for other things, John Wayne was born here and they have six covered bridges. These we will be visiting over the next couple of days.
Just a couple of things I forgot to mention yesterday. One, we were talking more about The Homestead we visited that was settled in 1909. The family travelled there in a wagon drawn by a team of horses and the home and outbuildings were dug more or less by hand, some by digging holes in the earth. It was only 60 years later in 1969 that man walked on the moon!!!! Food for thought indeed!
Secondly, for those who have followed our blog from the early days, you will know the story of Beasts 1 and 2. Well, we visited the rental facility again yesterday as four weeks had passed and you will be pleased to know that it was a straight forward visit. We just had to collect a copy of our updated contract and were allowed to keep Beast 2! Hooray! There was no need for us to unpack the car and we didn’t lose USA Licence Plate Game version 2.