Our Trip to Illinois - Days 1 & 2
October 9-13, 2002

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We started our trip with the drive from the St. Louis airport to Marion, IL, which is in the south-central part of the state.  Most of Illinois is flat farmland, but the glaciers stopped before they got to the southern tip, leaving it hilly and quite beautiful.  It looked very much like my home area in Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas.

We stayed in these adorable old cabins with the owner's three dogs for company.  The place has a terrible name, but was really a nice place to stay - The Olde Squat Inn.  We'd recommend it if you're looking to get away from everything (but dogs!)


This was Bear.  Though old and arthritic, he loved us dearly and tried to follow us everywhere. He also served as guard dog, prepared to lick any intruder to death. 

This was our cabin, they are authentic log cabins from around the area.  He takes them down and rebuilds them on his lot.  
Here we are going for a hike on the trail near the cabins.  You can see Newton here with Eric, he served as trailblazer and led us the wrong way!
  Eric, heading into the dark woods

Me and Bear on the trail

  This is the owner showing us around his brother's restored log home.  It was very nice.

Here we are on Day 2.  The main reason for our coming to this area was so that Eric could rock climb.  Unfortunately, it started to rain on our first night and never stopped the whole time we were in Southern Illinois.  Poor Eric!!

Here we are hiking around the Illinois version of Garden of the Gods. 
Even in the rain, Eric couldn't stop himself from climbing on every accessible rock.

  This picture shows the way iron deposits got mixed in with the sand before it became sandstone. It looks really cool.
Eric, with more iron deposits Eric, doing more wet rock scrambling

Here's Eric kicking back on the deck of 
the Von Jakob winery that we visited.

OK, the opportunities for rude jokes 
are just too much for me here.  
I will hold back my smart remarks.
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