We promised our granddaughter, Carmela, we’d take her on a short trip as a birthday gift. Right away she said, “I want to go to Casey.” Casey, Illinois, is home to the world’s largest—well, a dozen different things.
The small town of Casey, Illinois, is home to twelve of the world’s largest objects—rocking chair, wind chimes, and teeter-totter, to name a few. We wrote about the “Big Things Small Town” last year after we had passed through and had seen the attractions on and around Main Street. However, there are more “big” roadside attractions scattered through other parts of town. So, we spent the better part of a day there recently, and we took our granddaughter with us, knowing she’d love it. Here is a video of some of what Casey offers.
Perusing travel brochures during a two-night stopover in Louisiana, we noticed our campground was only an hour from Avery Island. Avery Island is home to TABASCO®, which offers factory tours. Skip loves TABASCO® hot pepper sauce. Me, not so much, but I do enjoy factory tours. The problem was, we had a 1 p.m. checkout time the next day. No problem, we decided. We’ll get there when they open at 9 a.m., and we’ll be back in plenty of time. We could skip the Jungle Gardens tour, a related Avery Island attraction.
In 2021, Union Pacific’s legendary restored steam locomotive, BigBoy 4014, traveled five weeks, through ten states. Having filmed it in 2019 as it rolled through Illinois, Skip wanted to see more of it. When he mentioned he wanted to “chase the train” through Kansas, I was apprehensive. But it was a road trip, and I don’t pass up road trips. The experience turned out to be lots of fun, filming and photographing the train as it traveled from Kansas City, Missouri, to Salina, Kansas.
I felt guilty, sitting in a chair outside our travel trailer, squandering time. I should be doing something, but what? After a late lunch, we weren’t ready for dinner. Go for a walk? Too wiped out from a busy day. I forgot to pack reading material, and was tired of looking at my phone. Skip joined me, and we both just sat, watching the squirrels scamper up and down trees and robins bob along the ground. Then, a red-headed woodpecker swooped in and landed on a tree trunk just twenty feet or so from where we sat.
When you think of Mark Twain’s home, Hannibal, Missouri, comes to mind. It’s true, he grew up in Hannibal, starting at age four. But he was born about 40 miles southwest of Hannibal, in Florida, Missouri. Today, the preserved two-room cabin where the writer was born is on display at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site, near Florida.
The home was moved to its current location in 1930. Years later, a building was erected around the cabin to protect and preserve it. The Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site also includes artifacts from the author’s life, and a wealth of information about him.
Here are ten fascinating facts about Mark Twain’s life that we learned during our visit to the state historic site.