Ice-grey clouds added to the melancholy mood that is November 11. We headed towards the border at Port Huron with excitement dulled by somber hearts as we listened to the Remembrance Day Services on the radio and reflected on our Dad’s roles in WWII. A Canadian Vet who had served in Afghanistan and lost both legs, poignantly said that Armistice Day is the one day in the year that he allows himself to wallow in sadness for his own loss and his comrades.
We were soon out of the snow and into sunny farmland. After six hours on the road, we parked at a Cracker-barrel Restaurant in Gas City Illinois where we had dinner and a quiet night’s rest. In the morning, we headed further south passing Indianapolis and taking in the sites along the highway. Most states have great Rest Areas with short trails and picnic areas so Dixie always enjoys those stops.
Is the size of the cross directly proportional to the number of prayers answered?
We camped at the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park for two nights. Late fall conditions left pathways filled with crunchy golden leaves, a few grand Maples and Oaks hanging on to the last of their rust and scarlet foliage and the sandy beaches scattered with broken twigs and branches. Everywhere we hiked or biked, we saw deer, many, many deer. The park air was constantly fragrant with the pleasant, musky scent of burning pumpkin, that unique odour that candles produce inside a Jack O’Lantern.
Flocks of Wild Turkeys were all over the park as well. With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, I urged the ‘Toms’ to lie low but they ignored my warnings. There was a controlled pheasant hunt in the park and we saw a number of eager men decked out in camouflage heading to the fields. Sadly, we witnessed a few trophy deer strapped onto truck bumpers. To our dismay, campers adjacent to us strung up a deer to prepare for the freezer. Luckily the view was blocked by their trailer so we did not have to build a wall, as Trump may have suggested.
We took advantage of the many bike paths and saw numerous Hawks, Crows, Turkey, Deer, Vultures and a Bald Eagle. At the Rend Lake waterfront there was evidence of beaver-action, deer and raccoon tracks and severe erosion. Many of the grey rocks were studded with interesting black formations in unique patterns.
Dixie says goodbye to the park.