By 1945 last night, we had settled into a motel in Hannibal, Missouri, the childhood home of Mark Twain on the banks of the Mississippi River. We had no time on the way north, but I promised myself we would visit Hannibal on the way back when our schedule could be more flexible.
We were underway by 0700 and planned to push on to Ionia, Michigan, east of Grand Rapids, to spend the night. Jean had never seen Lake Michigan, so we detoured into Van Buren State Park. It wasn’t open for the season, but we were able to walk on the beach and snap a couple pictures. The northwest wind was still rolling a pretty good surf onto the beach. It was definitely not a good paddling day for open water.
The county fairgrounds was across the road from the motel, so we had a chance to get our first glimpse of Verlen Kruger’s home waters, the Grand River, which was swollen and running fast. Not too comforting was the telephone pole in the middle of the grounds painted in red and white numbered bands that go up to about ten feet to help identify the level of flooding.
We saw a few interesting signs…for us one of the pleasures of travel. My favorite was “O’Kelly’s Genuine Mexican Cuisine.” What can be more natural than a taco stuffed with corned beef and cabbage…maybe with a tall, cold, green-dyed beer?