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After leaving St. Louis, we headed north to our next major stop, Detroit. We only had a day and a half to get there and so we had to make some choices on where we stopped and how long we stayed at places. That was ok though because we know we can always go back and explore more!

Day 5: St. Louis to South Bend, IN

Stop 1: Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, MO

Hannibal, MO is the boyhood home of Mark Twain and visiting the town brings the childhood adventures of Tom Sawyer to life. There is a lot to see in Hannibal, but one must do is taking a tour of the Mark Twain Cave. There’s a good chance your tour guide will be a former Tom or Becky (local high schoolers who try out for the honor and scholorship) and the cave is just cool.

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Stop 2: Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse in Hannibal, MO

Never used for navigation, the lighthouse overlooks the Missouri river and is a great photo stop. Because we had a lot of pack into the day, we also picnicked out of the back of the car here.

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Stop 3: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL

One of the coolest museums I’ve ever visited (and I’ve been to a lot)! The exhibits are really well-done and entertaining, they recreate Lincoln’s world and it’s just awesome!

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Stop 4: Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, IL

Not far from the muesum and worth the stop to pay your respects to one of the greatest Americans to ever live. We didn’t have a lot of extra time, but this was one stop we weren’t going to miss.

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Stop 5: World’s Largest Covered Wagon in Lincoln, IL

Our goal was to stop at as many “world’s largest/greates [insert whatever]” and this one  was #8 on our trip!

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Stop 6: Paul Bunyon with a Hot Dog in Atlanta, IL

Another remaining roadside attraction/advertisement from the heyday of Route 66. Not the world’s largest anything, but who doesn’t want to see a giant holding a large hot dog?

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Plus he looks like my brother, John.

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Stop 7: My Nana’s Childhood home in Peoria, IL

This stop was not on the original itinerary, but one of the most important to me. For as long as I can remember, my Nana’s childhood dollhouse has been on display in my grandparents living room. One of the things that makes the dollhouse so special was that my great-grandfather built it as a replica of their home in Peoria (furniture and all). While all of you might not be interested in seeing where Nana’s first memories were made, I would recommend seeing the places important in your family history. It’s like I got to make another memory with her and that is priceless.

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Here is a photo of the doll house (courtesy of my Aunt Nancy’s Facebook).

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Stop 8: Overnight stay in South Bend, IN

Unfortunately we weren’t able to explore South Bend as we had to get to Detroit early in the afternoon. South Bend and a Notre Dame football game is on Ryan’s bucket list so I’m confident we’ll be back!

Stop 9: Ypsilanti Water Tower in Ypsilanti, MI

Voted “Most Phallic Building”…it was erected in 1890 (as the plaque described). This 8 minute stop (yes, we looked at it that long) was filled with a lot of giggles, bad jokes, and more giggles.

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Once we were done acting like 12 year olds, we headed on over to Detroit for the next couple of days. Saturday’s post will hightlight what we did, where we stayed, and what we ate.

~Emily

Photo credit: drumroll please……most of these photos were taken by my partner-in-crime