Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A comedy of missteps

We tried to go to Allerton Park today. We didn't make it.

We made it to Monticello, IL. But then things went wrong.

While streets had local names, they weren't well-labeled for the tourist. We ended up on 105 (not labeled as such!) rather than Allerton Rd. And that's when the fun began.

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By the time we realized our error, we were almost to County Road 1300 North. Which looked like it would take us to the south edge of Allerton Park. Only 1300 N was a grass path through a corn field.

So we went on toward 1200 North, thinking we could take that across and then head north on 500 East to the southern edge. 1200 N was at least paved, although it, too, was a narrow road between corn fields.

And then there was a sign on 1200 N at 700 East that the road was closed ahead. So we drove north on 700 E, hoping we'd find 1300 N.

We did. It was a gravel road. After a few yards of rattling (my mom joking that she could picture a cartoon car with bolts falling off), we turned back to 700 E.

And eventually found Allerton Road. And the entrance to Allerton Park. Where there was a sign that the bridge was out and to go to the County Farm Road entrance.

Not sure where that was, we went a bit further south to our old friend, 500 E at 1300 N. The Potawatomi Trail of Death marker seemed an ill omen. It was around this time that we all began laughing, cracking jokes (you had to be there to really get it), and ended up laughing so hard we were crying. And yes, I snorted. Several times. Chris would be proud.

After a few more wrong turns, we realized the County Farm Road entrance was at the north end of the park - and would involve going back to Monticello to get on County Farm Road, which runs somewhat parallel to Allerton Road.

We had lunch instead. At the Brown Bag, a pie and sandwich place my parents had heard about. I have to admit the sandwiches were good. Instead of pie, I had a pumpkin bar. But the selection of pies and other baked goodies was fantastic. And yummy. The place was hopping, with a constant line of customers.

Monticello was a cute little town. We've seen several nice little towns this week. Sunday we drove down to Arcola to see the Walldogs murals. If there are Walldogs murals near you, go check them out.

Yesterday we explored the Boneyard Creek Second Street Basins. What a neat little park and walking path. There were several waterfalls, including a spiral fall. Lots of ducks, geese and other water fowl were happily swimming in the pond. The park is a watershed and designed as a flood plain in that area.

We also stopped at the prairie farm the Champaign Park District has each summer. It is a replica of a turn of the century farm. The kids got to pet some animals, although we were there at feeding time, so many were too busy eating. They liked seeing the turkey all puffed up and petting a pig. They were disappointed the peacock wouldn't show his lovely plume and the sheep wanted food more than attention.

All in all, I think they've had a lovely mini-vacation at grandma and grandpa's house.

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