Thursday, 5 November 2015

Crossing the Illinois River

Monday September 14th
Same old corn and beans...
 Notice the silos in this predominantly arable area are not as tall as in the mixed farming regions where they are used for storing feed.
I plan my route very carefully to take advantage of quiet bridges to cross major highways, in this case Highway 39, but am always horrified at how low the side walls are...
...very easy for a horse and/or rider to fall over, so I always lead across!

I had arranged to put Lady up at the Marshall Putnam county fairground in Henry on the other side of the Illinois river, but had not managed to get hold of the fairground office to warn them of my imminent arrival, or contact the Henry police to see if it was OK to cross the bridge by horse.  Riding through the pleasant little town of Magnolia, I was advised to ask for help in finding the police telephone number from some people who had horses on the edge of town. I had intended getting as close to the bridge as possible that day, but when a pretty blonde woman came to the door and immediately invited me to stay, who was I to refuse!  And what a good decision it proved to be.  Lady was able to have a half day rest grazing while the wonderful Lorri Wallis drove me down to Henry to arrange an escort across the bridge the following day, following which we had a jolly evening with husband Mark Kidd.  Lorri and Mark on his quarter horse...
 Tuesday September 14th
Dropping down from the plain to the Illinois river valley, the country became more interesting, and we followed a pretty little side valley all the way to the bridge..
 Crossing the bridge which I had identified on Google Earth as being a smaller bridge ... was only later that I noticed the blue pennant on the photo.    Henry is apparently a town with a significant history, one of its main claims to fame being that Lincoln spoke here 'on at least one occasion',  not to mention the world-shattering fact that Ronald Reagan used to pass through on his way to college. The latter appears to have been the reason it has reached heady heights as the central office location for the Ronald Reagan Trail  'a collection of highways in central Illinois that connect cities and villages that were of importance to the former United States President'  So now you know.
In fact the most important feature of Henry is that it is a delightful riverside town with a welcoming community.
Lady with Sergeant John Williamson who provided a safe and polite escort over the bridge.. 

Lady settles into a comfortable stall at the Marshall Putnam county fairground in Henry.  Thanks to Bob (shown here) and Diane for sorting accommodation and hay, for which there was kindly no charge.
 The county fairgrounds are used for a wide variety of shows and events, including rodeos and 4H competitions (4H is a little like our UK Young Farmers Club) and many of them have permanent or semi-permanent stabling on site such as is shown here.  I had identified several small towns with fairgrounds but this was the only one I ended up using. 
Lorri had invited me to stay another night, and Mark took us out for a meal that evening at this quaint restaurant in Magnolia, which had desserts to die for...

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