We finally made it to Hannibal, Mo. for our first stop of the trip. We actually made it on the road by 2 p.m. as planned but traffic at some inopportune moments kept holding us back. Everything was going well until we were about 30 minutes from Cohokia Mounds State Historic Site — about 30 minutes from sunset when the park closed. Traffic came to a dead stop and Cory realized we must have hit traffic from an accident he heard some locals talking about at a gas station.
In a desperate attempt to avoid the traffic and make it to the Mounds before dark, we exited off the Interstate and followed a line of cars doing the same thing. Of course, that was when Sheila, the GPS, decided to become useless. Apparently a U-turn was the only solution she could think of. So while Shelia kept yelling at us to turn around, Amanda and I figured out what road we ended up on, used the sun to determine what direction we were headed on said road and then found our own alternate route. Eventually, Sheila caught up with us, but by that time we already knew where we were going. (Thanks, Mom, for letting us take your atlas with us!)
We made it to Cohokia Mounds right at dusk. The mounds was the largest Native American city north of Mexico and was inhabited until the 1400s, according to its website. Monk’s Mound, the largest man-made mound in North America, was the only formation we were able to see before the darkness and mosquitoes chased us away. The mound stands 10 stories high, and climbing the stairs rewards you with breath-taking views of the surrounding mounds and even St. Louis in the distance.
But now, I really need to crash! We have a long drive through Kansas tomorrow.