開遍美國大大小小、長長短短，西岸、東岸，甚至橫貫整個北美的公路，但心裡最想走的還是 The Great River Road！或許是當初在五大湖區唸書，總覺得人在當地，多的是機會，捨近求遠的結果是20年後才有機會順著 Mississippi River，成全一小段浪漫想像之旅。
The Great River Road (2069 miles long) follows the Mississippi River from its humble headwaters in the northwoods of Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. It runs through the ten-state region (north to south: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana). http://www.greatriverroad-illinois.org
Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway (550-mile route), it’s on Illinois’ western border offers breathtaking views and majestic landscapes ,follows U.S. Route 20 and Illinois Routes 3, 84, 92, 96 and 111.
Great River Road originally discovered by Native American Indians, the rich fertile soil and waterways are ideal partners for agriculture and farming, a region that feeds the world today. 沿途盡是一望無際的玉米田，大規模的栽種，無怪乎 John Deere 的發源地就在 Moline IL！
Numerous family farms, roadside fruit and vegetable stands, u-pick orchards and local wineries.
Old Chain of Rocks Bridge – Madison IL
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was constructed in 1929 as a toll bridge to serve the northern portion of the bi-state St. Louis area. It became part of the historic “Mother Road,” old Route 66, in 1936, and was purchased by the City of Madison IL in 1939. In the mid-1960s, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was superseded by the much-wider I-270 bridge a short distance to its north. Its most notable feature is a 22-degree bend occurring at the middle of the crossing, necessary because of difficulties in finding solid footings.
Vacant for nearly 30 years, this one mile renovated bridge (1999) is now the world’s longest biking/pedestrian bridge, providing the great views of the Mississippi River.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site – Collinsville IL http://www.cahokiamounds.org
As the largest prehistoric Indian (Lake Woodland) site north of Mexico, Cahokia Mounds covered about 4000 acres and included at least 120 mounds. The State of Illinois now protects 2200 acres of the central portion of the site and 70 of the remaining 80 mounds.
The site was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1965, and in 1982, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designated Cahokia Mounds a World Heritage Site for its significance in the prehistory of North America.
The city of Cahokia was inhabited from about A.D. 700 to 1400. At its peak, from A.D. 1050 to 1200, the city covered nearly six square miles and 10,000 to 20,000 people lived here. Over 120 mounds were built over time, and most of the mounds were enlarged several times. Houses were arranged in rows and around open plazas, and vast agricultural fields lay outside the city.
Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the America, containing an estimated 22 million cubic feet of earth. The base covers more than 14 acres, and it rises to a height of 100 feet. A massive building once stood on the summit where the principal chief would live, conduct ceremonies, and govern.
爬上 Monks Mound 隱約可以看到 St. Louis 市景
p.s. How Monks Mound was built? The Mississippians used stone tools, digging sticks, woven baskets and their hands. Dirt was carried from the borrow pits in the baskets to the building site. It has been estimated that it took fifteen million baskets of earth to complete Monks Mound over a 300-year period.
附記：發現 Cahokia Mounds 的考古學家之一的 Professor James Brown，是兒子去年的考古學教授。有師如此，無怪乎這孩子會選擇「考古」作為第二主修。當一開始 Great River Road trip，兒子知道我們會 detour Cahokia Mounds 時，我想他是 proud of me 的。這個連 Cahokia 怎麼發音都有問題的媽媽，是如何想到要造訪 Cahokia Mounds，這個過去一年他一直在唸的課題？