When I drew a straight line south on a map from Glen Ellyn, Illinois to the Florida panhandle, my highlighted line went right through Kentucky and Tennessee to the scenic byway known as Land Between the Lakes.
Once we got around Peoria, the drive south on the two-lane HWY 1 runs through cornfields and rural farms parallel to the eastern Illinois border with Indiana. We drove into the small town of Danville which boasts its white squirrels. We didn’t see any white squirrels, just several crows hanging around a scarecrow. Then we passed through Paris, Illinois. No Eiffel Tower, only a water tower in the middle of a cornfield artfully graced with graffiti.
A good stopping point was right on the banks of the Ohio River at Cave-in-Rock State Park. We set up camp, then went down by the river to explore the cave.
Cave-in-Rock was originally a hideout for outlaws, pirates, and highway bandits. A scene from the classic western How the West was Won was shot here.
Walt Disney used this cave in Davy Crockett films. Also, at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, a scene called Cut-Throat Corner and Wilson’s Cave Inn can be seen on the bank of the Rivers of America while riding the Liberty Belle Riverboat around Tom Sawyer Island.
The scene is based upon the real life Cave-In-Rock and the activity of river pirates during that period of river history.
The next morning we continued south, and for us, uncharted territory into Kentucky. Land Between the Lakes just outside Paducah, Kentucky, looked like a place right up my alley: I’ve never heard of it, it’s a scenic byway, and with a ferry crossing, a little hard to get to.
An old Indian and buffalo trail “the trace” is situated between two lakes, between two states, Kentucky and Tennessee, between two sides of the road emblazoned with gorgeous fall colors.
This recreational area was originally managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Now, as a scenic byway, it’s been taken over by the US Forest Service. More recently, Land Between the Lakes has been designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
We just had to stop, set up camp, and enjoy our spot right here on the lake. Hali, the master of the campfire, prepped the fire while I prepped for grillin’ pork chops with all the fixin’s including the last of the summer corn we picked up along the side of the road back in Illinois. A sign read FREE CORN, so we stopped. Not just for the corn, but to take in the landscape and snap a few photos.
Later on, we were treated to this beautiful fall sunset on the bank of the Land Between the Lakes. No real hurry to get to Florida. Let’s linger a little longer.
Anyone remember the 1970’s Rock ‘n’ Roll classic by Foghat Slow Ride, Take it Easy…? Yep, on our playlist.