I slept in some on Friday. After a shower, turkey bacon, and eggs, and a stop at I’Mpressed Coffee Company, I went to the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. I had visited the day before but it was too close to closing time. I only had time to tour the memorial building.
The George Rogers Clark memorial is situated along the banks of the Wabash River where the former British Fort Sackville once stood. It was Clark’s strategic taking and retaking of this Fort and other forts in the area, from the prominent British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton that is credited with securing the Northwest Territory during the American Revolution. The granite rotunda was commissioned by President Coolidge in 1928. It was built between 1931-1933. The building was dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. It became a part of the National Park Service in 1966.
The Memorial stands 80 feet high and is 180 feet across at the base. The exterior granite comes from Vermont, Minnesota, and Alabama. An eagle relief adorns the stone above the entrance. The dome is supported by sixteen doric columns. The upper inscription reads, “The Conquest of the West-George Rogers Clark and the Frontiersmen of the American Revolution”
The interior walls are decorated with seven murals measuring 16 feet by 28 feet. Each mural depicts a prominent historical scene from George Rogers Clark’s military campaign. A seven and a half feet tall bronze statue greets the visitors from the center of the floor. It rests on a four and a half feet tall Italian marble base. The ceiling and walls of the rotunda are constructed of Indiana limestone. The seats and lower section of the interior are covered in French marble. The steps are blue Italian marble. The floor is pink Tennessee marble. The center of the dome has a large glass circular window with a subdued American eagle and shield barely visible across it. The eagle and shield used to be painted but the colors are long faded. A carving above the interior doorway depicts Clark receiving his Lt. Colonel commission from the Virginia Governor Patrick Henry along with the orders to wage the offensive campaign against the British posts in the Northwest Territory. A series of markers are set around the perimeter below the paintings. They describe the paintings in a historical context.
I managed to walk through the memorial, read the markers and enjoy the exterior and interior within forty five minutes. I also explored the surrounding area with the Old Cathedral and French and Indian Cemetery next to the memorial and the USS Vincennes Monument depicting the various ships that bore the city’s name.
The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Visitor Center has a worthwhile thirty minute movie explaining the historical significance of George Rogers Clark’s campaign to the U.S. Revolution. There are some artifacts with explanations and a replica of Fort Sackville. There is plenty to read and look at but it did not take me more than an hour to visit the museum after viewing the movie.
I had also strolled around the ground of Grouseland, the William Henry Harrison mansion. He lived there when he was governor of the Indiana Territory. He was not elected president until much later in life. The house sits next to the Vincennes State Historic Site which includes the Indiana State Capital building, Stout Paint Print Shop, and Jefferson academy. Tours are offered for both of these sites. I spoke with a tour guide. He gave me a little historical background of the area which I later confirmed by reading the various historical markers. The buildings are all modest unassuming structures. I did not take the tours but I heard from others that it was worthwhile.
I went to the Indiana Military Museum. It is located on the southwest of town on 6th street. 6th street is the main thoroughfare (US 41). US 41 turns sharply left onto Willow Street before you arrive at the museum but you can see it from the intersection.
The Military Museum grounds are littered with large aircrafts, tanks, military vehicles and a conning tower from the USS Indianapolis submarine. Inside the museum densely packed show cases surround the floor space with memorabilia from the civil war through current times. Above the cases an array of military posters supporting past military actions look out across the center display of jeeps, cannons, and other small military vehicles and arms.
The highlights to me were the Patton items, and a handmade replica of an aircraft carrier made by an inmate from a nearby prison. The museum guides seemed very proud of the model. It was about fifteen inches long and constructed of popsicle sticks and paper. The ship was very detailed and included planes on the upper and lower decks. It really is a wonder.
I drove to Sugar Loaf Mound. It is a large Indian mound overlooking the city. I drove up a lane and took the time to take a photo. I would have liked to explore the mound and walk up the steps to the top but there was no place to park.
Fort Knox II is located by the Ouabache Trails Park entrance. The Wabash river, railroad and the park road can be seen from the edge of Fort Knox II. I took time to read all the plaques regarding the history of the fort. The fort was constructed in 1803 and used for a decade. It was key in defending the settlers against Indian raids. The Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet met with the fort commander Captain George Rogers Clark Floyd. Tecumseh recognized that the Indians were being pushed out of their territories and met with the Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison to voice his concerns. History shows that there was no compromise.
There are twenty attractions in the Vincennes guide. These are the ones that I saw. When you visit the area get a Vincennes map. They can be picked up at The George Rogers Clark Museum, or any of a number of other locations around town.
I spent Friday evening quietly at the RV park. It was hot and humid and it took three hours for the A/C to cool down the RV, just in time for bed.
I started Saturday with a hike on the trails. I walked along a drainage creek. Water ran down the hillside on the day I had arrived. The creek was nearly empty now. It was a day of preparation to leave. I stayed at the camp site all day. I checked the tire pressures and other things. The RV was in good shape. I had a visit from the campground cat. He was a friendly gray and white feline. He greeted me on the steps of the RV and again later when I was on the ground inspecting the underside of the RV.
I visited with some neighbors who invited me to stay for dinner. I declined but then changed my mind after they told me they were making cheeseburgers, cucumber salad, beans, and lemon pie. It was much better than the store bought salad I had planned. I was very appreciative and gave them some beers to help compensate for the food.
The weather report was predicting possible bad storms throughout the night. The winds in the tree limbs above me, the sounds of a heavy downpour, and the flash of lightning immediately followed by the crack of thunder shook me out of bed at 1:30 AM. I made sure the awning was withdrawn, then went back to sleep.
Another round of storms came through at 7:00 AM. It was much worse than the first one. The sounds of the rains, winds, thunder and the lightning were unceasing for two hours. When the rains lightened up, I disconnected the water line, dried it off and as I was putting it away when the rains picked up again. I waited for the rains to let up again before grabbing my stuff and heading off to the park showers.
The showers were OK, not great but OK. I then disconnected the power, and stored away everything to prepare to leave. There were downed limbs all over the park. The drive through at the dump site was blocked by a large limb. I was able to creep close enough to flush out my tanks and then backed out. On the way out, I encountered downed limbs and and small trees. The incoming lane near the park was blocked by a large limb. Fortunately the exit around the picnic area was still open. The road was like a slalom course as I avoided both large and small limbs littering the road.
My first stop was the Lowe’s store. I bought a couple clamps to secure the shower doors during travel. They have been falling off the rails. This was a quick temporary remedy. After that I headed north out of town on US 150 to IN 67 following a reverse route of my trip to Vincennes. Google Maps had directed me north to I-70 but this would have routed me too closely to the Indy racetrack. The Brickyard 400 was scheduled to be run. I opted to avoid the area.
I filled up with diesel in Martinsville at the BP for $2.349/ gallon. it was the best price I had seen. Most places were $2.55. There was a McDonalds next door that was doing a booming lunch business. I got a large coffee with cream and hit the road. A troop of Boy Scouts walked in front of me as I was leaving. I guess they hadn’t earned their traffic safety badges yet.
On the way back to Auburn, IN I stopped at the Nobelsville Cabela’s to pay my bill. My next stop was to visit my friend and former coworker Rich and his wife Kim. We got caught up on things and I headed north again. It was good to see them.
My next stop was at Luke and Elisabeth’s. Over the following days, I went to a Fort Wayne Tin caps game with Derek and Dennis courtesy of an investment group. It was catered and we took advantage of the free foods and drinks. Luke and Elisabeth went with an entourage. They were in a lower section. I only had two tickets and Derek had my second one. Dennis had his own. The Tin Caps won. Luke and Elisabeth’s kitten Bagheera is a black little frenzied fuzz ball of fun. He kept me entertained at the cost of some blood letting. I visited around the area and headed out again on Wednesday.