I know, I know... it sounds like just another rest stop, right? Not exactly. For starters, this welcome center is accessible off Exit 1A on I-20. That means you can get to it no matter which direction you are coming from. Secondly, it's literally on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Beautiful, isn't it?
I had stopped in here for a quick bathroom break around 6:00 a.m. on the way out to SC back in February and saw what a great place it would be to hang out for a while. But at the time, my kids were asleep and we'd only been on the road a couple of hours anyway - not exactly prime time for a long stay. So I resolved that when we headed back west we'd stop for sure. Although I have crossed the Mississippi River several times in the past couple of years, it's always been one of those "Oh look, everyone! It's the Mississippi!" moments where we are driving across the bridge. Then we would have just a couple of minutes to look out the windows of the car and say, "Cool!" before moving on to the next stretch of highway. This time we were going to stay awhile.
Some nice lady saw us picnicking on the hill and offered to take a picture of us. Considering how travel-worn and unshowered I am in this picture, be glad I posted it at all.
I had a really hard time getting Connor to look at the camera at all. He was enthralled by the river, and the barges going by. Yep, he's all boy.
On the hill next to where we had our picnic there was an old cannon from some battle that happened nearby. I can't remember which anymore. (Sorry folks, not a history buff.) Anyway, the kids needed to climb it, of course.
Even Connor got in on the action, though he never could get up very far.
Once he got here he'd just slide back down, every time. Poor fella.
Finally it was time to let them roll down the hill.
Connor tried, too.
And although he found it all very exciting...
...he never quite got the hang of it.
And of course, we ended up with the obligatory injury for Olivia. That girl just has the worst luck...
It was a wonderful afternoon.