Riding Route: From Kirksville, MO to Quincy, IL
Ah ha.....you thought you were going to get away without a little history lesson today, huh? No such luck. We crossed the mighty Mississippi River today (Picture Above) - and I thought I'd tell you a few facts about the river:
- The Mississippi River is 2,348 miles long and is the second longest river, after the Missouri, in the United States. (The Missouri beats it by 208 miles)!
- The area that drains into the river comes from 31 states! Even I just learned that!
- The Mississippi starts in Minnesota and then flows south, following the boundaries between the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana on the west, and Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi on the east. It ends in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the actual diving line between these states.
- The river's name means "father of waters" in the Algonquian language.
- The advent of the steamboat in 1812 brought dependable transportation, and river traffic increased rapidly. During the Civil War control of the river was a major strategic objective; the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863 achieved that goal for the Union armies. Traffic resumed after the war, and the steamboat reigned it's waters for many years.
- Eventually they were replaced by diesel, screw-driven towboats pushing barges. The rivalry between rail and river transport, which started in the late 19th century, persists to this day.
- The widest point of the Mississippi River is Lake Winnibigoshish (how would you like to have this name in a spelling Bee?) near Grand Rapids, Minnesota at over 7 miles across. Now that's a W-I-D-E river!
One last thing: I'd like to encourage any of you who want to donate to the Scholarship Fund to get your donations in. You can do it online at www.bikewithhank.com. On the left side of the page is a "Make a Donation" tab. Okay, that's it for today! Tomorrow we're off to Springfield, IL