We said goodbye to our friends and left Hampton Illinois to head southeast on Interstate 74. We were surprised at how few trucks were on the road this morning and traffic overall was light which made the near 100 mile drive to just outside of Peoria Ill. a pleasurable drive. Did I mention that there is sure a lot of corn growing in Iowa and Illinois?!!!
We pulled into Carl Spindler Marina Campground in East Peoria, Illinois around noon. While in the Midwest we are always watching the forecasted weather and the next three day severe weather forecast looked pretty good so we are here two nights and will move south afterward.
We had a lot of laundry to do so most of our first day was taken up with getting it all done at the onsite laundry We also needed a few things at the store so a quick trip to Costco to get what we needed took up most of the rest of the day. To end the day we decided to go to happy hour at Granite City Brewing and then we enjoyed the evening at the park.
We had plans to visit Peoria and the sights within the city until we accidentally discovered a really nice boardwalk and trail adjacent to our park. The boardwalk has seen better days but is still in good enough shape for hiking. Stunningly the fields of Purple Loosestrife with a smattering of Yellow Loosestrife and brilliant red Cardinal Flower made for an unexpected showy display in the heart of Illinois.
Purple loosestrife is native to Europe and Asia and was unintentionally introduced to the United States’ Great Lakes through contaminated solid cargo ship ballasts as well as through the deliberate importation of seeds. So as beautiful as it is it is actually an Invasive species and as a result an unwanted plant in our wetlands. Yellow Loosestrife is also a non-native plant from Europe but not nearly as invasive as its purple cousin.
Despite their presence here as unwanted plants they made for quite a spectacular floral display in the wetlands all along the banks of the Illinois River. We ran out of time to explore more of Peoria and will just have to come back another time to see the rest of it…
NOTE: We are now at a COE park near Sullivan Ill and will stop to see friends of ours in Newton Illinois next before moving on to Indiana…