The next stop on our working vacation was Paducah, Kentucky, the home of the National Quilt Museum and the inspiration for our entire trip. We left Nashville Wednesday morning for a two-night stay at Fern Lake Campground in Paducah.
Fern Lake Campground was a no-frills park, just off I-24. There was no cable television and we had trouble with the Wi-Fi at times, but the laundry facility was good. And at just over $33/night with our Good Sam’s discount, it suited our needs just fine.
While I made lunch, Mike looked into interesting sights we could explore in the area. He discovered that the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converged about an hour away in Cairo, Illinois. Since I’d never seen the mighty Mississippi River, we drove to what was supposed to be a park along the bank.
Due to recent rains, the park was flooded and some roads were impassable.
However, the main road was open, and we were able to stop at a historical marker where Lewis and Clark camped during their famous expedition. The highlight was reading that they had caught a 128-pound catfish there!
Returning to Paducah, we drove into the city. Paducah is where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers meet, and has seen its share of catastrophic flooding over the years. As a result, the city erected large concrete walls along the river’s edge.
To “dress up” these large concrete structures, murals were painted on the side facing the city. Each panel presented a story of the development of the town, beginning with the founding of Paducah by William Clark, through business on the river and the railroad coming to town, to present day.
We also learned that Boy Scout Troop 1, in Paducah, was the earliest BSA troop in the United States! Paducah is also home to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, constructed in 1952 to produce enriched uranium for the nuclear weapons program, and later for commercial power plants.
Thursday morning, we visited the National Quilt Museum. As a quilter, I was thoroughly in awe of the exquisite quilts on display. What surprised me most was seeing Mike’s reaction! We were both so impressed by the detail many of the quilters, both women and men, put into their quilts. Some required wearing the 3-D glasses provided by the museum to see the movement and 3-D the artist had built into their quilt.
One of our favorite exhibits was the Stories of West Africa. Hollis Chatelain had produced fifteen art quilts inspired by the twelve years she’d spent living in that part of the world. Her use of vivid colors made each quilt come alive. This was definitely worth the drive to Paducah. (Please click on the link above to see all the exhibits now on display at the National Quilt Museum!)
Not wanting to return to the camper just yet, we drove over the Ohio River into Illinois, and the small town of Metropolis . Along the way we kept seeing signs for the “Tallest Superman Statue Ahead”, and had no idea of what to expect. We were quite surprised to see a huge statue of Superman, so we obviously had to get our picture with him.
Metropolis is also home to the Super Museum. For five dollars and with more time, we would have liked to visit this unusual museum, boasting the “World’s Largest Collection of Superman” memorabilia, a 70,000+ piece display amassed by collector, Jim Hambrick. Metropolis is not a large, booming town, but they take great pride in being the “Home of Superman”. It just goes to show some of the more interesting places are off the beaten path.
Next week, the final leg of our working vacation took us to Louisville, Kentucky, where Mike learned his limits when it comes to drinking bourbon!
Jennifer Skinnell is also the author of the Hope Springs Romance Series available on Amazon. Check out her Amazon Author Page for all the details.