I think I’ve mentioned before that the Great Hunter and I are members of the law enforcement motorcycle group, Blue Knights. Although we’ve been active in attending meetings and taking part in other activities of the group, we haven’t been on a group ride since 2019. The Great Hunter’s hip surgery last year prevented us from riding and this year we have only been out on the bike once or twice.
Our Blue Knights road captain plans a ride on the 15th of each month and up until last Sunday, we haven’t been able to go for one reason or another. So on this last Sunday, all the stars aligned and we were able to go on the ride to Fort de Chartres State Historic Site. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this historic site that is only an hour and a half away in the rural farm area of southern Illinois. The Road Captain had mapped out a ride that kept us to the more scenic roads and mostly off the interstates. The ride was beautiful. For several miles, we rode the Levee Road, which is exactly as it sounds, a road on top of the levee that protects the farmland in Monroe and Randolph counties from the Mississippi River.
From the Fort de Chartres website:
Located four miles west of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, the site marks the location of the last of four successive French forts named “de Chartres.” Built in 1753 by the French during their eighteenth-century colonization of the Illinois Country, the massive stone fort was preceded by three wooden forts, with the first fort erected in 1720. Fort de Chartres served as the French seat of government and its chief military installation in Upper Louisiana from 1753 until 1765 when it was occupied by the British. In 1763 France ceded much of its territory in North America, including what is now Illinois, to Great Britain. British troops occupied the fort from 1765 until 1772, when encroachment by the Mississippi River caused a collapse of the south wall. Subsequently, the remaining walls and buildings fell into ruin. http://www.fortdechartres.us
Can you imagine the reaction of the early explorer to the area, Sieur Pierre Deliette, when he first encountered our lovely striped friend? He described the encounters above. (On the left) The Guard house–Corps de Garde reconstructed in 1936 includes the Officers’ Room, Guards’ Room, Priest’s Room and Chapel, and a Gunner’s Room on the first floor. (On the right) The Kings Storehouse. Originally reconstructed in 1929 was built by the French to store various trade goods and commodities being moved up and down the Mississippi River. The fort is entered from the rear or land side. The front of the fort faced the river. The river through the years rerouted itself farther to the west so that the last fort was not on the river.
It was a very enjoyable ride even though my “but-tocks,” (as Forrest Gump would say,) was telling me differently. I’m one of those “one and done.” One hour on the bike and I have to get off. Kind of makes group rides challenging but mostly it’s worth it.