From IVY we made a short trip to the city docks in downtown Peoria. From the docks it was only about a block to the Caterpillar Visitor's Center. When you first enter the exhibit you are sent to a theater to watch a short film complete with seats that shook as the large earth movers crossed the screen. Then we were told that the theater was actually in the bed of their biggest dump truck! After the film we went downstairs where we could view the rest of the truck and climb into several different machines. They even had a simulator where we attempted to cover a pipe with dirt; something Joe had much more success with than I did. There was also an exhibit that went through the company's history and technological advances. It was interesting, but we came away feeling like we'd just experienced a giant infomercial for Caterpillar. The entrance fee was small, though, and it was an enjoyable visit.
The next day, we did one more hike to see the ancient cedars. That was quite an adventure - beginning with the road to get there. We saw a few cars, but kept having to let the atv's pass us. Once we got to the cedars - after a pretty good hike - they were worth the trip. On the way back there were people on zip lines crossing way overhead. Not getting me on one of those!
We'd gotten into Canada with no problems, but coming back to the US was a different story. As soon as we mentioned tomatoes, we were told to pull over. No tomatoes were allowed, although the border patrol guy told us it had been a day to day thing. If someone called to ask about tomatoes he had to tell them they could bring them if they got there before noon. The next day it was okay if they came after noon. We'd brought some New Zealand apples with us from the US and purchased some Galas in Canada. We were allowed to bring the Galas in, but not the New Zealand ones that had gone to Canada with us. Joe did have a nice chat with one of the officers about firearms training and training in general, though.
Back at the boat, some of the jobs were finished, but there was a problem with the auto pilot fix. Once the new part arrived - with the exact same part number as the original - it was a totally different configuration. They finally decided not to try to fit it in where the old one was, but made new hydraulic lines and mounted it in another - better? - place.
After a few re-stocking trips to the store, we'll be ready to start up the Mississippi.
More pictures on picasa http://picasaweb.google.com/joseph.pica