You're lucky! While you are visiting Lancaster County PA you can spend quality time in the famous town of Intercourse (what does its' name mean... don't ask.). It's in the Amish country so you will find wonderful restaurants. Especially sample the sausages and other cured meats.
Actually, the name is explained here -
www.tripadvisor.com › … › Pennsylvania (PA) › Lancaster County
If one leg of the trip is via I-20, be certain to mark at least
a half-day to visit the Civil War monument to the siege of Vicksburg
. It's every bit as extensive and impressive as Gettysburg. Grant's eventual success in the long siege marked the turning of the tide in the Civil War. (Maybe you know that as The War Between the States.)
My great-grandfather, a 14yo in a little town north of St. Louis when the war started, was in a southern-sympathizing community - Missouri was every bit as bitterly divided Union/Rebel as "Bloody Kansas." Three times he ran away from home after dark to join a Southern detachment going through town, and each time his father caught him and brought him home, The fourth time, a group marched through after dark, and this time he got away. When the sun came up, it was... a Union Army unit. He went through the War, first as a Union drummer boy and them an infantryman. He may well have been at Vicksburg; there are monuments at the locations where each unit was stationed. Quite a few mark Missouri units. About half of these are Union and half Confederate. Talk about brother against brother!
Whenever I tour a Civil War memorial, I can't help weeping. If the fisherman is a real Civil War history buff, he must not miss this. A full day would be much much better.
If you use I-44 west of St. Louis on either leg, stop in Lebanon. There is an oak barrel factory there that makes barrels for every bourbon distiller in the US, except for Jack Daniel's: they make their own. You can watch them machine the staves and assemble and char the barrels. The assembly is an art in itself. Their souvenir shop sells every brand of bourbon you have ever heard of, if you're interested in that kind of thing.
Also stop in Rolla- the U S Geological Survey has a large plant there that compiles, updates and prints the USGS series of maps of the United States. We stopped and they were so thrilled that somebody was interested in what they were doing that we got a fantastic tour of the whole place and every detail of map production. I was interested because I used many of their so-called 7-1/2 Minute series maps in my work as a city planner/community designer.
I'll try to think of other places we've been that may be along your route. When we traveled, our main interest - aside from museums - was industrial sightseeing. You can get up-to-date books that detail which plants/industries offer tours of their operation.
Those, and special places to eat.
I hope you have a really wonderful trip. You should be catching some fall color as well.
Edited by MikeLM - 10/7/14 at 4:47pm