The click of a mouse led Randy Marple to www.enjoyillinois.com — and from there, a trip was planned.
Nine junior and senior members of the Young Republicans Club of Union County High School, located in Morganfield, Ky,. visited Benton museums Thursday.
In spite of the pouring rain, students were impressed with what they saw.
Marple said that only nine club members were able to make the bus trip to their St. Louis destinations.
"There are 22 members of the Young Republicans Club," he said. "Only nine of them are able to attend because a lot of them have after-school jobs or participate in athletic events. Some of them had to make the choice between their typical schedule and making the trip."
The social studies instructor and club sponsor said this was the first time for the road trip to Benton.
"Students wanted to go to St. Louis," Marple said. "They started picking out places to visit between Morganfield and St. Louis. We wanted to see places that have more of a local flavor."
Marple said students were surveyed before the trip and indicated that they were interested in places of historic value.
"I found the Franklin County Garage Museum online by going to the www.enjoyillinois.com Web site," he said. "The description of the garage museum sounded interesting."
Gloria Atchison,tTour guide and Benton-West City Area Chamber of Commerce executive secretary, said Marple called the office and set up the tour.
"This is a great opportunity to showcase what Benton and Franklin County has to offer those passing through," Atchison said. "It also serves as a reminder to local residents just how much these museums bring in, not only for tourists. Our local museums provide a bit of history for student field trips from all over the tri-states to this area.
"I've seen these students bring their families back to visit the museums during the summertime," Atchison said. "I've particularly noticed an increase in day trips during the past couple of years because the economy is so bad. Folks don't feel they can afford vacations that would require a lot of money for an entire week away from home."
Marple said part of the thrill of the road trips is the excitement and anticipation.
"I like to keep our destination a secret so students will be surprised when we arrive," he said.
Visiting students included Alyssa Huff, Chris Hancock, Randy Greenwell, Moody Dane, Larry Berry, John Luxemberg, John West, Dillon Smith, Richard Stone, and bus driver and Richard's father, Billy Stone.
"The purpose of these field trips is for educational enrichment," Marple said.