Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mt Vernon, IL to Carlyle, IL - Saturday, July 6, 2013

            This morning was beautiful.  We drove back to the point where we stopped yesterday.  The last couple of days Cal has been giving comments showing signs that he is beginning to be unmotivated about this ride.  But we decided to continue until we are directly east in Illinois of southern Iowa border so that if/when we resume the ride it would be close to home, but in Illinois.  This morning Cal realized that today he will have ridden 1000 miles!  He asked me, “What if we stop after I go 1000 miles?”  This decision is his, not mine.  He is the one doing the work, not me.    

            Everything was going well, good roads, good shoulders on the roads, a little tail wind and beautiful weather.  But then all of a sudden the shoulder on the road abruptly stopped.  He was just at the 1000 mile mark!  When he saw the shoulder situation he said, “This is it, we’re going home”.  He loaded up the bike and we were on our way home.  He stopped riding directly east of St Louis in almost the center of the State of Illinois. 

            We do not if or when Cal will resume the ride.  Maybe never!  Right now he is tired and unmotivated.  We are home. We knew that on Monday morning we would stop and drive home as we have commitments this week that we cannot change, but we were going to try to get as far north in Illinois as possible.  However those plans changed!

            We had a great 1000 mile ride.   
           Some photos from today.
Flat South Central Illinois Countryside
Working Illinois Oil Wells

Turtle Crossing the Road

Turtle made it Across the Road

Moving Bales

Friday, July 5, 2013

Eldorado, IL to Mt Vernon, IL - Friday, July 5, 2013

           Most of our day was under cloudy skies, only late this afternoon did the sun shine.  The temp this morning was 69 degrees, and the high was comfortable in the 80’s. 

Big John
We began in Eldorado where we stopped yesterday.  The topography was flat, it was wonderful.  We were passing through rural southern Illinois where there are many grain bins and elevators. The road was wonderful – smooth and with a shoulder, for the first 40 miles.  Then we changed roads so we would travel northwest toward home. 
Big John Super Value Grocery
Level Countryside in South Central Illinois
Cal enjoying the level road
One of Numerous Grain Bins
Country Church

This new road has been the worse we have been on so far on this whole trip.  It was very lightly traveled which was good, but the road was narrow, and simply not maintained – rough and with potholes!  But we did not really have any other choices.  We felt like we were on back, back road America!! 

Along the way we saw farmers cutting hay and harvesting wheat and almost every farm homestead had grain elevators.

Barn with Wheat Field

Illinois Farm

Unloading Logs at a Saw Mill

McLeansdoro Bank

McLeansboro Library

Cutting Hay

Crossing a Bridge on "The Road of Horror"
I did find an antique shop open when I had time to browse.  Too often I go pass an antique shop before they are open at 10:00.  The town of McLeansboro also had two lovely old buildings (see photos).

We made it to Mt Vernon, IL.  Actually we stopped about 10 miles north of town and drove south to find a hotel. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Marion, KY to Eldorado, IL - Thursday, July 4, 2013 – Happy 4th of July!

            This morning was cool enough that I turned the heat on in the vehicle just to dispel the chill.  Later it warmed up into the 80’s, but it was beautiful temperatures for biking.  

We had to drive the 30 minutes back to our starting point.  It was 7:30 when Cal began riding.  Our destination was Cave in Rock on the Ohio River. It was hilly riding north of Marion, KY.  Cave in Rock is one location where you can catch a ferry to cross the Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois.  There are no bridges for miles on either side of the ferry site.  Since this was a holiday, there was not much traffic on the roads coming to the ferry.  Actually we were fortunate to be doing this route today.

Ferry across the Ohio River

Landing on the Illinois Side of the Ohio River (this is not our vehicle)
After we ferried across the Ohio River, Cal continued on the route while I went into the State Park looking for the cave.  I did not walk any farther than the opening of the cave.  It was impressive.  When the Ohio River is high you cannot walk to the cave.  Beside the massive boulders of rock along the river where the cave is located, there were masses of birds, cliff swallows, flying everywhere.  At first I thought they were coming in and out of the cave, but they were not, they had nest on the cliffs outside the cave.  (See photos).

Rock Cliff with Nests of Cliff Swallows

Swallows in their Nests
Cave-in-Rock - Mentioned by Lewis and Clark

          I caught up with Cal and things were going well for him.  He rode a total of 43 miles today.  20 of them were flat, the others….!  We rode through Amish country again today while still in Kentucky.

            We finally stopped at Eldorado, IL, but we had to drive to Harrisburg, IL for a hotel.  Tomorrow morning it will be the drive back to Eldorado before Cal begins riding. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Clarksville, TN to Marion, KY - Wednesday July 3, 2013:

            This morning when Cal woke up and looked at his tablet regarding the weather – it was 59 degrees!!!!!  Can you believe it was this cool after the heat we had a week ago!!  The terrain was rather flat this morning, which actually surprised us, but by afternoon it was back to being hilly, like we were expecting.  By the end of the day Cal had ridden the bike 66 miles, the longest day yet.

Starting a New Day
We made reservations at a B & B in Princeton, KY, but we were there before noon, as the ride was so easy, so we canceled our reservation – the guy was actually happy as their family was in town from Alabama and the grandkids wanted Grandpa to take them fishing.  However by 3:00 we were not sure we had not made a mistake.  We were in Marion, KY and everything that was an acceptable place to stay was full.  Oops!  So we drove for 30 minutes to Kuttawa, KY, to a resort area across the lake from the Land between the Lakes National Recreation Area.  So tomorrow morning it will be a 30 minute drive back to Marion before Cal begins riding to the Ohio River ferry at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. 

Today we drove through an Amish area in KY.  I stopped at a little roadside stand and bought a few items, plus a pint of canned sauerkraut.  We rode by large  truck-patch areas that were growing veggies to sell, they also had wood working shops to make furniture, plus there were several greenhouses 
Warning - Amish Vehicles on the Road

We also drove by another tobacco growing area.  This time they were planting the little plants in the newly worked fields.  These were huge fields compared to what we see in the Lancaster County PA area.  
Newly Planted Tobacco Field

Tobacco Plants Ready to Plant

Planting Tobacco
We saw huge farm equipment either working in the fields or sitting near the barn.  The wheat in this area has just been harvested and now they are no-till planting soybeans in these fields. 
Unharvested Wheat Field

Preparing to Plant No-Till Beans in Harvested Wheat Field
Beans Coming up in Wheat Field
This is Western Kentucky - Not Iowa

We do not know how far we will get tomorrow, but southern Illinois should be flat once we get away from the Ohio River.  Cal hopes to “Make Hay” tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rest Day - Clarksville, TN - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

           The weather this morning was mostly clear and in the 60’s after the hard rains this area received yesterday afternoon and into the night.  We returned to where Cal stopped yesterday and he actually only rode 22 miles, crossing the border and entering Kentucky!  We are north of Clarksville, TN and north of Ft Campbell Military facility.  The last 15 miles were finding our way around the main Fort Campbell facilities.  (No photos of the facilities) We stopped so Cal could have most of the day to rest his legs.  It has been a while since he has taken a day off.  We found a nice hotel along Interstate 24.

We are just vegging today – resting, catching up on emails, reading, etc. 
Cumberland River, Clarksville, TN
An Abandoned Tobacco Barn next to a Wheat Field
Large Mimosa Tree
Mimosa Tree Blossom