Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Bardstown

We had lunch in Bardstown (if you read this blog often enough, you know where we ate) and then drove to the non-town of Trappist to visit:
Trappist monks have lived, prayed, and worked here for over 150 years.  Thomas Merton, known as Father Louis at the monastery, author of The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), lived here for 27 years.
Bardstown calls itself  the Bourbon Capital of the World.  Maker's Mark and Jim Beam distilleries are nearby (the only bourbons I recognized).  We visited Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center.

Here, you put your nose close to funnel and press the button to be able to SMELL the difference in the different ages of the bourbons.
Our campsite was at My Old Kentucky Home State Park.  Behind the line of bushes was
the park's golf course.
No riding today.

Mammoth Cave: Frozen Niagara cave tour

We took the first available tour this morning so we could move on down road later in the morning. There are lots of pictures in this post so Brother-in-law Tom the Geologist can see everything we saw and imagine he was there also.
The various tours explore just 10-12 miles of the Mammoth Cave system, although there are 390 miles of surveyed caves and perhaps up to 200 miles of undiscovered caves.  There are caves and tours with natural entrances, but for this tour we got on a bus and drove to this unnatural entrance.

Looking up at the rock ceiling:

According to the National Park Service website:  "A disease called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is spreading through the eastern United States, killing bat populations. Although this disease does not bother humans, it has been associated with the deaths of more than 1 million bats since it was first identified in 2006."  Therefore all cave visitors are required to walk through this shoe-cleansing mat after tours.
Our day had just begun, we got in the car and drove about 65 miles northeast to our next destination.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To Mammoth Cave National Park

Sunrise: time to get up and get on the road. I need to ride today and we know there's a good road nearby.
Near the town of Epleys, the narrow road widened to an unrestricted multi-lane with a beautiful shoulder. Time for me to ride!
This is our typical lunch stop.  We eat at Subway almost every day.  After lunch, it was Dick's turn to ride.
Today's road treasure was a big sealed package of hot dog buns. 
After the road narrowed again and was deemed unsafe, we loaded Dick's bike and drove to Mammoth Cave National Park where we would camp for the night.

Miles = 2703

Monday, August 29, 2011

To Lake Malone State Park near Dunmor Kentucky

Up early in the morning to cross the Ohio River.
Looking downriver:
Looking upriver:
Here comes Kentucky:
The roads were still narrow and shoulderless so we drove to the West Kentucky Parkway which we thought we'd be able to ride.  However, the "Parkways" in Kentucky are limited access roads and no bicycles, pedestrians, or "animals on foot" are allowed.  There was a state route that followed alongside the parkway and Dick thought it was ok to ride - there was a bit of a shoulder. It was already too hot for me so it was all-Dick for the second day in a row.
Not so many miles today due to a blister on one of his toes.  I picked him up in Depoy and we drove to the nearest campground at Lake Malone State Park.

Miles = 2656

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To Cave-in-Rock

Again, we thought the road was not safe to ride so we drove to Harrisburg where IL-13 was a multi-lane highway with a big wide shoulder. Since it was too hot for me to ride, Dick did all the riding today. Meanwhile I had time to go to the local library and get online. On the way out I noticed this sign
and this row of jars. What a great fund-raising activity.
The jar at the far right seems to have the most money in it at this point:
Dick rode 67 miles today while I did the grocery shopping.  I met him in Cave-in-Rock at the state park campground.  The main streets of the town - a total of about 3 blocks - all had brightly painted red benches and flower pots. 
Painted on a wooden fence, a view of the actual cave along the Ohio River.
The RV sites with electricity and water were quite nice. 
However our primitive tent camping site was up a hill on not-quite-level rather rocky ground.

Miles = 2622

Saturday, August 27, 2011

To Little Grassy Lake Campground near Carbondale, Illinois

I got a little excited when I saw a decent shoulder ahead of me this morning, they are virtually nonexistent in Missouri. Sadly, the shoulder was marred with a rumble strip. The worker must have been disoriented when it was applied because it also wove across the white line to the outside road edge.
Eastern Missouri is home to Crown Valley Brewery and many vineyards:
I hope this picture illustrates how hilly this area is and the complete lack of a shoulder.  I had a scary experience this morning.  I was trudging up a steep hill very slowly, maybe 20 feet from the top.  A big pickup pulling a flatbed trailer came up fast behind me and crossed the center line to pass me.  The car coming up the other steep side, also near the top, had to take the ditch.  A near-miss.  This is why we drive portions of this route.
This bridge crosses the Mississippi River to Chester Illinois:

Elzie Segar, the creator of Popeye, is from Chester.  His comic strip Thimble Theater was first published in 1919.  Popeye first appeared in the strip in 1929 and became so popular with readers that the comic was eventually renamed after him.
View of the Mississippi from Chester:
Although busy with traffic and still no shoulder, this road was ok for riding in the afternoon.
Our day ended at Little Grassy Lake Campground about 8 miles SE of Carbondale.
Miles = 2555

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rest Day

Not a clean sock in the suitcase, therefore time for a rest day in Farmington.
There are two campgrounds here in St. Joe State Park. One is for campers who bring their horses. The one we chose, because it has a shower house, is for off-road vehicles. Being the weekend, we are surrounded by noisy speeding dirt bikes and quad-runners.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To Farmington

Crows were our before-dawn alarm clock which made for a very early start.
Today a couple of the hills were too steep for me to ride and I had to walk to the top. The downhills get you up to 40 mph is a very short distance.  There are no shoulders.  For the most part, vehicles have been very courteous, slowly following us to the top of a hill before they try to pass.  "Limited-signt distance" is how the AC route describes it. 
However, today there were many high-speed logging trucks on the road and we chose safety over taking chances and drove until we found a good wide shoulder for the last 18 miles into Farmington.
We camped at St Joe State Park, about 7 miles NW of town.

Miles = 2479

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Alley Spring

Bathroom and breakfast at Lollipop Diner (in that order; the courthouse wasn't open yet), then it was time for me to get on the road before it got any hotter. Riding in the Ozarks is described in the AC riding conditions section to be a "self-propelled roller coaster ride." Today I could only manage 20 miles in 2 1/2 hours. I met Dick in Bendavis - the store in the background is about all there is here.
It was so hot this afternoon, very muggy and very buggy. The horseflies were particularly awful.
A large park in the center of Summersville:
The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park to protect a wild river system.  There are two spring-fed rivers, Jack's Fork and Current.
Alley Mill:
Alley Spring with an average daily flow of 81 millions gallons:
Alley Spring Campground:
It was very hot, muggy and buggy this afternoon. The horseflies were particularly annoying.

Miles = 2431