Eighteen: Closed Sunday (Sebree to Elizabethtown, ILLINOIS)

by davidharries

Miles: 68
Total: 1,237

Leftover coconut and oatmeal raisin cookies served as first breakfast. Thanks, Violet. We didn’t finish dinner and visiting till close to 10 p.m. last night. That, coupled with sleeping inside away from the sun, led to heading out around 7 a.m., into a blissfully cool and overcast Sunday morning.

Ten miles out of Sebree I crossed through Dixon and my first public library in many miles. Of course, it was too early, and they’re closed today, at any rate. I really want to organize a few photos — WordPress’ mobile app is passable for text, but really lacks when it comes to multimedia.

About 40 miles in I stopped for a bite in Marion (a bigger town at 3,200 people) as well as another loaf of bread and bananas to make peanut butter sandwiches. Their library’s closed as well.

The roads flattened out a bit as I left Kentucky, and it stayed tolerably cool till about noon. The magic hours for cycling are usually sunup to about 11 a.m. and then between 4 p.m. and dusk. You’re out of direct sun and the wind’s less aggressive. An interesting pocket of Amish live on the western edge of Kentucky, but of course today being today, all the shops were closed.

I hitched a ride on a ferry across the Ohio River. My second ferry in three days, though the Ohio’s much larger and the ferry’s free-floating (and free), not cable guided. There are lots of folks on the water for recreation and business, including a few of heavily coal-laden barges. I talked with a couple of Harley riders out for a 200-mile Sunday cruise in transit. All a matter of perspective, but the idea of a fun, 200-mile afternoon is hard to wrap a cycling brain around.

Once across, I entered Illinois, the so-called Land of Lincoln, though I think Kentucky has a pretty good claim on the family, based on the memorials visited over the past week.

Directly over the river is Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, and a synonymous state park. So named for a giant (perhaps 50′ diameter) limestone cave carved out of a cliff on the bank, the hollow has an interesting history, involving pirates and scalawags who used the cave to prey on merchantmen plying the Ohio. You can clamber in the cool cavern, and I did, enjoying the temperature differential and scrabbling on slippery rocks with my cleats.

It’s really pretty along the Ohio, and I spent a while sitting along the river. I’d planned on stopping in the park tonight, but Sebree Baptist told me there’s camping in Elizabethtown, about 10 miles down the road, so I pushed on.

I reconnected with Trevor in Elizabethown. We sat by the water and talked for a half hour or so. He’s pushing on — there’s plenty of daylight, and he’s packing light, sleeping in a bivy sack, which really opens up his stealth camping options, versus my large, yellow tent. Hopefully we connect in Colorado, if not earlier.

Home tonight is the backyard of the Rose River Inn B&B. Bruce and Sue open the yard of their 100-year-old home to cyclists for $10 a night, and include use of the pool, shower and bathroom facilities. I’m sleeping on the banks of the Ohio.