Marion, Kentucky to Dixon Springs State Park, Illinois

Amish Salvage Store.


We are firmly seconded in Amish Country.  Two days ago I came up close to a buggy but it turned one way at a fork and I another.

Today we made a recommended stop at the Amish Discount Grocery which sells salvaged, yes salvaged, food items ranging from fig newtons to cans of soup to candy.  While there, three serious Amish Women keep the shelves stocked and tidy.  Whenever I had a question they would answer quietly with the faintest Dutch accent.

The store outside boasts a place to tie your horse and buggy.

Crossing the Ohio River by ferry into Illinois.


Certainly a highlight of this unconventional trip across America given that if we're not flying past and over, we are whizzing by at 75 miles or faster on Interstate highways where the land, indeed city neighborhoods have been carved out to fit the road.

Biking, the land forms the road to fit to it.

So here since 1807, a Ferry has operated to take traffic between Illinois and Kentucky.  Along with we four bikers (Jim, Barry, John, and I) there were five cars and trucks.

Crossing a river like this reminds you of the power these major rivers had in shaping States, travel patterns, and the fortunes of towns.  The interstate highway system is a glorious thing, but it has diminished the terrain that meant something at some time.

One thousand miles into the trip and we say goodbye to Kentucky and cross the Ohio River by ferry to reach Cave in Rock, Illinois.

The town is Americana incarnate and celebrates its connection to the USBR (US Bike Route) 76.  Every corner has old painted bicycles on them so that you could give directions by telling people to turn left at the red bike.  The town's cafe has "Bikers Welcome" painted on the side, boasts signs for the nearby Coal Festival, and charges an improbable $4.20 for tea and a ham and cheese omelette.

Heading out of town we met Walt (Not as rich or as dead as Disney Walt) and his terrier Cooper.  Walt invited us to fill up water at his house. Seeing my Navy Jersey, which really has been a great conversation-starter while being here in places where people proudly serve, Walt and I shared Navy stories. He was, like Matias now, a CT but he was a CTM.

The kindness of people on this trip has been one of the things that make traveling like this special.  Cyclists tend not to be scary people, at least in general, so people find us more approachable.

Jenkins Bike Rest Area.


Biking and hiking each have developed their little subculture which sometimes they overlap.  One part is called Trail Magic which involves unexpected acts of kindness, charity, and consideration.

After a particularly nasty hill we stumbled at the crest to this lovely little lawn created into a bike rest area complete with water, charging stations, picnic table, whimsical gardens with gnomes and a friendly massive German Shepard named Hobo.  John, Barry, and I came upon it and there was Jim sitting there too.

It's supposed to be a short riding day today but it's hot and hilly so we've been grabbing these breaks as often as we can.

Dixon Springs State Park.

One large massive and long hill close to the end and I popped another spoke. It's the second spoke on this rear wheel so I am pretty disappointed.

Tomorrow is a relatively short day, 54 miles, to Carbondale so I accepted Mike's offer and we put my seat on his bike, adjusted the handlebars and switched out the pedals.

No shower facilities that are open so Bill, Barry and I were left to clean up next to a spigot with a hose attached.  Barry stripped completely, prompting John (I think) to remark that's the adventure part of the Adventure Cycling.  I soaped up in my biking out fit.  The water was incredibly cold.

Camping tonight.  Hammock for me though and I put up the bug net but no rain fly.