Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jackson to Fredericktown MO

Because we are still on that 5-lane highway from hell that we rode in on yesterday we opted to get up early and get outa dodge. It was a good decision. Traffic was much calmer, and lighter. The word for today is hills. Lotsa hills. over and over and over again. Over 2300 ft of climbing today. A lot of little hills and a few long climbs, often at 6-7 percent grades. The legs got a work out today. 

There weren't many places to stop today, but we did find one convenience store/gas station where we picked up a few snacks and just hung out for a bit, then back to the hills. As the day wore on the wind picked up and became quite gusty at times. It's cooling effects were welcome as the temperature had climbed a bit as well, but it was also tough to battle against while riding. Still, we prevailed.

We stopped for lunch in Fredericktown. A local place May had scouted out. She joined us as well. Soup, salad and dessert bar. There was a little girl there with her family who I know had been through chemo. Her hair was growing back in and had that soft, texture that I know so well. It made me sad, and made me realize how much I miss Rachel, but I hope for this little girl the outcome will be better. She and her family looked to be having an enjoyable day. 

We were only a mile or so from our motel. Thunderstorms had been predicted, and rain, but they didn't show up while we were on the road. We've had some thunder tonight, be so far no storms. Roger lubed the bike chains tonight. Tomorrow we ride to Johnson's shut in State Park where we will spend the next two nights, taking a much needed rest day. Food shopping tonight, so stock up on supplies. We might not have wifi/cell service for a couple of days. 

44 miles
2300 ele gain (est)

Camera Wars 
Niswonger church and cemetery
Just a some trees
One of those rural barn scenes
Not clover. I don't know what they are. 
Hills and curves. 

Wallabies - who'd have thought?

Requisite floral scene

Cairo IL-Jackson MO

Saturday - May 23

We crossed the Mississippi River today and rode into Missouri. The first part of our day was pleasant riding, but for me the highlight was the bridge crossing. I love bridges and it’s always a treat when I get to cross one with nice wide shoulders so we can ride in peace and enjoy the view.
Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River

Jo up ahead on the bridge
Suspension cables
Cables and tower

Mississippi River 
Cape Girardeau 
Ace and Jo

Kari (me!)

Are you about tired of this bridge yet?
When we finally finished crossing the bridge, we dropped down into the town of Cape Girardeau, MO. We went looking for more bridge photo ops and once the photographers were well satisfied that we had captured every angle, we set off towards downtown in search of sustenance.
Yep, more bridge pics
Did I mention that I love bridges?
Okay. I'm finished now.
River campus at Southeast Missouri
Lunch was at a nice little Italian restaurant, and after that we rode down to the levee wall to view some of the murals there. The murals were well-designed and featured celebrities, artists, writers, athletes, musicians, writers and other famous persons from or associated with the state of Missouri.
Murals along the levee wall 

Mark Twain - one of my favorites!
Roger had plotted a route through the city, but we were foiled by local road construction and we could not find a way to connect with his chosen route. We were left to ride through the business district (what I call strip-mall hell) on a busy 5 lane highway. It was not pleasant, but it was the only route we could find. Intersections were huge affairs with turn lanes, and there were no crosswalks anywhere. Miles and miles of business only accessible by auto. Roger, May, and I de-stressed by watching an old Denzil Washington movie: Deja Vu. Good way to wrap up the day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mayfield KY to Cairo IL

May 22

Our departure from Mayfield was on a busy road with no shoulder. Ace had a flat at the beginning of our ride, a piece of steel belt had lodged in his tire. It’s our first flat. There was a lot of traffic, including truck traffic and It was a little stressful for quite a few miles, but eventually we seemed to lose a majority of the traffic to other roads. Most folks are pretty good about slowing down or moving over as needed, but there are always a few who can’t seem to accomplish this simple maneuver.

Lunch was at a little restaurant in Wickliffe KY, just before crossing into Illinois. We would need to cross the Ohio River on a beautiful old steel bridge. The bridge is very long and narrow with no shoulder, so we decided to shuttle the bikes over on the car. It would have been fun to ride over it, but it would just be too dangerous.

Jo and Ace went first, while May and I waited in Wickliffe. I went in search of an ATM, and after I finished my transaction a nice woman at the bank called out the window and asked if I needed some cold water or anything - very nice! Roger returned and we ferried the last two bikes over and we took off to ride through the town of Cairo.

Cairo Illinois, a sad little town. At one time it had to have been prosperous. There is some beautiful architecture throughout the town, but it is now an empty shell. The population has dwindled. Many of the buildings are deteriorating, and those businesses that appeared to be operational were closed even though it was Friday afternoon.

Roger and I rode bikes around the town, to the downtown area, and out to the levee, before heading north of town to our motel. Once we were settled in, Jo, May, Roger, and I returned to downtown Cairo to visit a few more sights. We also drove south of town looking for photo ops of the bridge we crossed. We found another bridge, this one over the Mississippi River. It was closed for major repairs and we walked to up to the top of it for views of the river.

The weather today was perfect. Warm and sunny, not too hot. We rode about 36 miles, shorter than planned due to the shuttling of the bikes.

All in all a very interesting day.

Interesting old barn still standing 
Cool sign in the yard of some nice folks
who invited us to sit in their yard and have sweet tea.
Nice riding once the traffic thinned out.
County Courthouse, Wickliffe Kentucky 
Illinois Border - no opportunity for group shot
Barge traffic on the Ohio River 
Cairo IL - One of many abandoned buildings
Downtown Cairo
Some of the near abandoned building.
In fact I don't know if there is any business here,
but we can see one car in the photo
The bridge on which we crossed the Ohio River
Levee with flood markings.
Historic Downtown Cairo
More empty buildings 
Crumbling and deteriorating
Someone had recently planted some roses, while in the background the city is dying 
Illinois Central
Wall of murals 
Some of the far ones are unfinished
Ornate gate at Riverlore
Side porch, Riverlore

Magnolia Manor 
Ornate architectural features on Magnolia Manor
Bridge over the Mississippi River under repair
Look at those large beams
Confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers