While you’ve been sleeping I’ve been …well I guess I’ve been sleeping too. BUT while you were working I was working on putting down some miles. Once I realized I might be able to reach a border crossing I took it as a personal challenge to get there. And then when I got there I realized there was another state border to be crossed just down the road. New border crossings ahead, I kept pedaling (and eating).
Day 33, June 1st – Buffalo River Campground to Dover, TN
This is where I left off in my previous post. Fresh from a day off kayaking with the LDH crew I finally got going after a morning of wifi at a truck stop near the campground. I don’t think I actually started pedaling until almost noon. I was convinced that my lazy bum needed to put in respectable miles so I pedaled like mad. I had a great pace for the first 20 miles to Waverly. My legs felt great and I had plenty of stored calories from good food cooked up by the LDH. In Waverly I did some grocery shopping and got on the move again. Unfortunately the fresh leg feeling never seems to last, but I did get my 65 miles in today. I ended up finding a campground near Dover which was just south of the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) State Park entrance. They had showers and laundry! I think this was my first real shower since Chattanooga 😮
Max speed: 48.5 (new record on this bike I believe)
Acts of Kindness: 1 – The lady who ran the campground gave me a free ice cream at check-in. I asked her to add it to my campsite bill. Ice cream is about the best thing you can imagine after a long ride… especially free ice cream.
Day 34, June 2nd – Dover, TN to Hillman Ferry Campground (near Grand Rivers, KY)
I stuck around at the campground this morning to make coffee and biscuits (I’m getting good at biscuits) while I waited for some laundry to dry. Once packed up, I rode into the Land Between the Lakes (LBL). I rode in the LBL all day today. Big rolling hills, green forests, and very little traffic made for a good day of riding. I took a rest stop at the visitor center and watch a flick “Back to the Moon” in their planetarium. It was about Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition. Interesting film and it was a nice break from the suns rays. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going to call it quits today, but with a sore hip flexor and downpours I decided to go for the nearest Hillman Ferry Campground, the last campground in the LBL. I threw up my tent quick between downpours, washed up at the campground showers, and jumped back in my tent to stay dry. I was beat today so I settled with a couple tortillas and dry oatmeal for dinner in my tent and then passed out around 8:00 PM.
Day 35, June 3rd – Hillman Ferry Campground to Deer Run Campground (South of Galconda, IL)
I was up and getting my things together at sunrise today after a bunch of sleep (only woke a few times to downpours throughout the night). I figured I’d at least get to Cave-in-Rock, IL today which would be a good days ride (~70 miles). I rolled through Grand Rivers pretty early this morning. It was a sleepy little tourist town along the Cumberland and Tennessee River. From here on out there were plenty of hills and a beaming sun. I stopped in Smithland to have a look at some of their historical civil war buildings. Tucked along the Tennessee river they served as an important supply depot for the Union army. Down the road I met my first fellow cycle tourist of the trip. This was an older gentleman doing the southbound Great Rivers route by the Adventure Cycle Association. He started in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and was ending in Tupelo, Mississippi.
I arrived at the ferry that crosses Ohio River into Illinois feeling pretty exhausted. I ran out of water about 20 miles prior so when I pulled into a cafe in Cave-In-Rock I put down quite a few waters while waiting for a delicious catfish sandwich. Meanwhile I talked with the owner of 35 years about business. He said they do alright, but nothing like the days prior to the interstate. After lunch I checked out the actual cave that the town is named after. It was only 5:30 PM at this time so I pressed on to Golconda about 25 miles away. It was 8:00 PM when I pulled into town… I grabbed a Subway footlong and rode a few more miles out of town to Deer Run Campground. It was getting pretty dark when I pulled in. With no one in sight I decided to setup and try to settle things in the morning. The owner came around after my tent was up and I had showered. I didn’t have exact change so he agreed to bring change down and let me pay in the morning.
Miles: 103.5 This is my first century ever actually… Hard to believe I know! Might as well be on a 90 lb bike!
Day 36, June 4th – Deer Run Campground to Cape Girardeau
Today I was up and cooking breakfast (cornbread) before 6:00 AM. Listening to the birds and finishing up my coffee, the campground owner, Charles, pulled up with two coffees in hand. I was happy to have a second cup with him over breakfast. Charles is a really good guy. We had a great chat. He is an older fellow who is perfectly content with his life. He was enthusiastic about my trip and told me… “I’ve done everything I want to do in life”. A retired oil line worker, Charles travelled the world and said any time he wanted to do something, he did it. He didn’t let fear of money rule his decision making because he’s knew in the end he could get back on track even if things went south. Now days he runs the campground and owns a large number of cabin rental properties. We concluded life is good and when I went to pay him he wouldn’t take my money. Thanks again Charles
I was on the road around 8:00 AM. I knew Cape Girardeau was a long days ride but I wanted to give it a go. I got into Cape Girardeau fairly late and was racing an incoming storm. Feeling like I was due for treating myself, I decided to pay for my first motel of the trip. I found one reasonably priced and raced there.
Miles: 95.3 Another big day
Acts of Kindness: 2 – Charles brought me coffee and let me camp for free.
Day 37, June 5th – Cape Girardeau (Rest Day)
Taking the day off today. I’ve been running around taking care of some errands. Laundry, groceries, bike shop, coffee and blogging. It’s been a pretty busy day actually. I’m glad I took a day to catch up on things.
Acts of Kindness: 1 – The bike shop owner, Don at Cape Bicycle, hooked me up with some discount on my purchases and cleaned my chain free of charge while I worked on replacing my tire.
Have a great Friday and a great weekend! Oh I almost forgot… one last thing to share. Jody Peterson, my technical advisor when I was an intern at UTC Aerospace Systems (formerly Hamilton Sundstrand) is a really talented musician and an inspiring individual in general. I remember consulting him when I was job hunting out of college and he told me something on the order of… “Do the biggest, wildest thing you can think of”. Well, I never forgot that conversation and I always respected Jody for his entrepreneurial spirit and great mentorship. While on SoundCloud this evening I saw Jody posted a couple of songs for his music brand “Metal Works”. He mentioned they were inspired by my trip which I was surprised to see and totally psyched about! Jody is a dedicated musician and he does really good work. Check it out on SoundCloud!
You can also find him on YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNyHuF95syvE6hpRLZaASew