Day 24: Sebree, KY to Cave in Rock, IL
June 9, 2011

We got another early start today and rode about 20 miles to Clay, KY where we stopped for second breakfast of eggs, “hash browns,” and biscuits. It wasn’t very delicious and took a long time because they ran out of eggs. That will probably be our last experiment with mid-day restaurant dining for a while. The highlight of the day (and possibly Andrew’s life) was definitely Hillside Discount Groceries in Marion, KY. It is a roadside store run by the Amish that sells damaged, past date, and overstocked packaged foods. It was amazing. We bought Clif Bars for 20 cents each. Andrew ate a 10-inch diameter cinnamon roll (freshly baked) for lunch. Shortly after the groceries, we reached and crossed the Ohio River by ferry and arrived in Cave in Rock, IL. A new state! What’s that? You haven’t heard of Cave in Rock? That’s probably because it is the armpit of Illinois (a local’s statement, not ours, we just happen to agree). There is actually some pirate history here but it was hard to get excited about it due to the deafening roar of cicadas. We camped in the state park. It was horribly hot and the 13-year cicadas drove us crazy. We couldn’t hear ourselves think and they kept flying into us or crawling on us. Why did we camp here, you ask? The motel was all booked for Hog Rock, a 15,000 person weekend-long festival for Harley enthusiasts.

  • Starting point: Sebree, KY
  • Ending point: Cave in Rock, IL
  • Slept: camped
  • Miles: 56
  • Average speed: 10.0

Day 25: Cave in Rock, IL to Tunnel Hill, IL
June 10, 2011

We woke up disappointed we were still in Cave in Rock and escaped as soon as possible. The morning was uneventful. We’re not sure when the landscape changed but suddenly there are pine trees all around as we rode through Shawnee National Forest. We stopped for lunch in Eddyville after about 40 miles and chatted with some Hog Rock people before pressing on. For the evening, we stayed in Tunnel Hill with another warmshowers couple. Ann and Al Stachowiak signed up for warmshowers after Ann’s brother used it on his bike trip. They have over 60 acres of land and a log house they built themselves where we spent the night. After sharing their yummy kabob dinner with them, we tagged along to see their 6-year old granddaughter’s softball game. Little League softball is pretty hilarious. After the game we came home and chatted with Alan about building the house, his property, his careers (Marine Corps, iron worker, teacher) and his children. For breakfast we had steel cut oats on the deck with Alan, talked some more about his property and his house, and definitely didn’t turn down his offer for a ride into town when we saw the storm clouds looming. Good thing, too. It POURED on the ride in to Carbondale. We’re spending Saturday in Carbondale taking care of some bicycle maintenance at one of the three (!!!) bike shops in town and having a rest before hitting the Ozarks.

  • Starting point: Cave in Rock, IL
  • Ending point: Tunnel Hill, IL
  • Slept: warm showers (Stachowiak house)
  • Miles: 56.2
  • Average speed: 9.9

Photos: John Deere gummy candies from the Amish grocery store, our new riding buddies, Illinois!, dead cicadas, Little League.