An Almost Completely Forgotten Five-Day Tour From 2014 - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

An Almost Completely Forgotten Five-Day Tour From 2014

Something jogged my memory the other day about a short tour that I'd almost completely forgotten about, and had never documented. In April, 2014, I rode from where we were then living, in Lebanon, Illinois, back to my boyhood hometown of Flemingsburg, Kentucky.

This was before I started using Strava, so I don't have the exact route I took. Also, except for the first day, I took surprisingly few photos. And I don't have any especially vivid memories of this trip for some reason.

I don't think this forgettable tour warrants its own journal, but I at least want to do something with the photos, so I'll write about the trip on this page.

Day One: April 6, 2014. Lebanon, Illinois to Benton, Illinois

I remember that it was chilly as I left our driveway, but that later the sun came out and it warmed up. I'd worked out a very ambitious route and schedule, which I quickly gave up on when I encountered flooded roads on this first day.

I wasn't carrying any camping gear, and I hadn't reserved any lodging - my typically half-assed approach to touring.
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Karen PoretYay.. it’s spelled correctly.. ( so often it’s Cecelia) There is an other St. Cecilia in San Francisco, CA. When I grew up here, there were 3 separate classes of 50 students for each grade..And, one nun ( Sister) to control all of us. Those days are long gone..
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3 months ago
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Impassable. I remember turning around, adding at least 20 miles to my planned route.
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Karen PoretPosey? Namesake or the flowers?
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3 months ago
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I remember riding through an industrial section of Mt. Vernon (population 14,600) for the first and only time that I lived in Illinois. I probably didn't take as many photos as I normally would have of this industrial zone - I usually find this stuff pretty interesting - because I was way behind schedule.

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Karen PoretThis is so unique! Difficult to read, but clever use of old street signs, especially to “teach” those at the school 1) location, 2) spelling, and 3) art!
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3 months ago
Jeff LeeIt's actually the Public Works building, not a school. So yes, I guess it actually IS difficult to read ;)

A cool sign, nevertheless.
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3 months ago
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I seem to remember getting getting lost as I neared Benton (population 6,709), and I think it was dusk when I checked into a room at the crappy Benton Motel there, for which I paid $44.40, according to the credit card charge in my Quicken software. Dinner was a carryout pizza from the Domino's next door.

Day Two: April 7, 2014. Benton, Illinois to Sebree, Kentucky

It was cold and rainy almost all day. I remember that the section on IL-13 to the Ohio River at Old Shawneetown was especially unpleasant, with a minimal shoulder and bothersome traffic. Before crossing the scary, narrow bridge over the Ohio River at Old Shawneetown, I remember that I attempted to call the pastor of the church in Sebree that hosts bicycle tourists, but I had a terrible connection, and I wasn't sure if he understood me.

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Mark BinghamDo you think the guy in the picture is balding, wearing a yamaka, or just a victim of peeling paint?
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3 months ago
Jeff LeeHmm. I hadn't noticed that. Your attention to detail is very impressive.

I'm going to vote for Yarmulke, simply because the idea of a Jewish person relocating to the small rural town of Benton, Illinois 100 years ago to open a combination drycleaner/furrier shop amuses me for no good reason.
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3 months ago
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I remember being very cold and waterlogged after crossing the bridge into Kentucky, and stopping immediately at "Smokin' Joe's Convenience Store", where I sat at a table drinking hot chocolate, eating a honey bun, and observing a steady stream of people from Illinois buying cheap cigarettes.

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I think the rain mostly stopped after that. I remember getting lost a few times on the way to Sebree, and riding on a messy dirt/gravel road as I neared the town.

As I write this ten years later (in 2024), we actually live only 20+ miles from Sebree, and I ride down there all the time. But I cannot remember where this dirt road is now. It's kind of amazing that I've forgotten so much about this trip.

I arrived at Sebree in the dark, and was relieved to find that Pastor Bob, and his wife Violet, were around. They insisted that I join them in their home across the street from the church for a very late dinner. That was very, very nice of them.

According to something I posted on my now-deleted Facebook account (which I have a download of) this was a 107-mile day.

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My room in the church in Sebree.
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Day Three: April 8, 2014. Sebree, Kentucky to Hardinsburg, Kentucky.

I remember almost nothing about this day. I don't remember talking to anyone, and apparently I didn't see anything interesting, since I only took four(!) photos. This is surely one of the least-memorable days I've ever had on a bicycle tour.

I stopped for the day in Hardinsburg, and, according to my Quicken personal finance software, I paid $57.24 for a room at the Breckinridge Inn there.

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Karen PoretIs that a twin stroller in front of your bike? Where are the kids?
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3 months ago
Jeff LeeI have a very faint memory that this old country store might have been open, despite its decrepit appearance. So the children might have been inside.
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3 months ago
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Karen PoretWell, it is a cycle, propelled by your motor!
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3 months ago

Day Four: April 9, 2014. Hardinsburg, Kentucky to Frankfort, Kentucky.

I remember that I quickly sketched out a route in the motel room the night before to Frankfort, the state capital of Kentucky.

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I took a few more photos than yesterday. But I don't remember much about the ride.

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Jeff TeelStunningly beautiful! Frame-worthy!
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3 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Jeff TeelThanks Jeff. I don't even remember the circumstances of taking this, other than that I must have ridden out of Hardinsburg pretty early.

I hope you're doing well. When's your next big tour? I loved following your last one.
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3 months ago
Jeff TeelTo Jeff LeeJeff,
Thanks. I'm well. Glad to see you're doing so much better after your recent setbacks. Yours will be the trip to follow this year!
Presently I should be looking for a job to reimburse our 'emergency medical account' for what I used from it for last year's trip. But my wife has suggested I hold off and instead borrow more from that account to fund a trip this summer. So, I've been tentatively planning a six-week trip through eastern Nebraska and Kansas. (I know - "There again?!") Starting date would be mid-July - just after getting prescriptions refilled to avoid having to look for Walmart Pharmacies along the way.
Jeff
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2 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Jeff TeelI really like touring in Nebraska and Kansas. I'm sure I'll ride there again. I prefer low-key, friendly places with empty roads instead of busy, heavy-traffic tourist attractions with spectacular scenery :)

I'll keep an eye on your journal when you do your trip - maybe there's a possibility, however remote, that we can meet up on the road.

Jeff
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2 months ago
Jeff TeelTo Jeff LeeJeff,
A meet-up on the road would be awesome! I'll share a copy of my itinerary when it's ready.
Jeff
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2 months ago
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One thing I DO remember was the following amusing graffiti I saw as I rode through the tiny community of "Waddy".

There's a Love's Travel Stop in Waddy on Interstate 64. I've thought about this graffiti a few times over the years as I've driven past it.

I know, I know: I'm easily amused.

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I stayed at an absolutely terrible Days Inn in Frankfort, for which I paid $66.77. I remember there was no place within walking distance to buy food, and I ate snacks from my panniers in the room. The area seemed slightly dangerous, and I didn't want to wander around after dark.

Day Five: April 10, 2014. Frankfort, Kentucky to Flemingsburg, Kentucky

I remember a super-hectic ride leaving the motel on an extremely busy road with lots of morning commuter traffic. Looking at the map now, it must have been the "East-West Connector." It had a wide shoulder; without that, it would have been unbearable.

Frankfort is not that big, though, so pretty soon I was on nice country roads. This is the bluegrass (horse country) region of the state. Very pretty.

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As I neared Flemingsburg, the scenes were increasingly familiar. I'd been on day rides many times in the area when I lived there

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The total mileage on this trip, according to a post I made on Facebook at the time, was 506 miles. So over 100 miles a day average. I probably couldn't do that now, ten years later, given my current fitness level. Who would have thought that there could be such a difference between age 48 and 58?!

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