Day 26, to Golconda: 'Potential for severe thunderstorms today. Have a plan and be prepared.' - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

May 18, 2022

Day 26, to Golconda: 'Potential for severe thunderstorms today. Have a plan and be prepared.'

Before the thunderstorms barreled thorough Cave-in-Rock, Ill., this morning, I went to see the cave itself. This was my view from inside the cave, a dark space with a narrow path catching the light from the wide opening ahead.
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I snapped this selfie in front of the cave, proudly displaying my Bike Anywhere Week t-shirt from 2020, in celebration of this year's Bike Anywhere Week, which I'm celebrating this year by biking EVERYWHERE. Behind me, the dark cave looms, with a large circular opening funneling down to a narrow gap just wide enough for a person to walk through.
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Wednesday stats

Start: Cave-in-Rock, Ill., at a campground right on the Ohio River next to the ferry.

End: Golconda Lock & Dam 51 House #1, Golconda, Ill.

The Daily Progress: 29.35 miles

Elevation gain: 1,558 feet

Ice cream flavors: N/A. But I did get myself some Chips Ahoy and a quart of milk, so I'm not that innocent. ... And if you now have Britney Spears playing in your head, congratulations! You now know what it's like to be in my head while I'll biking all day. Random phrases like that will remind me of a song lyric and completely derail my train of thought. (Speaking of which, that train of thought, if you can call it that, generally starts with some obnoxious version of "What am I doing with my life? Well, this, at least for now! Stop worrying about it and try to appreciate the present. And be kind!") So then I'm singing pop music to myself even though I actually know only a quarter of the lyrics. Then I try whistling the tune until I remember that whistling makes me too winded to pedal very well. Also, my whistling is terrible — almost as bad as my singing — but then I figure I may as well practice while I'm on the road by myself, so whistle away! I've been thinking one of these blog entries is going to be just a list of random songs that have gotten stuck in my head this way, plus what made them come to mind, if I can remember. 

Where were we? Oh, right, the day's stats.

Lodging expenses: Whoo boy. $133.30. I booked this house through Airbnb last night after seeing that severe thunderstorms were expected this morning and again overnight tonight. That meant I had a limited window for riding and I would need to be indoors tonight. The only available indoor options were 26 miles away or 60 miles away. There's a Warmshowers host in Tunnel Hill, but they were not available. So I went for this Airbnb, which is indulgent and more space than I need, but I think it was the smart decision. It was good to have minimal sun exposure today. And there's this relaxing porch overlooking the Ohio River so that I can again look back at Kentucky.

Two gray porch chairs and a small table in between are placed on a screened-in porch looking out at the river and the green line of trees and rolling hills on the horizon, a blue sky with faint clouds above.
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Food expenses: About $41. Breakfast at the lodge in Cave-in-Rock State Park while I waited out the morning storms, plus a surprisingly expensive grocery run here in Golconda, where I sort of cooked for myself, if you count making one of those instant rice side dishes and adding a bunch of chopped vegetables. It involved a stovetop and a cutting board, so yeah, that totally counts. It felt kinda good, like I was doing something to take care of myself. Whatever I need to tell myself before I devour those cookies.

Wednesday ramblings: Planning for the unpredictable

The title of today's blog entry includes a quote, which is a warning message that appears far more frequently than I'd like on The Weather Channel's app. The first part is just a fact of life: "Potential for severe thunderstorms." It's the second part that gets my attention: "Have a plan and be prepared." 

I did not have a great plan and I was not prepared back on Day 14 of this trip when a chance of severe thunderstorms turned into a tornado warning. Also, I've gotten thoroughly drenched a couple of times. I'm now pretty motivated to avoid both of those experiences. But I did not expect to have to work around thunderstorms in the middle of the day as often as they seem to be popping up. I'm gonna go try to find a place where I can stop in the middle of the day tomorrow to wait out any storms. I guess that's how you learn to roll with the thunder.

Today's ride: 29 miles (47 km)
Total: 1,126 miles (1,812 km)

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