Grand River to Cave in Rock , Illinois: How the West Was Won - Underground Railroad Route (Southern Half) - CycleBlaze

April 27, 2010

Grand River to Cave in Rock , Illinois: How the West Was Won

Today's wildlife sightings included many hawks, wild turkeys, a bald eagle and deer. That made up a little for the cold rain and headwinds for most of the day. Contrary to what was indicated on the map, there were no services in Joy (and actually, not much joy either) so we shared the last bagel in the doorway of a church in Carsville, population 64. (Rhona's note: So much for Dave's chronic complaining that I carry too much food on the bike!)

Our first sighting of the Ohio River made us ponder the realization that for runaway slaves, on one side of the river they were property and on the other side, human beings.

First view of the Ohio River
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Rhona lived on McMurray Road in Pennsylvania in her youth.
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We took the free ferry across the Ohio River to Cave in Rock, Illinois. As a child, my parents took me to a drive-in movie to watch "How the West Was Won" starring Jimmy Stewart. There was a scene where the immigrant party was kidnapped by robbers and held in a cave along the Ohio River. The cave was in Cave in Rock and indications are that such kidnappings did occur.
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The only motel we could find listed within 30 miles was just out of town. The owner was 82 years old and in frail health. He wants to sell the hotel or even swap it for a house to live in. There were notices all over the "office" conveying the message that "what you see is what you get" and "quit complaining or move on!" But, the guy wasn't grouchy in person... we liked him.

Just a few rooms, but all are available.
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Dave can sleep anywhere.
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We needed the heat overnight.
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All the necessities.
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We walked to a tiny cinder block diner for supper. No one but the waitress returned our greeting or smiles, although later one older woman began showing photos of her new granddaughter to us (without even an initial "hello"). We of course talked about ours including our expected newest granddaughter so once again grandparenting was the universal language. Then all the folks went on to say that we shouldn't stay in the motel. We were sort of loitering a while after finishing our dinner and the waitress commented, "You don't want to go back to the motel, do you?". She was right, but we did fine for the night.

Some good news: we heard from Laurence who is back on route now. He told us a tornado touched down in a town while he was staying there, but he neither saw or heard it.

Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 737 miles (1,186 km)

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