Tuesday, June 30

Two Great Nights, Here's for Hoping

After taking a week off, I've been back on the road for another four days. Taking the first day a bit slow, the next two I tackled back at full force, hitting 80 a day. Today, I write from Marion, KY, a small city right at the edge of Kentucky and Illinois. The past two nights have been lovely stays - the first being right next to a lake and the second being at the First Baptist Church in Sebree.

The campsite was at a US Army Corps of Engineers campsite, on the Rough River Dam. I got into the campsite after hours and all the signs seemed to tell me to set up camp and pay in the morning. When the office opens. At 10am. Now usually, by 10am, I'm taking my pre-lunch break a good 20 miles away from where I awoke. Hence, a free site was in the making.

The tenants from the night before had left some trash and burnt offerings in the fire pit, so after collecting a bit of brush I was able to put a fire together - making it the first for the trip. In the month I've been on the road, I've learned that my favorite time to ride is just after 6pm. Sometimes even closer to 7:30. Its at that time that I can smell the smoke from people's backyard fires as I ride by. So to actually be graced with the presence of a fire Sunday night was quite a time.

Just after getting the fire started, a white van pulled up to the end of my campsite and waited. It was clear to tell there was some kind of park person inside. Busted. I walked towards the vehicle, fully prepared to dish over the cash, when a woman stepped out the passenger side, introduced herself as the Camp attendant, and told me I had paid.

"I what? Uh, what's the occasion?" I questioned.
"It's your birthday." the driver responded.

Apparently, the Camp Attendant is sympathetic to cyclists and it was my lucky night. She pinned the "Paid" stub to the reflector at the end of the driveway, told me about a good breakfast place down the road, and after hearing me thank her yet again, added "Besides, it's just one shower."

Which of course begged my response, "There're showers here?"

On my ride yesterday I rode through Utica, KY - home of my good friend Clayton. Taking a bit to get a hold of him I rested at the Fast Fuel shop on the corner of 140 and 431. After getting a bit restless at the local gas station, I headed across the street to find the Volunteer Fire Station. I had remembered seeing something about the Firehouse on the back of my map the night before and rechecked for details. I found the place was cycler friendly, explaining why it was completely unlocked and unmanned. Walking into the air conditioned building, I found a log for cyclists to sign, mattresses, a fridge, and a number of dry snacks in the cabinets. Lying down on the mattress, I waited for Clayton to call.

I awoke as the phone vibrated against the cold floor. It wasn't Clayton, but after taking it I found I had had a missed call from Clayton. When we finally met up, I had learned that he had come all the way out to Fast Fuel, asking the tenant there if "a tall guy probably wearing a speedo thingy" had come through. Following his directions, I headed back to his house with him and Zeke, another friend from Centre who just happened to be visiting for the day.

After meeting his family, the three of us caught up on what each had been doing for the past year, as it had been that long since we were all together at Centre. I learned Zeke is getting ready to head north to Chicago's Divinity school while Clayton is going south to Tennessee to make music with another friend, Scott. It was hard leaving, as his mother had invited me for Chicken, but I continued on towards Sebree, KY. I would have stayed - free meal, are you kidding? - but while resting at the Firehouse, I had called ahead to the cyclist hostel and the woman on the other side told me she'd have dinner cooking when I arrived. And since I had made the call a few hours before, I didn't know how much trouble the hostel had gone through to prepare dinner.

I had heard about Sebree as early as Afton, Virginia. When resting at the Cookie Lady's place, an Eastbounder, Nick, shared the good news of Sebree with me, describing it as just like the cycle house, except without the memorabilia. Tell you what, Nick was not far off. Minus the News Team and memorabilia, Sebree had it all - laundry, stocked fridges, mattresses, couches, TV, pool and ping pong tables, shower, etc. Of course, I wasn't quite able to enjoy the ping pong being the only one there for the night.

Bob and Violet have been at the Church there for 30 years, and half that time running this hostel for cyclists as well. They used to make the cyclers homemade ice cream, but have since stopped as it became too expensive to make that much ice cream. The two had me up for dinner - pork roast, Lima beans, noodles, salad, apple sauce, sauteed squash, and sweat tea! - and we discussed the history of the hostel. They said they'll get between 150-200 cyclists a summer and have each up for dinner, which for many is their first meal at a table - I guess I've been extra blessed thus far. I also learned that the night before they had 6 Westbounders, which means there are six people for me to try to catch if I'm looking to ride with someone. After dinner, the two prayed for my journey, and I was off to bed. Talk about a great nights sleep. Mmm.

As I said, I'm in Marion, looking to take the Ferry across into Illinois in a couple hours, where I'll try and rest in Elizabethtown, IL. Bob tells me Elizabethtown is a pretty area, lots of old buildings, so I'm hoping to settle with some extra time to enjoy the area. We'll see.


Nick said...

Glad to hear you're still going, and that you stayed in Sebree. Keep at it.

Donna said...


Good evening to you.
I hope you are doing well.
Keep on going and hope to
see you for your brother
Will wedding.
May God Bless You.
From Aunt Donna

Zeke said...

It was good to see you man. Hopefully I can shoot up to Union sometime and see what the big apple is all about. in the mean time keep on pedalin!