Sunday, May 19, 2013

Great River Bike trail, Savannah, IL to Rock Island, IL

Day 13- Palisades State Park to Rock Island, Illinois - 71.5 miles

We woke up early and arrived in Savannah to be greeted by  60 miles of dedicated bike path,  FLAT bike path...just when you think things can't get any better!  We were on the Great River Trail which took us through numerous wildlife refuge areas and several small towns.  We were intrigued when we saw several radio towers.  We debated if they were government weather stations, UFO spotting devices or part of a ham radio network.  It turns out they were Turtle Towers.  Currently, Illinois is working to save the ornate box turtle.  These little guys are about the size of a penny.  Scientists have caught some and tagged them, and the turtle towers track their movements!  

Tea time on the Mississippi River Trail

Dedicated cycling bridge - Mississippi River Trail
We also saw our first snakes....not sure how I will sleep now that I have seen snakes!

As we pedalled along we noticed a couple trying to get their boat onto their trailer.  The wind was really strong and the river moving so fast that they were really struggling.  We hopped off our bikes and before we knew it we were knee deep in the Mississippi hanging on to ropes and trying to pull the boat in.  Unfortunately our efforts were in vain, as we just weren't strong enough....the river won, and the couple decided to head upstream and try a different boat launch.  They passed us later in the day....I am happy to report they were towing the boat along the highway!

Great River Trail.....a biking paradise!
We stopped in Hampton at Remember When Ice Cream and Candies for yet another ice cream break (the best part of a cycling holiday, is you can eat all the ice cream you want without guilt!)  As we were parking our bikes, Jan and Sam the owners went out of their way to welcome us, take our photo, fill our water bottles and add our pin to  their map tracking all of their visitors.  Sam is famous for saving two orphaned white pelicans, teaching them to eat live minnows in a wading pool and releasing them back to their home on the river.

Remember When Ice Cream and Candies

 I was really excited to see a few paddlewheelers on the river....apparently it is too dangerous for them to be out during the current flood state, but we have our eye on them and hope  to take a short trip on a paddlewheeler.
We had to cut our day short and head for cover.  A huge thunder storm was rolling in...you could feel it and smell it!  We found a room at the Hillside Inn and literally stepped into the room when the skies opened up  and it poured!  On the bright side....NHL hockey on cable TV!

Giggle of the day:

Sam from the Remember When Ice Cream store told us that the buiilding is on the site of the most notorious murders on the Mississippi River AND it also used to be a dance hall.  Sometimes late at night you can  hear the piano playing..........



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