Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Rob Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky

Day 22 - Cave in Rock, Illinois to Hillman Ferry campsite, Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky  63.5 miles

Happy Birthday Rob!  We woke up this morning and both felt a little gloomy being so far from the Weiss Gang on Rob's special day.  We found ourselves thinking back to last year's birthday celebration - the 5 of us on a weekend kayak trip to Indian Arm, huddled around the campfire sharing soggy cupcakes during a torrential rainstorm.  What a difference a year makes!

Land Between Lakes
It seems that when we are down and need a boost the most, the "cycle touring gods" send something our way to renew our spirits and give our tired old legs a few extra miles.  Sometimes it is a panoramic view, a kind word, a friendly wave, ice or a skookum campsite.  Today we were given Loni Luis!

We arrived at the "ferry terminal" promptly at 6am ready to cross the Ohio River into Kentucky.  As we were boarding, an older gentleman on a forklift hollered for the ferry to we did.  Turns out the older gentlemen, Loni, owned and operated the ferry and six others.  In fact, the boat we were on was  named after his granddaughter, Loni Jo.  Mr. Lewis was also the inventor of the ferry's swivel hitch - a slick device that enables the tugboat to be permanently attached to the barge and simply swivel back and forth at each crossing.  Loni shared stories of the area's history, the Trail of Tears, the floods and then took great delight in teasing us about yesterday's hilly ride along Rock Tower Road.  According to Loni, a certain influential citizen, who shall not be named, wanted the road to his land paved and discovered that funding was available for the creation of bike routes......need we say more? 
Loni Jo Ferry crossing the Ohio River

We left the Trans America Trail and are now following the Adventure Cycling Association Great Rivers Trail.  We plan to travel just southwest of Nashville to join the Natchez Trace and start angling our way back to the Mississippi River Trail.  

We were excited to set foot on Kentucky soil and enjoyed the morning passing corn and soya fields, cattle and horses.  We bumped into 3 gentlemen out for their morning walk, and learned they were solving all the world's problems.  I expect they will!

It was an exciting ride....instead of negotiating our way through traffic, we found ourselves dodging wildlife....wild turkeys, turtles and snakes!  Rob even had a close call as a deer came bounding out the ditch beside him - Rob had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

We ended our day in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area, 17,000 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities.... truly a perfect place to celebrate Rob's birthday.  (Ian, Adam and Emma were the only thing missing)  We were shocked by the immense size of the campground....we can't tell you exactly how many sites, but let's just say the park has golf cart rules, because folks bring golf carts to travel around the campsite.  We are feeling quite small and insignificant in campsite 31 as we are surrounded by Motorhomes.....that have air conditioners....satellite TV...and no word of a lie, we just watched a gentleman carefully wash his motorbike, drop down a ramp off the back of his motorhome and drive the motorcycle in.  YES - his motorhome has a built in garage.  Connecting to nature and being in the great outdoors seems to have taken on a new meaning!  We chuckled over the contrast between our site and the others as we enjoyed a fabulous gourmet birthday dinner.....chunky soup and jello pudding.  (chocolate of course!)

Hillmen Ferry campsite - Land Between the Lakes

Giggle of the day:

The birthday boy was spoiled rotten:

CLEAN DRY SOCKS!!!  (yes the campsite had laundry facilities)

Hillmen Ferry campsite laundry facilities - Land Between the Lakes

Hand fishing - just for you Captain Adam!

A swim at the lake

 Thanks to all for the birthday wishes and your comments on the is always great to hear from you.

View Larger Map