I slept so well last night in the upstairs room of Ann and Alan’s house. They had a fan running in the ceiling, which I normally don’t like, but it created a nice white noise that helped me fall asleep rather quickly. Terry and I showered (separately) and then went downstairs and chatted with Ann while preparing our route for the day. Ann was drinking coffee and telling us about one of her daughters who had traveled through Cambodia, Vietnam, and later bought a motorcycle in India, taking it all the way into the Himalayas. Now that’s adventure!! Buying a motorcycle in a far-away country, touring that country, and finally selling it before leaving. How awesome would *that* be? Hmmmm…
So Terry and I were going to meet at our next planned destination, Sebree, KY which at first glance appeared to be about 80 miles away. It will be somewhat challenging—especially with so many hills to climb—but still within my range. I took off from Tunnel Hill at about 10am, therefore having a goal of arriving into Sebree at about 6 or 7pm. The weather was overcast and cool, making the ride really pleasant, up until I arrived into a small town called Eddy. Then someone dropped a huge bucket of water from the sky, but I was able to seek refuge under a carport at a house about a hundred yards from the road. A woman and her son came out and said I could stay under their carport as long as necessary. Unfortunately, it took about three hours before the strong rain abated to a more manageable sprinkle.
So last year, as the locals told me, there was record-breaking heat in Southern Illinois (about 110 degrees). Today was a totally different story. It was about 60 degrees, drizzling rain, and windy (How did I automatically get transported into the Highlands of Scotland?). I could not believe I was reaching into one of my panniers and pulling out my long-sleeved wool sweater. But I did, and I pulled it on, to combat this cold summer “heat” (yeah, sure is hot out). I was back on the bike at about 3pm, and pedaling with much fervor (wanted to get back on schedule for Sebree). I was moving at a good cadence, averaging about 18 mph going up and down the hills. By the way, it was so green on both sides of the road…crops of corn and soybeans. I’m loving this part of the country.
At about 5pm, I arrived into Elizabethtown, a small (aren’t they all?) town snuggled up to the Ohio River, quite a wide river, with barges slowly meandering their way along the turns. I bought a banana at the convenience store, and sat on the bench outside with a view to an old hotel, built in 1812 and set near the bank of the river. Just as I was looking towards the two-story white hotel, I saw two bicyclists ride up an adjacent path by the hotel. What? No way! It was Jlsa and Peter again — the Dutch couple! I yelled, “Hello Amsterdam!” and they turned and started waving at me. They beckoned me over, so I got up and walked over and they were breaking out a beer and a margarita. “Hey Mike! Join us for a drink on the porch of the hotel…we have a room here tonight!” I told them that I was getting ready to continue to Sebree, KY to which they both looked at me like I was crazy. I thought I only had about forty miles remaining, but it was actually sixty-five (Fuh….!)
The winding route made the total miles much longer than I anticipated. “Hey Mike, just spend the night with us! Call Terry and let him know!” Okey dokie. So that’s what I did, and all was well. I stayed with Jlsa and Peter and we had the most fun evening I’ve had on this trip. We all showered (separately) then bought some beer (although Jlsa has fallen in love with the canned margaritas she discovered in the convenience stores across the U.S.) and chips and sat on the hotel porch, joking and laughing while the watching the barges glide down the river. For dinner we went down to the water where there was a floating restaurant. We chowed on the local catfish, which was fried. Good stuff. Then we went back to the hotel and talked into the evening.
We finally called it a night around 11pm. This day really ended well with my Dutch friends.