Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great River Ride – Day 6 – Five States in One Day

This morning we geared up and said our goodbyes to Bash3r and family. I would have liked to spend more time with them, but we had a long riding day today.

These photos compliments of Bash3r of us leaving this morning:

Have Trip! Day 6 2up! Heading Out

We rode into St. Louis and checked out the arch. It was too hot to stop and walk around, so we didn’t.

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A few years ago we spent an entire day exploring the Arch park, so we decided to cut it short today and headed across the Mississippi into Illinois for the first time on this trip.


It was very industrial and the road was quite boring. My wife complained she had a hard time staying awake while we were on it. The awful road was IL-3. Conversely on the MO side the Great River Road was US-61 which is a four lane road.

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Neither very good options, but we wanted IL to make it easy to see Kentucky. We did get to use an old style gas pump in Tower Island, IL. They had a friendly, air conditioned building to relax in while we ate our snacks too!

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The last city in Illinois was Cairo. It is billed as being historic, but it should be “history” as it has more in common with its namesake in Egypt. I’d guess 50% of the buildings on the main drag were abandoned or half destroyed. My wife found it creepy, so we kept moving.

Kentucky was my second new state of the trip and we both loved KY-123.

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Just after we got into Kentucky, we found this giant cross on a hill south of Wickliffe. It’s the tallest point around, so it is easily seen for miles. It made for a neat picture:


Click on this picture to read the story. It is interesting how the first cross was put up in 1937, a new site was purchased in 1989, started building in 1994, and finished in 2000.


It was easily the best road of the entire day. We found some rain clouds in KY!


They dumped short bursts of rain on us which was extremely refreshing - like running through a sprinkler. After the second dousing, we were looking around for more. We only got rained on three times today for about a minute each. Not nearly enough to combat the crazy, riding into a hair dryer heat down here.


Unfortunately Kentucky was short, and we found ourselves in Tennessee on TN-78/79 (third new state!)


Both were almost worse than IL-3. Super straight two lane roads, but in very good condition. The TN roads were in good shape, so we rated them higher than IL. Again, my wife had trouble staying awake. Neither IL or TN had the route near the river.

Gas in TN was a fiasco. There were problems with the pumps in Tiptonville and everyone was forced to go into see the cashier rather than paying at the pump. A couple pumps were also out of service without a sign, so you didn’t figure it out until it sent you in to see the attendant. Then move to a new pump and go back in. Annoying. We couldn’t wait to get of TN.

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We crossed the Mississippi again back into MO on I-155 and then met up with US-61 which is the route on the west side. A quick blast down the road and we found ourselves in Arkansas. AR is my fourth new state of the trip! We are stopped in Blytheville, AR for the night because it is cheap! Most of the AR side is again US-61, so we’re going to cut over again to the Memphis side in the morning and then try Mississippi.

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We rode 335 miles today over five states: MO, IL, KY, TN, MO, and AR. Sorry, not many pictures because it was a pretty boring ride through some really remote farm fields.

Site Update: If you’re reading this on facebook, email, or in a reader, you may not have noticed some changes to the website: http://everydayriding.org. I have Google latitude running to show my current location as we go (upper right side of page). It works as long as we have a data connection and is usually updated every fifteen minutes. The flickr photostream is also on the top which shows the current photos I’ve uploaded. During the day I usually upload a couple from my phone as we travel.

Full Flickr Album here




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  1. Wow it's too bad about the boring roads! My daughter has been known to fall asleep while on the back...it can happen!! I know exactly what you mean about the refreshing rain...I used to dread it up north but now love a good cool off on a steaming hot day. I don't know if the weather is ever going to cool off down here, it's been in the 90's and 100's for months!! Hey you are in my home state...although I didn't spend much time there, I was born in Arkansas! So I am really a southern girl! I love the sunlit cross and the flowers are always pretty!
    Have a great night and ride safe!!

  2. Thanks for the wave!

    There is a surprising amount of things to do and see in St. Louis. It came as a surprise when I moved here. Over the last twenty years the place has really grown on me. The summers not so much, but the winters are mostly like a Michigan spring.

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of trip.


  3. Eve: LOL about your daughter. Reminds me of a story a co-worker told me about his five-year old and a kid seat he had for his bike. His kid kept falling asleep, so they duct-taped his legs to the seat one day.

    Yes, way to hot, and the rain is soo refreshing. Neither of us have been to AR, so it's nice to go to a new state for the first time!

    Keith: I know what you mean. The last time we were there, we spent most of a day at the sculpture gardens walking around. It would have been nice to see the conservatory again too, but likely too hot inside for humans. St. Louis in March/April sounds nice. :)

  4. Dom: yea, the great river road is faster roads down here. Just entered mississippi :)

  5. Those gas pumps must have been annoying, but the rain showers welcoming. Funny, its normally the other way around! I am enjoying reading about your river ride. Keep nudging your wife to stay awake!

  6. Gary: The pumps weren't bad once I figured them out. Just different. Normally, I don't like going into the gas stations, but with the heat. We both enjoy it. I was teasing her she should ride with one boot off, so I could tickle her foot randomly. She didn't like that idea.

  7. I would love these long, isolated roads. I do my best thinking when on them.

    I'm wondering now if your Google tracking makes my "Spot" superflous. I'm goin to have to look into that. Interesting... I'm enjoying the trip!

  8. Sharon: I like them too. I was dreaming of them when I was stuck in traffic yesterday. Got a few more of them today. It was nice.

    Google Latitude uses the GPS in your phone. It works quite well. I nearly bought a SPOT until I found that app.