Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grand Rivers, KY to Dover, TN - 50 miles

Today's ride brings us to our twelveth state [Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee]. My, how the miles have just rolled on by! There are only 18 more riding days! This trip has gone so quickly.

 Rode by some interesting historical markers. This one talks about the Grand Rivers Furnace, built in 1890-91 that could produce 45,000 tones of iron a year.
 Kentucky was a major producer of iron since the 1790's. It is amazing how much I didn't learn in school.
 Then it was into the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Beautiful, just beautiful.
Andrew Jackson Smith (September 3, 1843 – March 4, 1932) was a Union Army soldier during the Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Honey Hill.
According to family history, Smith was born into slavery, the son of Susan, a slave, and Elijah Smith, a slave owner. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Elijah Smith joined the Confederate military, with the intention of taking 19-year-old Andrew along with him. When Andrew Smith learned of this, he and another slave ran away, walking 25 miles (40 km) through the rain before presenting themselves to a Union Army regiment, the 41st Illinois Infantry, in Smithland, Kentucky.

Smith was nominated for the Medal of Honor in 1916, but the Army denied the nomination, citing a lack of official records documenting his case. Smith's commander at Honey Hill had not included an account of Smith's actions in the official battle report. It was not until January 16, 2001, 137 years after the Battle of Honey Hill, that Smith was recognized; President  Bill Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to several of Smith's descendants during a ceremony at the White House on that day. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was also posthumously awarded the medal at the same ceremony, for his actions during the Spanish-American War.

Smith's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, distinguished himself on 30 November 1864 by saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during a bloody charge called the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina. In the late afternoon, as the 55th Regiment pursued enemy skirmishers and conducted a running fight, they ran into a swampy area backed by a rise where the Confederate Army awaited. The surrounding woods and thick underbrush impeded infantry movement and artillery support. The 55th and 54th regiments formed columns to advance on the enemy position in a flanking movement. As the Confederates repelled other units, the 55th and 54th regiments continued to move into flanking positions. Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the 55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire. Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy. Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment, and the United States Army.
Then it was onto the Golden Pond Visitor Center, Land Between the Lakes, KY.
 I had just started looking at the exhibits when I learned that one of our riders, Sue V. had fallen from the tandem that she and her husband Merle V ride, so I was off to get the vehicle and render what assistance I could.
 The Trigg County EMS arrived swiftly and tended to Sue V's injuries.
 Life Flight was called because the EMS could not fully determine the severity of her injuries and she was taken to the hospital for further examination and treatment.
  Rich G has taken Merle V to Paducah, KY to rent a car and be with Sue. I haven't gotten an update yet as to her condition.
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
During the Civil War of the 1860's, Union Forces were heading south to fight the Confederacy. Fort Donelson was key because of its location on the Cumberland River. Donelson was captured by the Union in 1862; it was their first major victory of the Civil War. With the fort under Union control they now had a door open to the Confederacy; setting the state for invasion of the south and eventual capture of the Mississippi River Valley.


Battle Summary:

Campaign: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)
Date(s): February 11-16, 1862
Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote [US]; Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow, and Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buckner [CS]
Forces Engaged: Army in the Field [US]; Fort Donelson Garrison [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 17,398 total (US 2,331; CS 15,067)
Description: After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, after the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s investment lines, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. This was a major victory for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a catastrophe for the South. It ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning the nom de guerre “Unconditional Surrender.”
Result(s): Union victory 

 Dover Hotel - site of unconditional surrender of General Buckner to General Grant on Feb 16, 1862.

 We are staying at the Dover Inn Motel.

Tomorrow we are off to Hurricane Mills, KY.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Elizabethtown, IL to Grand Rivers, KY - 66 miles

Today we travelled from Elizabethtown, IL, across the Ohio River on a free ferry and rode into Grand Rivers, KY. It was a beautiful ride. We are now in out eleventh state [Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky].

 A view from the ferry leaving Illinois crossing the Ohio River.
 Looking back toward Illinois from the deck of the ferry.
 The view west along the Ohio River with Illinois on the left and Kentucky on the right.
 The Ohio River from Carrsville, Kentucky Community Center. A summer resident of the town of Carrsville (Pop. 64) opened up the community center and allowed the riders use the facilities and relax before continuing on their journey.
The road we are riding, Kentucky Route 135 is on the original Trail of Tears.
The Trail of Tears was the relocation and movement of Native American nations from the southeastern part of the present-day U.S. It has been described as an act of genocide by some modern historians. The removal included many members of the Choctaw (1831), Seminole (1832), Creek  (1834), Chickasaw (1837) and Cherokee (1838) nations among others, from their homelands to Indian Territory (eastern sections of the present-day state of Oklahoma). The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831. Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while on route to their destinations, and many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee. Below are two maps that illustrate the trail.

I think I am going to have to plan a bike trip tracing the Trail of Tears.

The scenery continues to amaze me.
 As we left the town of Birdsville, KY, I found this historical marker out in the middle of the median at the junction of KY Rtes 137 and 60. 
Lucy Jefferson Lewis (October 10, 1752–1811), was the sister of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and the wife of Charles Lilburn Lewis.
Born in Albemarle County, VA, she was the eighth of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson's 10 children. Jefferson married her first cousin, Charles Lilburn Lewis, on September 12, 1769. The couple eventually had eight children: Randolph, Isham, Jane Jefferson, Lilburn, Mary Randolph, Lucy B., Martha, and Ann (Nancy). The family, moved to Livingston County, KY sometme around 1807.They built an estate called "Rocky Hill" near the present-day town of Smithland, KY. Thomas Jefferson took an interest in the education of her sons. However, her sons Lilburn and Isham Lewis brutally murdered a slave, which brought the entire family into disrepute when the murder came to light because of the collapse of a chimney during the second New Madrid earthquakes. These earthquakes remain the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit the eastern United States in recorded history. The four quakes are estimated to have been around a 7.0 each.
Lucy Jefferson Lewis died in 1811. She was buried on the grounds of the estate, but the estate is now in ruins and her grave is lost. This granite marker next to the Historical Marker gives directions to her gravesite.
 Also in the median of the junction of KY Rtes 137 and 60 was this grave stone marking the grave of LT COL John Montgomery in 1794.

Colonel John Montgomery (c. 1748–1794) was an early American soldier, settler, and explorer. He is credited with founding the city of Clarksville, Tennessee, and the county of Montgomery County, Tennessee is named for him.

He was born into a Scottish family which immigrated to Virginia in the 17th century. In 1771, Montgomery first entered the area of the Cumberland River. During the American Revolutionary War, Montgomery served under George Rogers Clark during his Illinois campaign. Under Clark's orders, Montgomery led an expedition against several Indian tribes to prevent the British from gathering them to attack Kentucky. In 1784, Montgomery purchased the land at the confluence of the Cumberland and Red Rivers for 100 British pounds and founded Clarksville, Tennessee.

Montgomery was killed near Eddy Creek, Kentucky (20 miles south) on November 27, 1794, by an Indian ambush while hunting.
 View of the Cumberland River entering into Grand Rivers, KY.

We are staying at America's Best Value Inn, Grand Rivers, KY.

Tomorrow we are off to Dover, TN.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Carbondale, IL to Elizabethtown, IL - 70 miles

Today we are off to Elizabethtown, IL where my roommate Marnie R has friends and she is hosting a Fish Fry tonight! There is even supposed to be some Brats for someone who is not a fan of fish! Guess who that is?? :-)
Everyone is excited.
We are staying at 2 B & B's, the River Rose B & B and the Grand Rose Hotel - an Illinois state historic site built about 1830 - as well at a private house since lodging is so limited. The Fish Fry is at the gazebo by the river. It is going to be a lot of fun. There is literally no more room at the inn, so I am staying with Marnie R at her friend Nancy's house about 12 miles away.
The Grand Rose Hotel B & B
Built in 1914 in a picturesque rivertown, the River Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast is unique with spectacular views of the Ohio River. This was the lovely historic home of Ed Wall, a direct descendant of James McFarland, who founded and named the town after his wife, Elizabeth in 1812.
Elizabethtown is a village in Hardin County, IL along the Ohio River. The population is about 350. 
The American frontier lacked an adequate infrastructure for the shelter and hospitality of travelers. Many states and territories, including Illinois, tried to deal with this problem by merging the right to sell whiskey by the drink with the duty to provide beds for travelers. A frontier establishment that sold whiskey by the drink and provided lodging services was called a tavern. The oldest wing of the Rose Hotel was operated as a frontier Ohio River tavern in the 1830s. It is believed to have been built by James McFarland (1776-1837), and was known as the McFarland Tavern or McFarlan Tavern.

The Elizabethtown tavern was aimed at river flatboats and light cargo vessels passing up and down the Ohio River. Prior to the invention of the railroad, rivers like the Ohio were the primary routes for the transportation of mixed and package freight throughout the North American interio
Elizabethtown was named after James McFarland's wife. The oldest Baptist church in Illinois is also located in Elizabethtown.

A view of the Ohio River from the Gazebo between the two B & Bs in Elizabethtown, IL.
"Rosie", a rescue, is now a formal greeter of guests at the River Rose B & B.
The historic Rose Hotel placque.

The Ohio River is beautiful. It is so hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, she was over her banks and had flooded all the way to the front door of the River Rose B & B. The pictures the owners, Bruce and Sue, showed us were amazing.
 Another view of the Ohio River from the grounds of the Grand Rose Hotel.
 A huge 3 x 5 barge [three barges wide and five barges long] makes its way up river fully loaded with coal.
 A view from the gazebo down to the floating restaurant.
 The riders all dig in at the fish fry feast hosted by Marnie R and her friends (bottom right).
 If anyone left hungry it was their own fault! Fried catfish, hush puppies, green beans & potatoes, corn, fresh tomatoes, homemade peach cobbler and chess pie and some brats for the non fish eater in the group! There was enough to feed an army! It was delicious!
Bill K, Rich G and Mike (Marnie's husband) catch up over some wonderful food!
 Sue M, Yvonne, Nancy, and Louise enjoy some of the great food!
Jeff M, Vicki L and Paul G seem to be enjoying the meal.
 Kudos to the cooks -- Al and Roy!! Awesome job!

With sated bellies we all wandered off to slumber! I at Nancy's house with a group of absolutely wonderful animals.
I got to sleep with the couch potato dog -- "Molly by Golly" - a Pit Bull rescue. Once she parked herself on the bed she wasn't moving, so we compromised -- she got all the middle and I squeezed in on the edge. She was so much fun. She is an older dog, but she still has puppy dreams. She ran and barked and played. I suspect she was up and down the trail a few times last night. It was great to spend some time with such a great animal. I want a pet so bad, but I know that my lifestyle does not allow one, so I live vicariously through the pets of friends.

Marnie R also got to spend some quality with her pet, "Ida" a Jack Russell/Corgie mix, who is vacationing with friends while her mom pedals across the country.

Tomorrow we are off to Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chester, IL to Carbondale, IL - 55 miles

We are heading to Carbondale, IL, home of Southern Illinois Uninversity (SIU). Their mascot is a Saluki. One of many famous "Salukis" is Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
Frazier became one of the premier collegiate basketball players in the country. He was named a Division II All-American in 1964 and 1965. In 1965, Frazier led SIU to the NCAA Division II Tournament only to lose in the finals to Evansville, IL 85-82 in overtime. In 1966, he was academically ineligible for basketball.
In 1967, with Frazier playing at point guard, SIU won the National Invitatitional Tournament (NIT), beating Marquette University 71-56. Frazier was named MVP of the 1967 tournament.
Frazier was selected by the NY Knicks in the 1976 NBA Draft as the 5th pick and played for them during which time he picked up the nickname "Clyde" because he wore a similar hat to  Warren Beatty who played Clyde Barrow in the 1967 movie "Bonnie &Clyde." He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1968. He was an NBA All-Star seven times (and was named MVP of the 1975 NBA All-Star Game), was named to the All-NBA First Team four times, the All-NBA Second Team twice, and the All-Defensive First Team seven times. With Frazier, the Knicks captured the NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973. After 10 years in New York, Frazier ended his career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Walt Frazier's #10 jersey was retired by the NY Knicks on December 15, 1979.
In 1987, Walt Frazier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame along with Pete Maravich and Rick Barry.
In 1996, he was elected to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

A real hero was Carbondale Resident, John Alexander Logan, Jr., a U.S. Army officer; who was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Philippine-American War.
Medal of Honor 1862-1869 Version

Rank and Organization: Major, 33d Infantry, U.S. Volunteers.
Place and Date: At San Jacinto, Philippine Islands, November 11, 1899.
Entered Service At: Youngstown, Ohio.
Born: July 24, 1865, Carbondale, Ill.
Date of Issue: May 3, 1902.
For most distinguished gallantry in leading his battalion upon the entrenchments of the enemy, on which occasion he fell mortally wounded.

Tomorrow we are off to Elizabethtown, IL and a Fish Fry being hosted by my roommate Marnie R.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

St. Louis, MO to Chester, IL - 63 miles

Chester is the "Home of Popeye," where a six-foot, 900 lb. bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man stands in the Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park, which also honors Popeye's creator, Elzie Segar. The park is located next to the Chester Bridge. Several of Mr. Segar's characters were created from experiences with people of Chester. Chester's big event is its annual Popeye Picnic and parade, held the weekend after Labor Day. Popeye fans travel from all over the United States and the world to partake in the weekend activities. Most of the events and entertainment are free and family friendly.
New statues honoring the other Thimble Theater characters are added each year. This character trail is spread throughout Chester and to date includes:
"Popeye the Sailor Man"

"J. Wellington Wimpy" (2006)
"Olive Oyl, Swee' Pea, and Jeep" (2007)
"Bluto" (2008)
"Castor Oyl and Whiffle Hen" (2009)
"Sea Hag" (2010)
Chester was also the filming location of scenes from the 1967 movie "In the Heat of the Night", the 1993 movie "The Fugitive", and the 1994 film documentary "Hoop Dreams".

The ride to Chester was not all that long, however it was definitely hot. The heat wave and the National Weather Service Advisory is still on and is not expected to be cancelled until possibly Thursday night...that is what they said last week...only time will tell.
The town is right on the Mississippi River and the Chester Bridge is interesting and the river scenery is beautiful.
We are staying at Reid's Inn Best Western

Tomorrow we are off to Carbondale, IL.