Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 18: Sebree, KY to Golconda, IL (78 Miles)

Today was a difficult one... not physically, but emotionally. After slowly waking up and not feeling motivated to move, we headed down to the local dairy bar for breakfast and goodbye's to Jonathan. It was really tough to see him go. I had become very comfortable with the idea of having a riding buddy, to share in the beauty and disasters on the road. It was also great to switch off drafting one another and helping each other in the little things. In any case, with a hug and wave... he was gone.

Feeling a little somber, I rode on with Chris and Chris during the morning. We kept good pace until we arrived into Clay, KY. Apparently, I must have not heard them stopping and I rode on ahead. Realizing I was alone, I stopped for a pee-break and hung out for about 5 minutes. After no signs of my friends, I reluctantly pushed on alone. It was quite the melancholy morning. It was actually cool and I wore my windbreaker throughout sections of the trip. I stopped at a Subway in Marion, KY for some luncheon and free WiFi. It turns out there's a motorcycle convention in the area, so the entire parking lot was filled with leather-clad people on Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas, BMWs, etc.

After spending a long time updating some blog stuff and slowly eating my sandwich, I packed everything up and headed north towards the Illinois border. To get out of Kentucky (which I was more than glad to do), I had to cross the Ohio River on a ferry. The ride was free, but the wait was long. After loading onto the ferry with motorcyclists giving me strange looks, we slowly floated towards Cave In Rock, Illinois. It felt great to be done with another state and the ferry ride was a refreshing break from riding across benchmarks. After some extremely tough/steep hills, I turned off to my final destination of the day (or so I thought), Tower Rock Recreation Area. When I rode down an extremely steep hill towards the site, I found a small sign reading that the campgrounds was closed due to an “ice storm.” So I'm assuming that either Illinois gets some nasty freezing rain in July or the park management is really lazy... who knows?

Climbing/cussing up the toughest hill of my trip, I turned my eyes towards Elizabethtown. Feeling exhausted from three prior substantial rides, I finally reached town only to find “No Vacancy” in either the Hotel or B&B. After talking with the sweet lady at the Rose Hotel and explaining my need for a place to stay for the evening, she called ahead to San Damiano, a Catholic retreat center outside of Golconda. She also recommended picking up a deli sandwich at the shop next door, because “there's nothing out there.” I did and feeling a little refreshed, I headed west along IL 146.

After feeling helplessly lost for about an hour, I finally found San Damiano and was given shelter in a small cabin overlooking the Ohio River. This place is both exquisite and incredibly creepy. The cabin I'm staying in features a small television that only shows static channels, a dripping sink, blinking lamps, and dark/scary colors. I'm feeling very alone right now and a bit scared. I miss home. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss my dog. I can't call anyone because Sprint doesn't have coverage for this area and there's no internet either. I just want to hear a familiar voice or read a letter from a friend. This was a difficult day...


Anne said...

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 46:9-12

Anne said...

Ooops...that's Psalm 139.

Here's a bit of the real 46:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Both are two of my favorite Psalms and I thought they would encourage you. :)

Aaron said...

Hey Blake... Sounds like a tough day... Hang in there, friend. You're doing something most can only dream about doing and raising money ans awareness for a great cause. I'm glad to hear the next day went better.
Take care,

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