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Old 10-14-2011, 07:33 AM   #1
BrittC OP
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Indiana, Kentucky, and a Tennessee Battlefield

Each year my friend Lane and I put together a three day motorcycle trip, and with the warm weather winding down for 2011 I decided that we needed to get plans in the works. A few emails back and forth and we agreed to head south in hopes the weather would be warmer than up north. As usual, we wanted to avoid expressways as much as possible and stick mainly to the more interesting country roads.


The trip that we came up with included the rural back roads of Southern Indiana and Kentucky, and then dipping into northern Tennessee to enter the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. From there we would head home through the seemingly endless farmlands of Illinois.


I left my house at 5:45 on Saturday morning. The temperature was 44 degrees but it felt great to be out on nearly empty roads on the dawn of a brisk fall morning.





The plan was to meet up with Lane for breakfast in Frankfort, IL at the Waffle House that was shown on Google Maps. When I arrived, there was no stinkin' Waffle House to be found. I stopped at a gas station to review my options and saw Lane ride by looking for it as I'd just done. I maneuvered in behind him, got his attention, and we pulled into a nearby Denny's to eat.





With full stomachs and energized by caffeine, we set out south on I-57 to make good time out of the area.











We continued south to Danville, IL and turned east towards Indiana. Because it was early October, the leaves were just beginning to change colors...














We passed through Hoopeston, IL and the immature side of me had to laugh at the sign showing "Go Cornjerkers!"





We crossed into Indiana under cloudy skies.





The skies began to clear up as we worked our way southeast.








Because I have GPS navigation on my bike, this would be my view of Lane as he followed me for much of the trip. His next bike will have GPS and then I can follow him!
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:34 AM   #2
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Moving south the weather continued to warm up and the skies continued to clear.









We passed by Indiana State University.





We continued southeast and rode on some really great roads. Many were too twisty to safely take pictures of, but the riding was great.




















We ended up in an extremely rural area with our gas tanks running low and the GPS showing no gas stations for many miles. We happened upon a small restaurant and a nice family gave us directions to a gas station around 5 miles away. The GPS is not nearly as helpful out in the boonies as it is in more populated areas. We made it to the gas station with Lane's Harley practically running on fumes. But the point was that we made it!


At this point we decided we should make time south so that the following day would not be too much work. Our goal for the evening was Owensboro, Kentucky.










We passed through Tell City Indiana which sits on the Ohio River.





Riding west we could catch glimpses of the river.





Finally we stopped for a break at a small park on the Ohio River.














Apparently a lot of coal is moved on the Ohio river. We will soon learn where it is going...





Continuing west we passed the Rockport Generating Station in Rockport Indiana. Sure looks like a nuclear plant but it is actually coal fired, which explains the coal barges on the river. The smoke stack in the picture is 1,038 feet tall.





This is how coal gets to the plant from the river.














We take a turn towards the south to cross the river into Owensboro, KY.




















We stopped at a couple of hotels in Owensboro and decided that the downtown hotels were flea traps. Riding south and out of the downtown area we found a nice Super 8 for the night. Tiffany gave us good room rates and we checked in.





My room was quite acceptable for the price.





While at the hotel we met a group of GoldWing riders on their way from Peoria,IL to the Smoky Mountains. Sure wished we had the time to join them...





By the way, if you have never had dinner at a Ryan's all you can eat buffet in Kentucky, I highly recommend you give it a try. Or not.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #3
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After a good nights sleep, we were up and on the road early in the morning.














Here we crossed two rivers with one bridge. The Rough River and the Green River.
















Central City, Kentucky.

















We crossed into Tennessee and rode past Fort Campbell. You can almost make out the Tennessee sign on the right side of the road.






Barbed wire around Fort Campbell.






A landfill at Fort Campbell.





We approached the town of Dover, Tennessee which sits on the edge of the Cumberland River. I was surprised at the size of this river that I'd never heard of.




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Old 10-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #4
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We happened to notice signs for a Civil War battlefield in Dover so we turned into the Fort Donelson National Battlefield.





It was an unexpected treat to ride through and take in the history of the place.









Lane checking out a Confederate cannon.






They didn't want us climbing on the old earthen barriers that were still in place.








This would have been quarters for several Confederate soldiers.


I needed to hunch WAY over to fit through the door.








Along the river were several cannon emplacements.









































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Old 10-14-2011, 07:36 AM   #5
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After spending time exploring the battlefield site, we got back on the road and turned north into the Land Between the Lakes. With Kentucky Lake on the west, Lake Barkley on the east, and a canal joining them in the north, it is the largest inland peninsula in the United States.














As we rode north through the area, we came upon a giant stone structure, so I stopped to check it out.



It turned out to be The Great Western Furnace. The remains of this limestone furnace are all that is left of The Great Western Iron Works.











We hopped on the bikes and continued north, crossing back into Kentucky.








Lane following me as we ride north.





Colorful flowers were all around us.





We took a short detour to drive part of the Kentucky Lake Scenic Drive.











Kentucky Lake











Our time at Land Between the Lakes was over and we headed towards the Kentucky Dam.








We could see several power line towers in the distance so we figured we were close to the dam.







The dam is shown off to our left. It is 8,422 feet long and 206 feet high, although over half of the dam is under water.





We made a left turn and found ourselves stopped along the lake with the dam just to our left.





Lane checking out the lake.








We decided to drive over the top of the dam and check things out. At the other end is a visitors center with a turbine on display in the parking lot.





Turning around we made another run over the dam, and I snapped pictures this time.














This picture shows the gates that can be raised or lowered.














Another view of the dam from the nearby bridge.





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Old 10-14-2011, 07:37 AM   #6
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Our next goal for the day was to get back into Illinois. An employee at the hotel recommended crossing into Illinois on the ferry that would take us to Cave In Rock, Illinois. So that's where we headed after lunch at Subway.








This shows my GPS directing me to the ferry. First time I've seen the GPS direct me towards a boat instead of a road.



The road to the ferry was very cool. Recently paved, very smooth, and some nice hills.











At the end of the road, a small line of cars waits for the ferry.





We get on the ferry after only a few minutes, and we're on the Ohio River. The boat that moves the ferry pulls it from the ramp and swings around to tie on alongside the ferry.











And we pull away from Kentucky, headed for Illinois.



That's Illinois behind Lane.



That would be Kentucky behind me.





Our fearless Captain of the Loni Jo.



Getting closer to Illinois.











The ferry pulls into Cave In Rock, Illinois which is a town I've never heard of. We're told there is a huge cave along the river that is large enough for boats to maneuver inside of when the water is high. When the water is low, families explore the cave. I'll have to come back to check it out, but on this day our time was running short.





And we're off and riding on Illinois soil.





Naturally, we immediately see endless corn fields.





We are riding through the area during the harvest, and almost every field has tractors working on them.





We pass through Enfield Illinois.





We're out on the open road and get stuck behind a couple of riders with LOTS of leather tassels flying. You can guess the make of the bikes they're riding....





We pass through Cisne, Illinois.





The trees are starting to show their autumn colors.











By the evening, we make it to Effingham, Illinois and find rooms for the night at another Super 8. Once again, the rooms were affordable and very acceptable for a night of sleep. We take a long walk to a local Buffalo Wild Wings for a good dinner and a few beers...


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Old 10-14-2011, 07:37 AM   #7
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After a good nights sleep, we enjoy our free breakfast of fresh waffles, and we load up the bikes for the final miles to home.





We head north in great weather and lots of farmland.









While in motion I couldn't frame this shot well, but there's Lane on his Harley...





We passed through a few very small farm communities....





And we managed to avoid Champaign where traffic would surely be rough.














We passed through Kankakee, Illinois and this is where Lane split off towards his house to the west, and I continued north towards home.





I rode out of town and encountered more farm equipment.





Since I was now alone, I decided to ride a little gravel before getting home.











Back on paved roads, I made good time towards home. I decided to pass through one of my favorite areas near home, and that is Saganashkee Slough, Maple Lake, and Little Red Schoolhouse in Palos, Il.



Saganashkee Slough



Saganashkee Slough












Maple Lake



Maple Lake



Maple Lake



A few of the trees around Maple Lake were in full color.



There are a few nice curves in the area.



This is the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. It is known as the only shipping link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. It also carries Chicago's treated sewage into the Des Plaines river - though I can't imagine how this is a good thing...





This is the remnants of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, also known as the I&M Canal which ran for 96 miles from Bridgeport to LaSalle-Peru Illinois. Sections of it have been filled in and it is no longer passable for its entire length - though canoes can be used on certain sections.








On my way home I passed through Waterfall Glen forest preserve, which surrounds Argonne National Laboratory.











The lab buildings can be seen off in the distance.











From Argonne it is a quick 10 minute ride to get home, and I arrived just in time for a quick lunch an a much enjoyed nap. After 1045 great miles over three days, I was glad to be home.

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Old 10-14-2011, 08:26 AM   #8
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Nice ride report!, until you showed pictures of where I work
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirit_Rider View Post
Nice ride report!, until you showed pictures of where I work
So you must be a super secret mad scientist!
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