Just a Day Ride
But what a Day Ride It Was
Fall-----November 12th, 2011
I do days rides all the time---but never write
about them--but did this one.
My loose plan ????
This summer the corps of engineers blew up a levee in Missouri Just South of Cairo, Illinois to lower water levels in
the Mississippi to keep the levee from breaking in Cairo, Illiois and burying the old town in 20 ft. of water.
A lot of controversy was going on to do this-----would the levee break if they didn't.
Would it break anyway ??? What about all the farms and farmland it would wipe out ???
It was a really big deal---and one summer night they blew the levee up.
After the waters receeded---they started to re-build the levee.
I couldn't take it anymore---I had to go see
what was going on and wondered if I could sneak into the area without being
But-----I would find so much more on this simple day ride.
This day ride took me from Illinois into Missouri---back into Illinois---back into Missouri---into Kentucky and back into Illinois.
Confused ???? Hold my beer and watch this
On My way I made a sidetrip to ride the new
Husky TE310 at Grassroots BMW in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Thanks for the test ride guys.
Then back into Illinois----then South onto I-57 to cross the Mississippi river into Missouri.
There are 3 bridges near Cairo, Illinois crossing
the Mississipp and Ohio rivers.
This one on route 60 is closed for repairs.
I took the first exit I could when I got into missouri and followed any dirt road I could to the South side of the closed bridge
which is where I got on the Levee they blew up and traveled East on the Levee..
This is called the birds point levee and I
got on it here---amongst a stream of huge 10 wheel dump trucks working out here.
There was an open gate---no sign----but I wasn't sure if I was suppose to be out on the levee.
Some levees along the Mississippi are open for traffic -----others are not.
I asked 3 truck drivers If it was OK to be out here and all I got from all 3 is---"I'm just driving my truck---I don't know"
So I took off out here and was going to use the excuse that there was no sign !!!
Or----I'm old and lost--can you help me ????
I had to jump off the original levee (to the
left) and what you see to the right is where they blew it up and are now rebuilding
It was muddy down here---I parked my bike in the soft dirt and mud and it blew over.
Crap---------I wasn't suppose to be out here--nobody was around (yet)---and I couldn't pick up my bike---crap.
As I was taking this picture it fell over---the
wind was at least 40mph and I couldn't pick it back up---crap.
I'm not sure how much they blew up---maybe a mile of it--I don't know ????
Finally a big strong truck driver saw me down
there and thought I had crashed at 70 mph and went to see if I was OK.
I told him it was a horrific crash, but I was unhurt and---"would you help me pick up my bike" ???
He did and said he was on a schedule and took off----I asked him if it was OK to be in here and he said---
"The Feds are just around the corner and your about to find out "
I zoomed way in with my camera from far away----
watching for the Feds to come after me.
I didn't hang around long--but there were 150 million dollars worth of trucks, excavators, earth movers hard at work probably burning up
a million dollars worth of diesal a day. Who's gonna pay for that I wondered.
Dumbasses---they don't have enough money to build the levee back to it's original height--why even do anything ?????
I got past the blown up part and rode for
miles on the levee with rich farmland to the West of me--which had been flooded
earlier in the year.
You'll never catch me now----copper.
There was a huge hulabalew about ruining the
farmland when they blew the levee---but they seemed to be making a harvest--this
all confused me.
What I had no idea you could do as I'd never
tried to----from where I got on the levee just across the river South of Cairo--you
can ride on the levee
for a good 30 miles to the Hickman ferry. It was awesome.
The lower road you see if for farmland access.
This house had all it could take of the flood.
You can see the muddy water marks on the overturned----farm thingys ???? Hey, I ain't no farmer !!!
What ????? It's the Mississippi for Christ
I got to get across.
I saw travis Prastrana go across water on
a bike with 50 horsepower----I got 98 !!!!!
I hit the cold Mississippi water at 122 mph--and when she slowed to 8.2mph
I knew I was done for.
I was going down.
Or if you don't believe that-----I took the ferry.
The Hickman Ferry which takes would take me
from Missouri to Kentucky.
I had plans over there to see Chalk Bluff---but would find much more---much more.
I had marked this place called Chalk Bluff into my gps year ago--but hadn't been there.
I it was a last second decision to go on this
I pushed the right buttons on my wife and she said----"Ain't You got somewhere to go" ???? always works for me.
It was 5 O'clock in the morning when I decided
to go riding---I knew it was useless to call my local buddies to go---so I didn't.
They wouldn't be out of bed for another 3-4 hrs.
The Little town of Hickman was a really neat
small old river town with lots of history and old buildings--some high on a
far above the flooding river waters.
Some towns are smart and build out of the flood waters.
Some are dumber than a dirt clod and build levees and a town behind them.
It is so fruitless to try to harness mother nature---she will bite you in the ass----again and again.
This is all at the taxpayers expense mind you.
The school was smartly built on this really cool high bluff overlooking the very mighty Mississippi.
The original townsite was down at the river
and completly washed away in the 1927 flood---so the government moved the
town up the bluff----which I understand is the first time that had been done.
I am now heading North ---right along the
river as close as the road will let me towards my waypoint "Chalk Bluff".
I re-routed many times keeping close to the river and ran into something I never knew existed in Northwest Kentucky----Kudzu.
The plant from hell------when it gets going you can't kill it and it smothers everything and even kills trees.
I've seen lots of it in Mississippi but was appalled to see it here. And it went on for miles and miles.
The stuff is actually very pretty-----weird looking-----but pretty.
This road was high above the river to my left and West and I would occassionally get a glimpse of it.
When a freeze (frost) hits this stuff it will
turn an ugly brown overnight and that's it for it until next year when It will
the Blob in that old movie---devouring everything in it's path.
This river road is all one lane---and goes
from paved to dirt many times.
Nobody is out here except me.There are almost no houses.
I am always watching for maiboxes--when there is a mailbox there are people and the chance of someone
pulling out in front of you----one of my safety turd techniques.
Hows this for a fine ride. Miles and miles.
I tried---but Chalk bluff was buried and smothered
in Kudzu-------I rode on before it got me too !!!!
It was creepin' in on me---I could feel it moving !!!
There is no way you could walk thru this stuff.
We have the Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky
It is by far my favorite as it is almost completely devoid of people and traffic.
Now here is what you run into on the "Road
And old abandoned water tower---with a huge clock on top---next to the new water tower.
I was astounded by the sight of this clock-----it
was huge--something like you might see in Paris or something ?????
Here in little O, Columbus, Kentucky.
They obviously dismanted the water tank and put this clock up there--man was it neat.
All the while the Kudzu was creeping up it.
And look---the South 2 legs go thru the roof of the building----what the heck ??????
A little design error I'd say----------ooooops.
I'm old----my grandpa's old cuckoo clock was
powered with weights hanging in the clock.
The weight of the weights would power the clock mechanism.
Look at those 2 weights haning down---do they power this clock ????--did they not have any double AA Alkaline batteries ????
Those weights were as big as a torpedo.
I googled this marvleous structure and came up empty.
I have got to know the story behind this piece of engineering.
Looking at it now---I bet the steel stucture of the clock was closed in at one time to keep wind off
But wait----there's more in Columbus, Missouri.
Look like an ole' jail to me---not that I've even been in one. Was it ?????
A one hole'er on the left and a 2 hole'er
on the right. They had to let you out to pee.
Notice there is one inmate still in the left cell.
Listen---I'm a plumber and have seen this
before---you've probably never heard of an automatic toilet flush valve.
No not the infra-red battery powered ones you seen everywhere-----a mechanical one.
The toilet seat is held up slightly with a spring----then you sit on it and do your thing
---when you get up the seat goes back up and mechanically flushes the toilet.
An old plumbing shop I used to work for had a display in the window of old plumbing fixures so I've seen these before-------pretty
simple if you ask me---just ask.
This ole' boy had one to many I guess.
And this guy too.
Holy smokes----look at all the neat stuff
I bet I stopped and took my helmet off a hundred times today to look at stuff.
No wonder I can't get nowhere.
Right on a high Bluff in Columbus Kentucky---a lot of history here.
I was here for an hour looking at all the
cannons and beautiful scenery and reading about all the history that took place
It was getting late and on day rides like this I try to get home before dark. It was a couple hours before dark and I was in Kentucky.
I just relaxed and gave up on getting home in the daylight and took it all in.
I don't do things in a hurry.
The sun was going down----it looked like rain
all day but it didn't.
And lo and behold after going just a few more miles North toward Cairo, Illinois I find more stuff---what is going on ?????
So much stuff----in one day ??????
Again----this was high on a bluff above the mighty Mississippi just South of Wickliffe, Ky. I think ??
At the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
My last picture I took as I crossed the Ohio river on hwy. 51 back into Cairo, Illinois
I would slide into my driveway, tired, cold,
dirty, hungry and plumb wore out.
But my eyes brightened as my wife and my little dog JoJo were staring out the back door at me--waiting patiently.
And a hot bowl of homeade chili was awaiting me.
After dinner-----I said come here honey "wanna back scratch" ?? Actually I got one.
And then "come here JoJo---go get a toy and let's play Ruuuuuuuuufffffff !!!.
I played a few tunes on my guitar and fell fast asleep with it in my lap---with a smile on my face.