Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 94 ~ Cave In Rock

Early Morning on the Ohio ~ A Tug Pushing a Barge of Coal

Fluorite is the Official Illinois State Mineral. The museum was closed but we still managed to buy a small sample at the antique store in Rosiclare. Something like almost 50 % is mined here in Hardin County. It is use in the production of steel. Currently there is not a huge demand therefore no new mines have been dug.

Double click on this picture to read this interesting information about the Ohio River.

Mike finds a place to have a quiet moment to himself.

Mommy and Gregory find some treasures.

Gregory and I had a great time exploring the banks of the Ohio.

Loretta gave us a bag for our treasures and Gregory made a new friend, Daisy.

We had a nice visit with Loretta and Jerry (and Daisy) at their ideal RV site along the Ohio.

Mike gives a wave from in front of Cave-In-Rock former home to river pirates and robbers.

Gregory and I pose for the camera.

Outside the cave entrance are hundreds of mud bird nests...swallows Mike thinks.

In the background is the ferry going back and forth between Kentucky and Illinois. The ferry is free and is a part of the highway system. We will take this in a few days when the bike is fixed.

Our cozy fire for our marshmallow roast with Bruce

Date: October 21, 2009
From: Elizabethtown, Illinois
To: Elizabethtown, Illinois (Drive to Rosiclare and Cave In Rock)
Miles Today: 0 miles
TOTAL MILES: 2, 616 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: High of 70 degrees, clear blue skies and breezy
License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois
Flats: 8
Broken Spokes: 3
Cracked Rim: 1

First order of business today was to bring Bruce's car over to the shop in Rosiclare. While his neighbor Buddy worked on the car we walked down to the Ohio River and explored the banks. (We had hoped to go to the Fluorite Museum too but it was closed on Wednesdays.) Gregory and I collected all kinds of small shells and nuts and seed pods. We also saw lots of ladybugs, a large grasshopper and a few catfish skeletons to boot. Meanwhile, Mike found a nice log to sit on and look out over the river. He eventually got on the phone to talk with a friend out in California. With hands full Gregory and I decided to walk up river to the RV parking and see if we could find someone who would give us a bag for our treasures. We then had the pleasure of meeting Loretta and Jerry from Marshall, Illinois just 175 miles north of Rosiclare. Gregory became fast friends with their dog Daisy and yes they did have a bag for us.

Meanwhile, Mike came looking for us but assumed we went back down the main street to the antique store we'd passed earlier that didn't open until 10:00 A.M. When he didn't find us there he came back down to the river and found us still chatting with Loretta and Jerry. We visited for quite some time and though Gregory was trying to be patient we could tell he wanted to go back and explore the antique store.

We had fun poking around in the antique store where Gregory purchased a couple of small pieces of purple fluorite, the official Illinois mineral. He also found a necklace for his friend Lexi who is back in California watching our kitty, Rosemary. Still waiting on a call from Buddy (the mechanic) we took our time and visited with several folks telling them about our adventure. Even when we aren't in Lycra and on the triple we still end up sharing our story with everyone we meet. We obviously aren't locals but during the week we've still managed to meet most everyone in Elizabethtown and a few in neighboring Rosiclare! Bruce later commented that we knew more people than he did (I'm sure he was just joking of course) because he doesn't get out much running the B & B.

After we picked up the car we drove to Cave-In-Rock where we will cross over into Kentucky on the ferry when we finally get our bike back up and running. We were told we should eat at Gee Jay's Restaurant and we figured we'd check out the cave today so that when we arrive on bike we can just hop on the ferry. We arrived at Gee Jay's around 1:30P.M. and it looked like she'd been hit pretty hard by the lunch crowd since all of the tables needed to be either bused or wiped. We found a relatively clean table near the window and checked out the fluorite pieces on display while waiting for menus. The service was slow but the waitress was as pleasant as can be and took time to chat with us a bit. We noticed frog legs on the menu and tried to get Gregory to order them put he wasn't going for it. Mike mentioned he'd caught and eaten them when he was in Scouts but he wasn't ordering any either. No, I wasn't brave. We did all trying deep fried turnips though and they were pretty tasty. Gregory had his "No Thank You Bite" but quickly washed it down with some of the best homemade lemonade I've tasted. I was sorry I'd ordered the iced tea after I tasted it. Anyhow, the deep fried veggies are served complimentary. After you order they come around with a tray of turnips, squash, tomatoes, etc. for folks to try. Unfortunately for us they were out of the fried tomatoes.

After lunch we headed about a quarter of a mile up the road to Cave-In-Rock State Park. This enormous cave on the Ohio River is quite remarkable. We were a bit awe struck when first seeing the size of it. (I was also saddened by all of the graffiti on the walls.) "The earliest written record of the Cave is in 1729 recorded by the French and was a hideout for various killers, pirates, robbers and a gang of counterfeiters." (J.M. Coles Postcards) The early settlers and explorers would see this cave hole as they went down the River. Apparently the robbers would lure folks in off the river with the promise of food and drink and once in the cave they would murder their unsuspecting victims and rob them. Our Innkeeper Bruce and Wesley Donovan (whom Gregory and I met at the forest service office) both told us about a reenactment they recently did at the cave for a promotional DVD for the area. They both posed as the robbers and did just this to their victims. They then floated them down the river face first.

We got back from our cave exploration in time for Mike to put one final coat on the back of Bruce's garage. It turned out great and I'm sure Bruce's wife Sue will be pleased when she pulls into the garage on her return from visiting her grandchildren in California. I was just tuckered out and so after reading a chapter or two of Huckleberry Finn to Gregory I took a little nap.

Bruce promised Gregory he'd join us for a marshmallow roast, so around 7:30P.M. he stoked up a fire in his outdoor fireplace. We sat overlooking the Ohio River on this beautiful evening and watched the flicker of the fire as we visited and roasted up over a dozen marshmallows. The temperature outside was just perfect (cool but not too cold) and we almost hated to go in for the evening. Bruce went in to do his chores and Gregory went in to get ready for bed so Mike and I had a few moments to ourselves on this memorable evening.

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