Posted by: wheelsandfeet | January 7, 2011

Out of Carbondale, IL and Moving On!!!

Nicole Here: Yes, we made it – out of Carbondale, IL, that is.  Carbondale and southern Illinois treated us well, but it is time to move on.  The bikes are repaired for the most part, minus the fork and a couple of things on my mountain bike. Phoenix’s Bike shop in Carbondale was very good to us – Thanks! 

New Years day we roamed the roads of the Shawnee National Forest (SNF) to find a boat launch into the Cache River Cyprus Swamps.  We spent the night in the parking lot of the boat launch only to be awakened by eager duck hunters starting at 3:30 am!  In the morning we hauled out the kayaks and paddled through the maze of cyprus trees – it was fantastic to be on the water and having some fun in this beautiful area.  The next day we tracked down the Jackson Falls Climbing Area in the SNF.  Got there a bit late, so we finished exploring the climbs and locating the access back to the top of the cliffs with the light of a dim headlamp and Pat’s trusty Iphone.  Jackson Falls looks like a great place to climb, maybe we will be back when it is a bit warmer.  Then off to the Garden of the Gods State Park for a good short hike to get an eyeful of the very cool formations. There we had the state park camp ground to ourself, had the first campfire of the trip, and a good night sleep. 

After all that fun we headed back into Carbondale to figure out the bikes and trailer deal.   Shopping for parts, putting parts on the trailer, contact with the bike shop, insurance companies, ect….. tension was high.  One last night in Carbondale then bike would be done.  In the morning of our last night in Carbondale  sleeping soundly parked in a multi business parking lot,  we unknowingly had three or four cop cars circling the Rig, they did not knock; our fancy bling (kayaks and gear box, ect….) must have told them that we were no threat, or they were just were just that impressed.    After a day parked in front of Phoenix Bike shop to working on the trailer and waiting for the bikes to be completed, we had our fill of the cold, waiting, fixing things and the comments from the friendly day time  “crazies” that frequent the bar next door to the bike shop;  we could finally take off.  It felt good, really good to have the van wheels moving forward and the bikes back intact – celebration time.

Today we visited Mammoth Caves National Park.  We took a  2 hour tour of a portion of the caves system – fun. 

We are now near Bowling Green, Kentucky wondering where to go next, we wanted to make it to Nashville tomorrow, but of course, the weather is not in our favor – 80% chance of snow.  We do not want to risk driving ain risky weather – lord knows we do not need an other mishap!  So now where to go………

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