RLT: Kansas! (Random Wonder on Day 10)

RLT: Kansas! (Random Wonder on Day 10)

10 Sep 2021

Rise, shine, and get on the road! Of course, but what about breakfast? We’re deeeeep in the country – can we find a place? What’s this Shotgun Eddys on the map? We pull up, and yep, it’s open, another couple park next to us in the lot. We strike up a conversation and discover that they regularly come this way to ride horseback trails and know the place pretty well.

During the exchange I mentioned that it’s quite a name. They chuckled and explained that this is, in fact, a rather famous place. Perhaps infamous might be the better word. In days gone by there was illegal gambling and all other kinds of behavior that may not be fit to print, and it was commonly known as ‘the Shoot and Stab’. Shotgun Eddys was an attempt to clean the place up some, rebrand it, and make it more palatable for gentle folk. Oh my!

Trying to find breakfast…

It looks like success. Much calmer, a respectable place for dinner, drinks, and live music. So glad we stopped to visit and enjoy this bit of history in Eddyville Illinois. Next stop an Ohio River ferry crossing at Cave-in-Rock.

… how cool is this?

Cave-in-Rock is a large cave in the bluff above the Ohio river, a park containing that cave, and also the name of a small town adjacent the park. Interesting fact from the park service website: the cave was used as a base for pirates who preyed on travelers from the end of the Revolutionary war until the 1830’s. Perhaps the descendants of the pirates frequented the Shoot and Stab? Today there is a campground in the park with hiking trails and a lodge. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the cave or hiking trails in the park, as we started that way we saw the ferry launch from the other side of the river. Perhaps on our next visit…

The ferry crosses regularly throughout the day and is jointly funded by the the Illinois and Kentucky departments of transportation so there is no fee to cross.

Ferry loading at Cave-in-Rock…
… pulling away from the Illinois shore…
… Kentucky dead ahead…

While the Illinois side is a very small town, the Kentucky side is straight up country. Not even so much as a house or farm. As we approached the shore I wish I would have been ready to record the deck hand tie up off as we landed. It was a thing to see, perhaps I’ll try to describe it.

He stood up straight holding a length of stout chain. As the pilot eased into the ramp on the quay (shown in the picture below) and the ferry stopped moving he flipped the chain forward making a ‘wave’. It was just long enough that the momentum pulled all the slack out between the ferry and bollard and caused the chain to began to circling from front to back on the left side of the left bollard.

Before all this wave motion made its way down he had begun to put another wave in play by simultaneously lowering, moving right, and flicking left. The lowering motion caused the descending links to drop between the two bollards from back to front after the initial half wrap on the left. The momentum of the second wave took up the slack between the two bollards. Then the move right flick left motion carried the links across the front of the right bollard, then round it to the right, front to back.

He continued in the same way with two more waves, which in the end, yielded a beautifully snug double figure 8 around the pair of bollards tying the ferry fast. Words can not do this dance justice, it was an incredible second and a half to behold. Skilled excellence.

The gate swung open and off we went, up and over the slight rise of riverbank, through hay fields on both sides of the road. Welcome to Kentucky!

… ready to land
Flag of Honor banner…

Look at this 911 memorial set up in the Greenville City Park. It’s a version of the Flag of Honor memorial started by John Michelotti to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the 911 attack. One flag for each individual.

… and flags on display

This particular display doesn’t use the ‘official’ flag from the project which is created with printed names as stripes – a fascinating story in and of itself. Initially John’s idea was to print the names on the stripes. When he approached flag manufactures in the US to create the flags they all refused because it is improper to deface the flag by writing on it. As a result, the initial flags were manufactured outside the US. He redesigned the flag to use the names to create the stripes so now they can be, and are, all produced in America.

From the Flag of Honor Website

Well, that’s about it for today folks. Another lovely day riding the roads less traveled. I am always a bit amazed at what one finds along the way purely by serendipity. All this in some of the least populated area of the country. Goes to show there is almost always something of interest just round the next bend.

Let me point out one last bit of incredible. Consider this sequence. Some person along our route opens up her home to take in overnight visitors. We communicate briefly and she agrees we can stay tonight. In route we make a courtesy call letting her know our approximate arrival time, and ask for a restaurant recommendation. She asks what kind of food. Thai. Nothing really around here, what about Italian. Oh, yes, perfect. After a good meal we proceed to her home, pull off the gear, bring our things to the room, freshen up, and put some clean comfy clothes on. We sit around the kitchen table visiting a bit then step outside and stroll around a pond in this gorgeous yard… Does it get any better than this?

Tranquil rest after a wonderful days journey

My hope is that as you explore this map you will be encouraged to get out there to see what you can find. Meet people, see sights, live fully! (and do ignore any Air B&B listing placed by corporate hotels)