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Wandering Biker

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost…

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Sep '09

Marshall, MO to Elizabethtown, KY via Lewis and Clark State Memorial, IL, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial – 547 miles

Wow….what a day!

Found out last night that the visitor center of the park I was near does not open until 10:00AM. To wait and get the National Park Tour stamp from there would have meant missing my Indiana stamp until tomorrow, so I got up and left first thing in the morning.

The first couple of hours on I-70 were riding directly into the sun. Even with my sunglasses it was too bright and I’m glad I have the flip down sun visor in my helmet. It works well enough but gives the world a kind of strange “other worldly” blurry view. I was really glad when the sun got high enough that I could flip it back up.

My first stop was the Lewis and Clark State Memorial in Hartford, IL. I’m not sure why you can get a national trail stamp at a state memorial park, but you can. Some of the towns nearby are mentioned in some John Hartford songs so I had his songs playing in my head for a while.

I decided to forgo stopping at Gateway Arch in St. Louis for stamps as I was unsure of the parking security, so I went to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site instead. This site is mostly dedicated to Grant’s personal life.

The ride around St. Louis to the Grant Historic Site and back out of town was pretty terrifying. I had several close calls with cars changing lanes into me and two close encounters with large (as in 6ftx4ft) pieces of cardboard. I got to exercise my middle finger a few times and felt lucky to escape town unscathed.

From St. Louis it was a long ride on I-64 across Illinois and half of Indiana to the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. Once again I got worried that I was going to miss closing time because of a time zone change but was relieved after stopping to check that this one little piece of Indiana is still in the Central Time Zone. The interpretive film was pretty interesting and was narrated by Leonard Nimoy.

After the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial I headed south towards Owensboro, KY. When I saw these cooling towers I though I might be looking at a nuclear power plant so I stopped to take a picture.

I guess they don’t usually have piles of coal laying around a nuclear power plant so I was probably wrong.

When I got to Owensboro I checked the map and saw it was only another hour and a half to Elizabethtown, KY and close to my first stop tomorrow. It also puts me in the Eastern Time Zone.

National Park Tour progress so far – 11 sites, 7 states.

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