Cape Gazette

SEA TO SHINING SEA: Up, down, headwinds, tailwinds: even out

By Dennis Forney | Jul 14, 2013
Photo by: Dennis Forney This tall Catholic church near Lillyville, Illinois - out in the middle of nowhere - piqued my curiosity.

CLOVERDALE, INDIANA — DAYS 62, 63 - July 14 & 15 - Drinking our way across America.  We made 75 miles yesterday and 65 more today.  Total is now 2,441 miles. The weather has turned hot, real hot, 90s.  We ride and sweat and drink and sweat and ride and drink some more. At lunch, tall glasses of lemonade over lots of ice.  Then more lemonade. We order ice water and Becky fills her water bottles with the cold liquid.  I don't care as long as it's wet.

In the evening a big margarita.  Salt and citrus works.  Replaces our electrolites and lots of other stuff.  I'm pretty sure the cointreau and tequila lubricate our synapses and allow the electrical impulses to cross our dendrites smoothly.

I forgot to tell you about what Jerry told us while we were picnicking under the shade trees in the little park across from his grocery store in downtown Altamont, Illinois.  We were talking about how much we were impressed by the culture of St. Louis.  He mentioned an area of the town called The Hill, an Italian district.  "Great restaurant there called Mama Capizzi's," said Jerry.  "That's where toasted raviolis were invented. A  bunch of the restaurant owners were getting together for a drink at Mama Capizzi's and the cook put out some food. In the process he accidentally dropped a ravioli into some deep fat and out came a toasted ravioli."

We had never heard of toasted raviolis but we tried some in St. Louis and they were delicious.  The ones we had were filled with ground meat and the shells were crispy. Someone in the Delaware Cape Region restaurant scene needs to add toasted raviolis to their menu as an hors d'oeuvres.  Between those and a calzone joint like Kyle turned us on to at Sauce on the Side?  Surefire hit.

We visited the Lincoln Cabin site south of Charleston.  Budget cuts have taken their toll but the exhibit is still impressive.  This is where Abraham Lincoln's father - Thomas Lincoln - and Abe's stepmother lived out their days.  It was subsistence farming at a time when the industrial revolution was changing farming.

Before we visited the Lincoln site we passed through rich agricultural lands with tall corn and thick carpets of beans. Out in the middle of nowhere we came across a tall-steepled Catholic church.  No town nearby.  Where did the money come from to build and maintain such a church near the little crossroads called Lillyville?

These are hardworking, resourceful farmers, but enough discretionary income to build this big, beautiful church? We saw many Virgin Mary statues in the front yards of farmhouses we passed.  And maybe another clue too.  Near a prosperous dairy farm we saw oil pumps sprinkled through a corn field along with tanks to store what the pumps were drawing from the ground deep below.  The thick smell of petroleum mixed with the equally thick smell of manure from the dairy operation.  Talk about farming at all kinds of levels.

Lots of time to think when you're riding along slowly and observing.  Speculation and conjecture arise quickly and often.

Headed into Indianapolis tomorrow, then out the other side and on toward Ohio.  Pittsburgh is our objective now. Maybe two more weeks.

You all have a good week.  Here are some more photos from the last two days.

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This fertile Illinois ground grows great crops and also yields petroleum for enterprising farmers.  Silage tanks for this dairy operation, in the background here, stand within a stone's throw of tanks for the farm's petroleum yield.
Becky said the cows for the dairy operation were more interesting than the petroleum tanks.
An Illinois farm scene.
And another Illinois farm scene.  Notice the old farmhouse in the middle?  I speculated that the house is still standing - though vacant - because it has great sentimental value and the owners would like to restore it some day.  Becky - who grew up on a farm - said once the women got out of that drafty, two-storied house and into a tighter, one-story brick ranch house, they'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming back into the old house.
Becky shows the height of the Illinois corn, mid-July.  I'm hearing that with all the rain this summer on Delmarva, the corn there has never been taller.
Here's the cabin of Thomas Lincoln, father of Abe.  To the left is the well where perishable foods were lowered in the summer to be kept fresher in the steady 54-degree temperature.
We've seen lots of new cars passing us as we ride.  Here's one we saw not so new - an old Plymouth near the Illinois-Indiana line.
Over the last few days we've pedaled lots of miles on the shoulder of old Route 40, a national historic highway.  They call it the road that built the nation.  I didn't realize that Thomas Jefferson initiated legislation in 1806 for construction of the first phase of this national highway between Cumberland, Maryland and Vandalia, Illinois.  We passed through Vandalia a few days ago.  In the weeks ahead we will pass through Cumberland, at the head of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath trail.
Here's some of the verbiage that accompanied legislation for construction of the national highway that eventually became Route 40.  Its sentiments pretty much came to pass and capture what we have experienced firsthand as we've bicycled our way across the country.
And finally, a simple little scene from the Mexican restaurant where we ate supper tonight.  (Somewhere east of the Rockies cafés became restaurants.) See the ketchup bottle.  I grew up with the Colts when they were a Baltimore team.  The logo still feels like home team to me, but now the team is home team for Indianapolis.  The great country philosopher, columnist, wit and speaker Will Rogers is credited with saying that he never met a man he didn't like.  When then-Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis from Baltimore, under the cover of darkness, bumper stickers sprouted in Baltimore saying: Will Rogers never met Bob Irsay.
Comments (1)
Posted by: Susan Frederick | Jul 15, 2013 20:50

Never knew Route 40 was a national highway and goes back to 1806--at least-- as a traveled road.

Still following the map and the landmarks.  What a great journey.



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