Carbondale, IL to Sebree, KY
By Dean Broz
The weather forecast for today was a little ominous -- flash flood watch, heavy rain, and periods of thunderstorms. On the plus side, the route had numerous places along the way to hunker down if we needed to, and our destination town of Sebree, Kentucky is noted for its hospitality to cyclists.
The Germans, Benja and Caroline, ride a tandem bike. They started in San Francisco and went through the desert to join the Transamerica Trail. Two things you should understand about a tandem bike: 1) The person in front controls everything -- steering, braking, and shifting -- so the person in back has to have complete faith in their driver. 2) both people have to pedal in unison because their drivetrains are connected. Think about doing that for a few thousand miles over hill and dale...
We caught sight of the Teutonic tandem about halfway into our ride at Harrisburg, Illinois. Then we stopped at Hardee's.
The generosity of the Hardee's patrons of Harrisburg was impressive. Ed met the local Scoutmaster having breakfast, and three folks donated to Be Loud! On the way out someone in a pickup pulled up next to Ed, handed him a $20 bill, and said, "I don't know what you're riding for, but it must be a good cause."
After Harrisburg the weather caught us. No thunder or lighting, but the term "biblical deluge" comes to mind. We got wet.
Thankfully, after a while the weather cleared, we enjoyed lunch at Belle's Diner in Shawneetown, and then crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky. Kentucky brought us nice country farm roads until we reached Sebree.
Sebree is a small country town of about 1,500 people with a rail line running though it. The First Baptist Church there hosts cyclists on its lower level -- with shower, laundry, and even food in the fridge and cupboards. Violet, who lives across the street with her husband Bob, the retired minister, welcomed us to the church and showed us around.
Then she invited us to dinner. She and Bob hosted 17 cyclists that night for dinner: the nine of us, two Germans, two Australians, one from D.C., and two from New York. We ate chicken and dumplings, biscuits, homemade pickles, and brownies with ice cream. I still can't quite believe the warmth and generosity.
By the way, Benja and Caroline, the Germans on the tandem, beat us to Sebree and managed to remain dry the entire day.