We made great time out of town. Starting at 530 pm, we bolted from the LBS, and headed West on the constitution Trail, the famous artery of asphalt athletics. A 12 MPH tail wind that pushed us along with vigor into the western part of the county, into a horizon increasingly green, golden, and pink. The temperature was perfect for our 20mph pace.
We made it to the first bridge location, only to find that it is on private property – a local hunting club owns access. We decided to skip it, and took our time riding the gravel roads back to the main route we were following.
Private Property and Sportsman & Gun Clubs should have been the title to this communique, as they became a fairly common site west of Bloomington, especially around the Mackinaw River. Who can blame them, it’s the perfect location for them. The river meanders so slowly through a few counties, and is buffered by a generous amount of green trees, plants and rolling hills. This is where the good game is!
None the less, I do hold some animosity over their seizure and privatization of some of the most interesting geographical locations in central Illinois for purely personal, and commercial use. Natural Resources like this should be shared, and we should not be limited by property lines because we want to enjoy a river and the surrounding forest. Not every beautiful place, resource needs to be exploited. Also, it kind of ruins the concept that outside is free, by adding the caveat – *not applicable everywhere .
I digress…We left the main road for some more Spartan back roads, paved but hilly and low with traffic. We managed to find a fairly steep incline known as Peacock Hill (on Strava), and climbed it slowly with our heavy bikes and gear. As I crested the peak, a woman drove past, headed down the impressive grade, eyeing me and shaking her head, acknowledging the idiocy and unnecessary route we have taken.
Around 7:30, as the sun was sliding under the covers of the horizon we found Kentuckiana Road, and headed down some fresh gravel and rock roads to the second bridge and the Ghost town.
The second bridge was also on private property, or so the signage said, but fuck it – It was Radurday and we were out to see these old relics. It was a mess, and amazing. we followed 4 wheel tracks that traced the rivers edge until we found a heavily graffitied barrier. We walked around it to reveal an iron skeleton the color of brown bark. There were missing wooden boards everywhere. People had hammered their own boards down to be able to traverse shore to shore. There was also evidence that people set fires on top of the old wooden planks that made up the surface. Bizarre. We snapped some photos, and took in peacefulness of the location. The sun was setting through the trees. We debated camping out on the bridge for the evening…but thought better of it, given that it was again on (post fact – not sure this is true..) the Tremont Sportsman’s Club’s property.
The ghost town was in worse repair that the Google aerial image made it seem. Most of the building were burnt down and full of bullet holes. Overgrown with weeds and refuse, the site was spectacular. The bursting natural reclamation gave the dilapidated buildings a special quality, maybe authenticity. We took a bunch of photos, picked some ticks off of us and split a cliff bar. We left before the local’s came to party.
We ended up camping a few miles down the road at the Kentuckiana Kampground, a massive RV camping location that has a few other gems tucked into it’s boundaries: Two mini lakes, Shuffleboard, Bag’s tournaments, Washer’s Tournaments, and the longest running Opry in Illinois, every Saturday night from May to October. The place is friendly and offer’s many services. Worth checking out!
We woke in the AM packed and head back home. We found even more gravel North of Hopedale and Stanford and passed another shooting range just before town. We ended our Sub 24 hour/Blitz weekend back in town with a coke and some tacos from Carniceria la Mexicana. I consider this place as holding the touch for the best taco’s in town. What a killer weekend. 42 miles on Friday after work, and close to another 40 Saturday morning. Beautiful weather both days. Check out the Instagram feed for photos!
Get groovy, and stay Rad!