This week I’m off the bike completely for a week at my mom’s house in southern Illinois. I’m determined to arrive at PBP rested and caught up on my sleep, and I’m succeeding fabulously. There’s nothing like a 1,600-person town with nothing to do for sleep and relaxation.
My mom and little sister live in Shawneetown, which is just north of the Shawnee National Forest. This is an area swarming with tractor-trailers and roads with no shoulders, so you don’t see many road riders around here. It is illegal to ride MTB’s off road in the national forest, though there is a big network of dirt roads in the area so it would be possible to do some back roads riding with sturdy tires.
Notably, however, the old Bikecentennial trans-continental bike route goes right through the forest to Cave In Rock, Ill., before crossing the river by ferry to Kentucky. Read more about the route and its history Here. Today was no day to ride, however; the temperatures were near 100 degrees for the fifth straight day.
I brought Super D with me to see a little of her dad’s home town. Here she is at the Pounds Hollow Lake swimming area.
Sadly, Pounds Hollow is not the idyllic summer retreat of my youth. The Forest Service rebuilt the swimming area three years ago, but re-opened it without any daytime supervision, and it showed in the littering and general bad manners of the folks who use it. We left on Wednesday when a bunch of potheads showed up and drove everybody off by acting like idiots. I spoke to a local MTB rider who stopped for water, who told me the drinkers and other lowlifes have taken to partying there. We all know who to thank for this situation.