Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cave in Rock and Surrounding Area

Late Sunday afternoon, Sept.27th, Chuck, Betty, Dominic and Brandi came out to Piney Campground to visit. Ken fixed his Pepper Cheese Chicken Breasts for dinner and we enjoyed the sunset over the lake.

On Monday we travelled from Land Between the Lakes to the Cave in Rock State Park along the Ohio River. Ken was battling very gusty winds for the drive and was especially happy to get past the Paducah bridge considering how much the wind was moving the rig on the highway.

We drove by the Cave in Rock free ferry on the way in to the state park. We had considered a route that would have brought us across the Ohio on this ferry instead of the Paducah bridge. The ferry takes rigs up to 22 ton and on most days I would expect this would be a pretty uneventful ride. However, with the extreme winds messing with the current and the way it was rocking the ferry, I’m really glad we weren’t on there with the motorhome.

The campground was mostly empty so we took site 30 at the top of the hill overlooking a pond.

As we were setting up a family of turkey were grazing down by the pond.

Ken did a sirloin steak on the grill and we finished off the potatoes and grilled cabbage from the prior evening’s cookout.
A Class B van had pulled in after us and so we invited that couple to come sit with us outside for awhile. They have been travelling well over a decade in a Class B. It’s always interesting to find out the differences in the way people coordinate their travel based on their rig. Since these folks have no tow vehicle and take their rig with them wherever they go, they seldom stay in the same park more than one night. They did take a Class B all of the way to Alaska and back. They did feel that was about the max time two people could spend in that size RV without getting back to the ‘sticks n bricks’ for awhile.
It was starting to get chilly so we were inside by about 8pm. Ken was thrilled to have all the major network channels on TV after a week with little reception. Unfortunately Monday night football is on ESPN so it wasn’t a perfect Monday evening.

Tuesday morning we decided to check out the restaurant in the state park.

The restaurant overlooks the Ohio River and is situated next to 4 large cabins that available for rental.

They also had wireless internet so we could catch up on emails, banking, etc.,

After breakfast , we drove down to the actual Cave in Rock which is located between the restaurant and the ferry.

Cave in Rock was a hideout for bands of pirates some 200 years ago when a million+ pioneers made their way down the Ohio River. The pirates had a tavern in the rock and would lure unsuspecting travelers in to their lair with few coming back out.

The cave is perfectly located on the bend of the river, able to view traffic coming for a long way.

There is a large area about 100 yards in to the cave that was apparently the primary gathering point. It has a natural vent above that allowed light in and smoke from their fires out.

We decided that the remainder of the day's adventures would likely include quite a bit of hiking and since that is Sox and Ditka's favorite activity we picked them up before we continued our exploration.

We had picked up a map of Hardin County and followed the Ohio River Scenic Highway through the Shawnee Forest to the Rim Rock recreation area, our first planned hike.

We hiked this area for nearly 2 hours, enjoying the beautiful rock formations, caves, ferns and moss.

At one point we followed a stream and came upon a very well build beaver pond.

From Rim Rock we travelled on to Garden of the Gods where we paused for awhile to enjoy our picnic lunch and then hit the trail again.

As it turned out a couple from North Carolina were following the same driving walking trails as we were that day. He waved from one of the distant stone outcroppings.

The dogs had no fear of jumping from rock to rock along the cliffs.

This is a really special place, especially when you can visit with few other humans about. When you look out from these beautiful cliffs you can see no signs of civilization for as far as the eye can see.

Ditka was thrilled and felt this was the perfect place to practice his 'Rin Tin Tin' impersonation.

Do you think this is a cast of a pre-historic teenage mutant ninja turtle?

These swirls and rings are called leisegang bands, the result of chemical changes when iron and standstone meets God's artistic spirit.

On the route back home we did a short photo stop in Elizabethtown at the historic Grand Rose Hotel. Perched on a lovely overlook above the Ohio River, this is the oldest operating hotel in the state of Illinois.

Wednesday morning, we awoke to heavy fog but it cleared early so it didn't impact our drive back to Charleston.

Stay tuned, this weekend is what Trevor is calling the OVC 'superbowl' game against EKU.

Hugs, C


Anonymous said...

I must say I'm really loving your travels lately. You post such interesting information to go along with your pictures. Thanks for sharing! Safe travels, Ann in WI

Ashley said...

I really enjoyed your vivid pictures and the helpful information to compilment. Because of your insight my family and I are planning to take a trip to this area. I sm really looking forward and am exited to see this beautiful area because of what you recorded. I sincerly hope my trip will be as memrable, orgnaized and safe as yours. Thanks so much! -Ashley :)

Kevin said...

Was at Cave in Rock last fall. No vehicle access to cave front and no signage. Other than that saw a lot of deer every day.