May 27:  Lewisport to Brandenburg, KY  88.2 miles

The storm front from the night before had swept through the area and brought with it a definite thick fog and a high humidity.  While the threat of rain still existed, the main immediate concern crossing everyone's mind as they looked out over the highway from the motel parking lot was "were the cars and trucks going to be able to see us?"  The area schools had been delayed by 2 hours due to the fog and we were headed out on those same rural roads that the school buses didn't want to drive.

Flashers on, rain jackets on, reflectors showing, -- and we are off.  We are following the Ohio River now so it was going to be a flat beginning as we crossed the flood plains and then up into the hills riding the ridges.  The route began with a series of paper mills churning away blowing their steam up into the skies to further "fog" the area.  It seemed so out of character to have open farm fields to the east and paper mills to the west with the road winding down through the middle.  It is obvious why the mills were where they were -- this is the Ohio and for centuries has provided a means of transportation for all sorts of goods and products.  What was once a small mill providing lumber and paper for the area is now a large industrial plant servicing all parts of the world.  

The first town on the route that had more than one stop sign was Hawesville (pop 981).  It was here that Lincoln won his first court case.  Seems that he was arrested for operating a ferry without a license in 1827. Lincoln pleaded his own case in a trial at the home of presiding Justice of the Peace, Samuel Pate. Pate encouraged Lincoln to study law and loaned him books. Lincoln often visited here on "law days".  Guess even breaking the law can lead to a prosperous life sometimes.

From there it was up into the hills with climbs of 8-10% grade, one time at almost 20%.  While tough, they did bring one out and up to fabulous views still slightly fog covered, but spectacular.  The river barges could be seen in the distance pushing their wares down the river.  The rolling hills on both sides seemed to be blanketed in forests of green.  It is hard to see such beauty and realize that two hundred years ago, this river marked the difference between slavery and freedom.  The first freedom seekers knew that if they could get across to Indiana and Ohio they were to be free.  The small river towns along the southern side of the river many times had safe houses with tunnels dug from their basements down to the river bank where the freedom seekers could be smuggled out and across in the middle of the night.  In the town of Cloverport  (pop 1262) one such house still exists.  While stopping to momentarily rest a local resident offered to brief the group on its part in the Underground Railroad.  It was also spot where coal oil was first produced here in 1851. The plant built in 1857, was reputed to be the first of a kind in world. The coal was loaded here, exported to England via New Orleans for gas manufacture. A disastrous fire, the discovery of petroleum, and Civil War caused cessation of operation.  Today the town is trying hard to revive itself as a small tourist location on the river.

On up into the hills, pedal, push, pedal, push -- coast for a minute -- pedal, push -- another hill, pedal harder, another hill, oh where are those downhills that should be here?  The day winds up through the Yellowbank Wildlife Management Area of forests of pine, maple, oak, ash, poplar, roses and honeysuckle.  Any thought of being cold has long since left as has the fog.  The river seems to always be off to the left as the road goes higher through the now non-existent river towns of Holt, Addison, Stephensport, Ammons, Mooleyville, Wolf Creek, Cedar Flat and Battletown.  

Finally it is that last long coast down the hillside to Brandenburg (pop 2214) and our motel for the night.  It has been a long day with a lot of leg pounding hills so no one is interested is staying up late.  Tomorrow brings more!

Early Morning on the Ohio

Ohio River in the Fog

Ohio River

Ohio River Industry = Paper Mill

Industry Continued!

Georgia In The Morning!

Fresh Strawberries!!!

Hungry Bikers!!

Road to Nowhere!