Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our Southern Illinois dual-sport route

This is part two of Riding Shawnee National Forest post. I wanted to attach the general GPS tracks and show more pictures of the route. We have a GPX file available from this whole trip, if you’d like it just send an e-mail at

Our entire route

A paved road through the fields and farms

I love that cabin on the hill behind us, I'd love to live in one of those

Hills and gravel

Forest and gravel

Trying to get a shot of a waterfall

We crossed this creek, which became this waterfall past the cliff's edge

Here is the waterfall from the other side, before the water falls over the cliff

Mike crossing the creek with the waterfall

Mike doing the water crossing for me on my bike, the second creek was deep with many large rocks

He makes it look so easy

Mike crossing the creek to get to his bike, the creek was deep, he's stepping on rocks that sat near the water's surface

Mike crossing the creek with his bike

Having some fun with a flooded road

Morning route, Ozark General store is located on CR-8 and RT45

We can't remember where the cool water crossing and water fall was located, we do know it was on the part of the route between Ozark and Anna

The last leg of the route from Anna back to Lake Glendale Rec. Area

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oak Point Campground - Lake Glendale Rec., Illinois

Located approximately 25 miles south of Harrisburg, Illinois on Route 145, is the Lake Glendale Recreational Area and the Oak Point Campground.

Our electric camp site at Oak Point Campground

The campground is open all year and has electric and primitive sites. The electric sites are $16 per night and the primitive are $11. When we were here last weekend we grabbed an electric site since it was cold and we like to keep warm in the tent by plugging in our electric blanket. Also it’s nice to be able to charge all the electronics.

Electric camp site #22 has the best location and the best view of the lake

Electric camp site #23 has a great lake view

There is hiking available around the lake and I read that there is also a trail to Signal Bluff, which is a scenic ridge.

Hiking path to the lake

Sunset at Lake Glendale

A nice bench at the lake

The host at the campground was super nice and had area maps. He also was selling bundles of fire wood for $3. Later in the year there is also a concession stand open near the lake.

There is a nice building with toilets, sinks and free showers. There are also smaller buildings with toilets scattered around the campground but they were sill closed this early in the season.

Main toilet/shower building

Ladies room: two flush toilets, two showers and two sinks

This was a nice campground and I’d recommend staying here, although if you’re coming on a street bike you should know that the road in the campground is very bumpy and on top of the pavement there is also a bunch of loose gravel.

The road through the electric camp ground

Monday, March 24, 2008

Garden of the Gods, Illinois

We’re back from our trip down south but after posting the initial report on
hiking in Southern Illinois I still have tons of amazing pictures left that I have to share.

I was amazed by all the natural beauty of Southern Illinois and the number of unique parks in the area. It is truly a hikers and campers paradise. I can’t believe that I’ve lived in Illinois since 1983 and have not been down here until now. Garden of Gods seems to be the most popular of the parks in the Shawnee National Forest and it claims to be one of the most scenic areas in Illinois.

Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of old growth forest. The rock formations the Garden of the Gods resemble objects and have names like Table Rock, Camel Rock, Devil’s Smokestack, and Honeycomb Rock.

Camel Rock

Table Rock

Devil’s Smokestack

In the past there was an inland sea where now Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are located. The beautiful rock formations at Garden of the Gods are the result of millions of years of sediment accumulation shaped through the action of water and wind.

The best-known trail at the Garden of the Gods is the Observation Trail. It’s a .25-mile stone path which also has some sections of wooden steps. This trail creates a neat loop that brings you back to the place you started. From this trail you get to see the most unusual rock formations and also the largest rock formations in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area.

The observation trail

Parts of the observation trail consist of wooden stairs and decks

The other major trail that goes through this area is the River-to-River Trail. This trail goes from the Ohio River on the eastern side of Illinois all the way to the Mississippi River on western side of Illinois.

Hiking to Anvil Rock

Some of the rocks have very intricate designs

There is no admission fee for the Garden of the Gods.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ferne Clyffe State Park, Illinois

It was a cold night and a cold morning, the temps dipped below freezing. Originally we were planning to spend half the day hiking, since by 4PM we wanted to get going home, to be home by 10PM. But since we didn’t get to ride yesterday, we thought that maybe instead of hiking we could get a short ride in.

Frost on my bike


After making some hot cereal and thinking about it some more, we decided to go hiking. First, today was even colder than yesterday and there was rain in the forecast, plus it takes about an hour and half or more to break down the camp and load the bikes on to the trailer. It was too early in the year to do an early morning ride, to go riding and freeze our butts for a few hours, just wasn’t worth it.

Going to Goreville on 146

The road through Ferne Clyffe State Park

There were a few more parks that we wanted to check out in the area. We decided to go to Ferne Clyffe State Park just one mile south of Goreville, which was near the interstate. Once we got to the park, it took a while to locate all the trails. Choosing a trail was not easy, there are eighteen trails here, each of them offer something different like spectacular views, rock formations, waterfalls, caves and you might have guessed by the name of the park, there are also a variety of ferns here.

Approaching the cave on the Hawk’s Cave Trail

Can you see me standing on that rock?

First we did the Hawk's Cave Trail which was an easy 0.5-mile loop that brought us to the largest shelter bluffs in Illinois. The cave was really amazing and we spent a bit of time checking it out.

Trail heading away from the cave

Interesting tree

Next was the Big Rocky Hollow Trail, an easy 0.75-mile round trip hike that ends up at a 100-foot tall intermittent waterfall. We wanted to hang out at the waterfall for a bit, it was really serene, but it had already started raining so we headed back.

Hiking the Big Rocky Hollow Trail

The waterfall at the end of the trail

Rain turning to hail as we hike back to the truck

A few minutes later it started hailing. We got to the truck and decided to head home, it was 2PM. A few minutes later it started snowing. We were hungry so we pulled over at the next rest stop and made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Six hours later we were back home.

Another home made lunch

There was fresh snow on the ground at home, most of it fell Friday and Saturday. It was great to get away from the cold and snow and see some nature and ride some nice roads. Southern Illinois, we will be back!