Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 25 - Eddyville, Illinois to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Makanda, Illinois

Sunday, May 15,2016 46.8 miles(75.3 km)

After a good night sleep on a cool night at the horse camp ground I had a short one mile ride to a convenience store to pick up some breakfast.  As I got close I knew something was amiss as there were two police cars blocking the intersection.  As I got closer I could see they were blocking access to the road I had ridden up the day before. 

Police Roadblock

After asking a few questions I found out they had located the man they had been looking for.  A week prior he had shot and wounded a police officer in central Illinois and had been hiding in the Shawnee National Forest.  He had been seen the day prior near a cemetery along the road I had ridden up.  On Sunday morning he had been sighted at an abandoned house along the same road.  An exchange of gun fire took place between him and tactical teams from the Illinois State Police and the FBI.  He had wounded a FBI tactical team member.  Later that day they sent a robot into the house and they found the wanted man motionless in the house and he had been killed in the gun fire exchange. (The wounds to the FBI team member were not life threatening)

I was able to proceed along my route as that road was open.  The route was hilly but not too bad until I had to climb large hills to get to Tunnel Hill and then again to get to Goreville.   The route was through the Shawnee National Forest and farmland mainly consisting of small farms.  I had been to this area before and never really remembered it being so hilly but in a car you don't notice the hills nearly as much as you do when riding a bike.

Southern Illinois Countryside

Once in Goreville I stopped at Subway for a late lunch and also at the grocery store for a few supplies to get me through the next couple days. (Of course I ate a few of the groceries while still in the parking lot :-)  )

After leaving Goreville it was a mostly downhill ride into the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.  Once in the refuge the road had very little traffic and was very tranquil.  I first rode through the Devils Kitchen Lake section of the refuge on to the Little Grassy Lake section.  It was a very nice section to ride.

Road Through Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

I spent the night camped at the Little Grassy Lake Campground located on the Refuge.  I was the only camper in my section of the campground so it made for a quiet night.  It was again quite cool overnight but I remained warm in my tent and sleeping bag.


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