Winter Bald Eagle Ride along the Mississippi River

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ajayhawkfan, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Last weekend was the 3rd annual Winter Bald Eagle Ride and I was a group of one!

    Everyone that gave me a :thumb "I'm in" backed out as the date got closer. The excuses were pitiful. They ranged from "My cat might cough up a fur ball this weekend" to "My wife said I can't go". I had one lame but honest excuse, "It is too damn cold". There was one notable exception to the sad excuses, Troy's brother came back from Afghanistan and there was a welcome home party. Troy please thank him for his service from me.

    Originally I was going to ride from KC to Louisiana or Hannibal, MO, south to Grafton, IL and then to Cuba MO. Staying in those towns. However I had to reverse the order because the day before I left the area north of St. Louis got snow. I only hoped the roads would be cleared by the time I got there.

    I left around 1:00 on Friday heading toward Cuba, MO for the night. I wanted to get there so I mostly took black top. I left it was 28 degrees but sunny and warmed up to 30.

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    Checking out historic places is always high on my priorities when I ride. On my way to Cuba I stopped at some well preserved War of Northern Aggression trenches.

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    From December 1861 till May 1865 Union troops made camp called "Camp Curtis" at a railroad bridge crossing of the Lamine River. The Union troops dug in almost a mile of trenches 6-8 ft deep to protect the bridge which was still burned three times during their occupancy.

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    That night I stayed at the Wagon Wheel Motor Court in Cuba and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Wagon Wheel is along historic Route 66.

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    It has been carefully restored and was a very pleasant place to stay the night.

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    #1
  2. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    The next morning is was just as cold as the day before however it was sunny and was to get to the high 30's before dropping back down to the low 30's around 3:00 when clouds rolled it. I waited until around 9:00 to get started. That gives the sun some time to melt the black ice that might form over night.

    For years I have collected waypoints. When I read something of interest I try to find it and save a waypoint. Most I have never visited but will use them when creating a route. I put this in my GPS earlier this year after seeing it on a photo tag game and thought it looked interesting.

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    The snow was not such a problem to ride however packed snow and ice was a little dicey at times. The riding in the areas was lot of fun and very pretty.

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    Crossing the Courtois Creek.

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    #2
  3. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Anyone that knows me, ridden with me or have read any past ride reports knows I like history and trivial history and graveyards are full of history. The Grandfather of Texas lies buried in a graveyard in Potosi, MO.

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    Moses Austin, (1761-1821<wbr>) founded Potosi, MO. Moses in 1821 received permission from the Spanish Governor of Texas for the first colonization contract in Texas. He died before he could start the colony however his son, Stephen F. Austin carried out his plan of colonization.
    #3
  4. old fart bob

    old fart bob Armchair adventurer

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    I grew up in St. Louis. Rode those areas for years. "Eagle Days Festival" at Louisiana is something that should not be missed. Hundreds of Eagles sitting on the Mississippi River ice at Lock and Dam 26 looking for a meal. I think it was 26? I've been gone from there for 17 years. A good ride is from Hannibal to Cairo, Illinois. Did that many, many times. Now I live about 600 miles north of there. I was just going to buy a business but wound up buying the whole corporation. I will probably never go back to St. Louis. That was a long time ago in a different world and a different time.
    #4
  5. DirtFarmer

    DirtFarmer Has anyone seen my mother

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    I've always wanted to stay at the Wagon Wheel. I really enjoy that area, I feel that I need 3 bikes & 3 months every time I'm down there. The Duc comes into a world of it's own on 19. :D
    #5
  6. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    I hope to complete my Mississippi River run this Spring with the KLR as the tool. I had run next to it on the West side up to Minnesota a few years back with the Bandit on my way to Canada. This time I'll just concentrate on following the river up the East Side and back down the West side staying as close as possible.
    Thanks for the time and work to post you COLD trip. :lol3:lol3.
    #6
  7. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    After leaving the "Grandfather of Texas" I noticed his house in Potosi. I don't know anything about it but it sure looked nice:

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    From Potosi I headed NE into Washington County to visit this Historic St. Steven's Cemetery.

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    St. Stephens Church Parish is the oldest in Washington County, MO. It was founded in the community of Richwoods in about 1840. Richwoods had then about twenty Irish Catholic families, who were mostly engaged in the mining and smelting of lead, and a larger number of French Canadian Catholic families, and a large number of Indians. Altogether there must have been about fifty Catholic families.

    The reason I was interested in this cemetery is because of one of the French Canadians buried here.

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    Toussaint Charboneau<wbr>, (1781-1866<wbr>) husband of Sacagawea<wbr>. T. Charboneau was one of the hired civilians that were part of the Louis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. He was hired as an interpreter along with his wife and were needed when the Corps reached the mountains. Sacagawea was 16 when they were hired. Their infant son, Jean Baptiste it the baby seen in the papoose on Sacagawea back. He eventually ended up graduating from Saint Louis University. More on Charboneau: http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/inside/tchar.html Many of his their decedents are buried here and still live in the area.

    From Here is I headed North to cross the Missouri River at Washington, MO. I then spend about an hour, while the temperatures dropped riding through suburbia hell getting the the Golden Eagle Ferry north of St. Charles, MO.

    I reached the ferry about 4:30 as the temperatures were dropping below freezing. I crossed the Mississippi into Illinois shortly thereafter.

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    I rode across the "Land Between the Rivers" to the Illinois River.

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    At the Illinois River I crossed on the Deer Plain Ferry at sunset:

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    I then rode into Grafton, IL looking for a place to stay.
    #7
  8. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    That area is a great area to ride.

    If you stay at the Wagon Wheel pay a little more and get the larger rooms. The small rooms should be called tiny rooms. There is no room especially for two people. That being said, it is worth visiting and next door is a very good BBQ place.
    #8
  9. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    I woke Sunday morning to a bright and sunny morning. This is the view from where I stayed.

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    The sun fooled me. It was a bitter morning but with the sun it should be a pleasant day and warm up.

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    Frost on my bike where the sun has not hit it.

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    I was planning on staying at the Ruebel Hotel but when I called to see if they were open no one ever answered or called back when I left a message. When I rode through town I noticed it was open however it was quite a ways from the brewpub that I planned on visiting to watch football playoffs and have some pints. Next door to the brewpub was a guesthouse for rent. I checked if it was avaliable and struck a great deal so I stayed. It is the yellow house behind my bike.

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    The brewpub in Grafton had a pretty good stout and good food. If in town give it a try.

    After checking out I rode around town a little. It's a neat old river town.

    View down (south) the Mississippi from Grafton boat ramp.

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    One of the main goals of this trip was to view eagles. I had been advised that there were not as many as in the past years because it has not been cold enough up north to push them to the area. Another theory I heard was that there are not as many eagles is because the invasive Asian carp are eating the shad and the abundance of shad is why the eagles congregate in the area. I guess we will find out if either of those theories is correct if it gets colder this winter or next year.

    Shortly after leaving Grafton I did see an eagle. They are magnificent birds!

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    Continued soon.
    #9
  10. linksIT

    linksIT nOObie

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    great report thanks for sharing.
    #10
  11. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    After photographing the eagle I again boarded the ferry to the "land between the rivers". I left the ferry looking for the first minor road I could find. My plan was to zig-zag back and fourth between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. A short distance off the main road and I hit snow.

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    The minor roads especially the parts that are in the shade have lots of snow and in some places ice. the snow was not much of a problem but ice was.

    The Village of Brussels, IL is in the area. They have a fine looking calaboose that was build in 1876:

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    This area is very pretty and has some great twisty roads with good elevation changes.

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    There is not a lot of gravel but when you find them they can be tricky.

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    To be continued.
    #11
  12. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    The riding at times was slow going. The ice put a little fear into me. If I gave it a little gas my rear tire would slide. Grabbing a little front break would lock the front tire. I knew not to grab the front break but did it to take a picture. After going down I never did it again. :evil No picture of my sideways bike.

    Packed snow was almost as bad as ice. For me, 2nd gear and idling through the packed snow worked best for me.

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    Riding in the middle of the road along the strip of snow not driven upon was rougher riding but had go traction so I stayed on that as much as I could.

    I enjoy riding in winter you get to see into the trees, seeing things you would miss if everything is green.

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    Some pictures from the "land between the lakes":

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    I took the Kampsville Ferry across it Illinois River and back:

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    After coming back on the ferry I headed north and came across this boat along the river.

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    Besides being partially beached I noticed the American flag was new and everything else was in disrepair. It also looked familiar.

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    It is the Showboat Goldenrod build in 1909 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. I remember it being docked below the St. Louis Arch. More information on the boat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldenrod_(showboat)

    More later.......
    #12
  13. WHITEHOUSE

    WHITEHOUSE Adventurer

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    Great ride report of a very chilly ride. "War of Northern Aggression" - great, Reminds me of a story of a West Point instuctor from the South teaching a Civil War battle with Union forces depicted in red (bad guys) and Southern forces in blue (good guys). Thanks for the great pictures and the effort to post the ride report.
    #13
  14. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Thank you for your comment.

    BTW I though the soldiers fighting for their independence were the good guys.
    #14
  15. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    The day stayed sunny and bright. The temperature rose into the 40. It turned into a beautiful day.

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    As nice as it was many of the roads were snow packed and tricky.

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    It was all fun.

    I ended up riding across the Mississippi into Louisiana, MO and to a very scenic overlook.

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    Rode south along the river and looking for eagles and checked out a couple of locks and dams.

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    I stay Sunday night in Hannibal, MO. If you are looking for excitement on a Sunday night don't go to downtown Hannibal, there is nothing happening.

    I'll be heading home to KC tomorrow.

    To be continued.
    #15
  16. rycomm

    rycomm Been here awhile

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    Eddie, I was thinking of your ride over the weekend. It was decent here. I didn't realize there was that much snow on the other side of the state.
    I've seen a couple of eagles in KCK, along the river.
    Ryan
    #16
  17. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Ryan, I knew they had snow but no idea they had that much.

    Next year you need to join me.
    #17
  18. rycomm

    rycomm Been here awhile

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    I would really like to go. I guess I just need to make it a point. Maybe I won't be working all weekends by then.

    Ryan
    #18
  19. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

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    Cool Beans! :D Descendants of Sacajawea, no kidding? :clap
    #19
  20. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    I like finding that type of history.

    I hope to finish the RR tomorrow thanks for checking it out.
    #20