Cairo, IL & Sam A. Baker on a KLR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KYMike, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. KYMike

    KYMike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, KY
    Let me offer a little background first. I'm 43 and have been riding since I was 41 :rofl. Actually, I rode a little in my 20's, but sold my last bike back in '97 as my family was starting. I've wanted another one over the years, but it just wasn't a top priority (and deep down I don't think my wife wanted me to have one). Our Golden Retriever of 13 1/2 years had died in 2006, so by 2010, my wife was ready for a new puppy (I was not). Long story short, she got a puppy, and I got a motorcycle :clap.

    I bought a 2008 KLR just because it was close, and a seemed like a good deal (actually my buddy said I would be an idiot if I passed it up). The below trips actually took place in 2010. However, my recent multi-day adventure (Michigan Loop - Mixing Business with Pleasure) inspired me to dig up these pictures and do another quick RR. Here's two short trips from 2010....

    Trip #1 - Memorial Weekend 2010
    For Memorial Weekend, I decided to visit my Grandmother in Fredericktown, Missouri. It would be the first long trip on a motorcycle (300 miles). Since I would be staying at her house, I didn't need to pack much. Here's the KLR ready to go. Many of you might recognize the top box, as it seems to be a favorite among KLR owners. Although I no longer have the bike, I do still have the top box if anyone is interested.

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    My trip would take me down the Western Kentucky Parkway through Paducah, then into Cairo, Illinois, into Cape Girardeau, Missouri and finally up to Fredericktown. My goal for today was exploring Cairo. We've driven through Cairo many times, but never stopped to look around. It's one big speed trap for sure (30 mph through town), and my wife finds it a little scary. Since I was alone, it was the perfect opportunity to look around.

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    I rode through the downtown area looking at all of the old buildings. Cairo is situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and at one time had to be a significant river city. From the looks of the buildings, that was a long time ago.

    Not sure what this 4-story building was, but it had a nice sized house next door.
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    I should have taken a better picture, but if you'll look at the 4th building from the left, you'll notice a lot of green. That building has collapsed, and had a tree growing in the middle of it.
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    I then found where you could drive through the levee onto the riverfront. This rail car was parked next to the opening.
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    Here's the levee road looking South.
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    Here's the bridge that connects Cairo with Wickliffe, KY. I had come in on this bridge just a short while earlier.
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    Here's a close up of a barge (apparently with lids - I didn't know they had lids) looking North. I believe the bridge in the background is just for the railroad.
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    As I turned to leave, I noticed the historical flood heights as shown in the levee wall. The record height was in 1937.
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    I really liked this building. Not sure if it was the 5-stories, the massive ivy growing up it's side, or the lettering along the top. Either way, I thought it was an impressive building.
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    While this visit was in 2010, Cairo experienced a record breaking flood in 2011. When looking for information about the flooding, I came upon this video of the 1937 flood. If you watch this video, I believe you'll see the above building at 3:48 as the fire truck is driving through town. I thought that was pretty cool given the 73 year gap between the flood video and my picture.


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  2. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,704
    Location:
    Somewhere East of Omaha....
    Nice report...you did about as well as could be expected with Cairo. Not much there worthy of a photo. And yes, they are dead serious about the 30 mph speed limit...especially with out-of-state plates:deal
    You were about a mile from my house when you stopped to put on your rain gear...pretty sure that is my friends grain truck in the background. Next time you are coming through Paducah, give me a shout.

    Going to have to check out Sam A. Baker State Park. I've spent a lot of time in the Cape area & wasn't aware of that one. Looks like an interesting place...guessing that the buildings were put up by the CCC back in the '30's.
    #2
  3. KYMike

    KYMike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, KY
    Just as in my Michigan Loop trip, I took this picture for my son. He's into old cinemas.
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    Cairo had it's share of nice buildings as well. I should have taken more, but here's a few churches...
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    ...and a nice mansion built in 1865.
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    After leaving Cairo, I made my way to Fredericktown, Missouri reaching my grandmother's house in late afternoon.
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  4. KYMike

    KYMike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, KY
    Trip #2 - August 2010

    I have a cousin who lives in Japan, and only comes to visit once a year. In 2010, he came in August right before my kids were starting school. It gave me a good opportunity to ride the bike again, and this time, I would be camping. I added ammo-can panniers to the KLR during the summer. They are mounted on a PackRat Rack, and I can't say enough how study this thing is (after welding, it's all one piece). Since the ammo-cans are so big (and my gear so small), I didn't need my top box on this trip. I have a fishing rod and fire log on the back instead. Here's the KLR loaded up and ready to go.
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    From the previous picture, you can probably tell I left early in the morning. It was a Sunday, and I was hoping to reach the campground by noon. I planned to snorkel and fish (basically do whatever I wanted) on Sunday, then visit my cousin on Monday.

    I believe this was the sun coming up in my mirror.
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    Finally a little brighter as I near Paducah.
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    I pulled off the highway and used this farmer's field to put my rain suit on. You can't tell in the picture, but rain was coming upon me quickly (although it didn't last).
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    I finally reached Sam A. Baker State Park, one of my favorite campgrounds as a kid.
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    I set up my tent, then took a few bike pictures.
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    My neighbor (in the background) was 1 of only 3 other campers staying Sunday night. They had two young kids. The older daugher (maybe 7) told me she liked my motorcycle.
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    Although I brought a fire log, most campgrounds want you to buy your firewood from them. As I was setting up my tent, many people were packing up and heading home. After they left, I simply walked to a few camp sites and picked up the extra wood. Yeah, I'm cheap like that.

    If you've never been to Sam A. Baker, I think this next picture says it all. There is a small river (I think it's Big Creek) that runs right through the campground. The water is crystal clear, which is why I brought my mask & snorkel.
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    I walked way up stream, then spent the next two hours floating back with my head in the water. Not only was it cool (like I said, the water is crystal clear), and relaxing, but I got to see where the fish were. Later I went back to the key spots with my fishing rod. Is that cheating?

    The next morning I packed up, got a parting shot, then headed toward Cape Girardeau. I should mention, the main road from Sam A. Baker to Cape (Hwy 34) was a blast on the KLR.
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    After visiting with my cousin, I headed home Monday afternoon. There's a rest area halfway between Paducah and Elizabethtown, located between the highways. I had planned to get gas there, and eat dinner. I had estimated my fuel range based on driving 60 mph. On the Western KY Parkway (doing 70 mph), I ran out of gas 8 miles short of the rest area. After switching to the reserve, I rolled in without a problem. After gassing up I bought a sandwich, chips, and drink and leaned against a tree out front eating my dinner. I can't tell you how enjoyable and relaxing that was.

    The next day (after giving the bike a bath), I take one final photo.
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