Day 26: Kentucky & Illinois

Another sunny morning, the second in a row, but this one vastly more frosty than the previous. The biggest problem with frost is that all that water stays stuck to things- and then melts- so it’s difficult to dry things off, even if you whack as much ice off them as possible.

If you have any tips, I would love to hear them.

I got going through what I pretty quickly realized is chicken factory farm territory, complete with company-owned farms and hatcheries, which oddly have signs that say “work carefully, someone who loves you is expecting you home tonight.” I assumed until that point that a chicken hatchery is a place where baby chickens are hatched, but perhaps there is some dinosaur hatching at work here too? More flat lands meant more smooth and quick riding, and before too long I moved out of sad chicken territory and into tobacco, oil well, and power plant territory! Tobacco is a curious plant- it actually smells very nice when it’s hanging out to dry, a sweet and leafy smell, but burning it creates a smell somewhere between melting brakes and PVC fires that I don’t believe anyone actually enjoys. Truly, one of the marvels of organic chemistry.

Passing into yet another agricultural area, which I’ll call “The Corn Zone,” I found a tantalizing clue to a mystery that’s haunted me for years: the DeKalb corn sign that’s hanging in our basement. Where is it from? What does it mean? Who is DeKalb? Well, today I found one that’s very similar at the edge of a cornfield, leading me to surmise the DeKalb is a company that breeds varieties of corn for commercial growth. I don’t want to check that online, because it would ruin the mystery, but it sounds like a good hypothesis to me. (My previous hypothesis was that DeKalb was someone, a distant relative perhaps, who had run for some political office, and their campaign icon had been an ear of corn.)

Continuing onwards, I found (to my surprise) that I would be taking a ferry across the Ohio River into Illinois, and (to my very great surprise) it was free! Once over the border, I realized that although my goal for the day had been met, there was still plenty of sunlight, and I had already gone 92 miles… So I pushed onwards for the second century of the trip, making it to Elizabethtown, Illinois before making camp.

Checking the weather, tomorrow appears to be a better day than I had anticipated- rains falling mainly from 1000 until 1300, which should give me some time to do laundry (vastly necessary) and some reading before continuing onwards across Illinois and into Missouri.

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