Sunday, August 26: Richmond, IN KOA → Casey, IL KOA via Turkey Run State Park
Weather: Sunny and low 90sF with 60% humidity
Route: I-70W through IN → I-65W around Indianapolis → 38th St W → I-465S → US-136W→IN-234W → IN-47W → US-41S → detour on US-36W → IN-63S→Sandford Rd. W → US-150S (end of detour) → National Rd W → I-70 → IL-49N → Casey KOA
- It was dark at 6:00 when we woke up.
- our first (delicious) camping breakfast prepared, of course, by Hubby. He combined quick oats and steel cut oats with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, powdered goat’s milk and egg white protein, freeze-dried strawberries and bananas, plus a few sprinkles of turmeric, cinnamon and chia seeds before covering everything with boiling hot water. After the oats soaked up the water for a few minutes he added more water as needed.
- another 7:30 start to hike at Turkey Run SP before temps reached 90F
- a gas/coffee stop at Love’s Travel Plaza off I-70 Exit 115
- arrived by 10:00 at Turkey Run SP, paid the $9.00 entrance fee and got good trail advice from the Ranger at the Nature Center. I had been wanting to explore this geologically-unique State Park for some time so Hubby added an extra day to this year's trip itinerary.
- by 10:30 we were crossing the Suspension Bridge to Trail #3, past Wedge Rock and through Rocky Hollow. This part of the trail took us under trees, deep into the hollow following a small stream. It was cool but very humid, with mist still hanging in the hollow. From Trail #3 we followed Trail #10 to Camel’s Back (good hike but not much of a view at the end). By now Hubby’s shirt was drenched with sweat, even though the trails were not that challenging. Rejoining Trail #3 we climbed down one of the ladders then up the 140 steps to Trail #5 and made a loop through Boulder Canyon on Trail #9 (where there really were boulders to climb down). The sandstone walls and geology of these hollows and gorges were amazing – they look now very much like they did when Native Americans hunted here centuries ago. Following the stream into Falls Canyon (no waterfall today), we rejoined Trail #5 to Trail #3, passing the cool Ice Box cave before returning to the Suspension Bridge.
- it was 13:00 and the heat was too oppressive to hike any more. We needed to hydrate and cool off. Hubby chose to sit in the shade and read while I browsed through the Nature Center displays. Overall we were both pleasantly surprised that the geology was better in person than the website descriptions and glad we took the extra time to explore it.
- What we needed next was the yummy pita sandwiches that we made last night – two small pita rounds stuffed full of guacamole and roast beef. Hubby helped me finish a part of mine that was too much for me. More water and we hit the road.
- In Rockville, before the US-41 detour we stopped at an IGA to buy 2 plain garden salads, guacamole with black beans and a cucumber.
- The detour took us through picturesque Indiana farm country on empty roads and not that far out of our way.
- Crossing into Illinois took us into the Central Time Zone, making it only 14:30 when we pulled into the Casey KOA – plenty of time for a much-appreciated shower while Kabin K’s A/C worked hard to cool the interior.
- There was shade on the picnic table outside the kabin and a light breeze was cooling us enough to enjoy our salads, to which we added baby carrots, celery and an orange from home. After dinner we made another killer pita sandwich with roast beef, hummus and cucumber for tomorrow's road trip.
- the ground was unexpectedly wet -- even puddled -- from yesterday’s rain. An online Illinois State Water Survey Map showed why – the soil in this area has a high clay content so drains v-e-r-y slowly. With today’s temps, evaporation made the air very humid.
- there was a full moon tonight
About Casey KOA: This small property was near Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. It sat back from I-70 enough that the traffic noise was not very noticeable. The quick and friendly check-in included an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie for each of us. The older buildings were well-maintained and clean. The Kabins were the newer models with finished floors and sliding windows. Kabin K ($56.50/night) had a TV and A/C. The 24-hour laundry room also had a dishwashing sink and microwave. Wi-fi used the Kabin number as the signon password. No code was needed for the bathrooms. The driveways around the property were gravel with grass growing through it and today, puddles from yesterday’s rain.
About Turkey Run State Park: Indiana's 2nd oldest State Park may have taken its name from the pioneers who hunted the wild turkeys which flocked to these warm ravines in winter, but it owes its existence to Col. Richard Lieber, who had the foresight to preserve significant natural areas within a State Park System years before other States were doing it. Lieber has been called the "Father of Indiana State Parks".
The sandstone that makes up the canyons and ravines was formed by compaction of sand deposited at the mouth of the ancient Michigan River and then gouged out by glaciers. Coal seams formed from the swampy deposits in the area were mined until the early 1900s. We did not take time to visit the historic 1840s Lieber Cabin, near the Entrance Gate, missing an opportunity to see the oldest virgin timber log house in Indiana.