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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-26-09, 06:56 PM   #1
jboyd
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Tunnel Hill Trail Today (+pics)

Everybody has some special biking related area where they live that makes the rest of us a little jealous. When I see pics from the NW, CO or UT, I wish I was there. The East and North East is rich with history. The south always gloats with its ride pics when most of the rest of us are iced and snowed in tight. And of course Mr. Beanz has it all.

Well, about once a month I get to ride THE TUNNEL HILL TRAIL. This is a great rail trail in Southern Illinois about 20 minutes from my house. The trail is 47 miles long from end to end. You can get rock bluffs, deep woods, wetlands and farm land. My favorite ride is a 20 mile "out and back" (10 each direction) that is truly two different trips. Starting from the Vienna (pronounced VI-ANNA) trail head going north, for ten miles that take you through numerous rock cuts, over 8 trestles, one which is 90ft high and over 500ft long, and up to and though an amazing train tunnel that is almost 600ft long and goes completely pitch black for most of the ride through. All you see is the light at the end and you have zero sense of where the walls are. Everyone who experiences it for the first time, is completely freaked out.

What makes this particular ride nice is that the first 10 miles is all uphill. Not much at all, but enough to know you have gained altitude. So the ride back treat you with low resistance and all the stuff you didn't see on the way up.

Here is a link to all the pics: http://s425.photobucket.com/albums/p...Tunnel%20Hill/

And here are a few that I picked out.




Approaching the Tunnel



Entering. You can see the date of the tunnel at the top. 1929


As you can see, there are ghost orbs inside this thing :-o


Inside looking out


Several of these rock cuts that were just wide enough for the train. you would not have wanted to be in one of these when the train came through.


Ok, I am getting better at this shooting myself thing.


Again, I am lovin the macro setting on the camera.


You don't see this sign everyday. I am glad there is a telegraph there. I can conserve the battery on my Blackberry.


My trusty steeds
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Old 04-26-09, 07:11 PM   #2
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Ahhh Cool nice pics! Nice area too!...Is it me or is that tire like taller than your waistline? That's one BIG wheel!...
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Old 04-26-09, 07:41 PM   #3
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Where does it go from Vienna, jboyd? I used to live in Cdale long ago, so I'm somewhat familiar with the area. I'm guessing it goes east-west across Little Egypt?
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Old 04-26-09, 07:51 PM   #4
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Where does it go from Vienna, jboyd? I used to live in Cdale long ago, so I'm somewhat familiar with the area. I'm guessing it goes east-west across Little Egypt?
Hey Billydonn,

The Trail originates on the north end at Harrisburg and runs through Carrier Mills, Stonefort, New Burnside, Tunnel Hill, Vienna, Karnak and finally ending at the Cache River Nature Center a couple of miles past Karnak.

I assume you went to SIU? I live at Anna, just south of Cdale.
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Old 04-27-09, 06:31 AM   #5
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Thanks, just what I need. Another trail I need to ride sometime.

Tunnels are fun. My upcoming tour has seven tunnels on the Montour and Great Allegheny Passage trails and C & O Canal towpath - Enlow, National, Greer, Big Savage, Bordon, Brush, and Paw-Paw.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:39 AM   #6
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Ahhh Cool nice pics! Nice area too!...Is it me or is that tire like taller than your waistline? That's one BIG wheel!...
That is a camera perspective error. Comes from the tire being closer to the camera than the rider.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:09 AM   #7
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That is a camera perspective error. Comes from the tire being closer to the camera than the rider.
It is actually more complicated then that. It is a combination of the factors. First, you are correct that it is a camera perspective error. But it is compounded by the fact that the tire is a 29" fat knobby, and then to add to the effect, the subject in the background is a short chubby guy
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Old 04-27-09, 09:13 AM   #8
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Man if I had a place like that to ride, I would do more off road. Very nice, thanks for the pics!!!!
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Old 04-27-09, 09:17 AM   #9
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Nice report and pics. There is a rails to trails ride here, that I hope to do this summer. The most amazing thing to me is there is NO graffiti on the tunnel walls.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:22 AM   #10
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Nice pics. I wish I had some areas like that.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:40 AM   #11
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That looks like a really fun ride, and not to awful far from me. Is the trail gravel, i could not really tell, but I might have to make a Saturday trip that way and try it out. Just need to know if I need to put my old knobby tires back on.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:44 AM   #12
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Thanks!
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Old 04-27-09, 09:51 AM   #13
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Nice Pics. Nice Trail. Nice Bike. I was thinking it was a 29er, either that or you were really, really short (not that there is anything wrong with that
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Old 04-27-09, 11:38 AM   #14
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Nice Pics. Nice Trail. Nice Bike. I was thinking it was a 29er, either that or you were really, really short (not that there is anything wrong with that

For perspective, I am 5' 10". About average till you wrap it with 255# of me

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That looks like a really fun ride, and not to awful far from me. Is the trail gravel, i could not really tell, but I might have to make a Saturday trip that way and try it out. Just need to know if I need to put my old knobby tires back on.
Davin, the very fine gravel chip. I see lots of comfort bikes with slicks and some road bikes with wider tires from. Really a little of everything. I went off trail at the lake and looked at flood damage fro last year below the spillway and absolutely needed the knobs, but otherwise no need.

btw......Where is not to awful far?
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Old 04-27-09, 12:25 PM   #15
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btw......Where is not to awful far?
Just South of Evansville IN. About an hour and a half from Vienna. It looks like a really good trail for my wife and i to make a day trip to.
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Old 04-27-09, 01:53 PM   #16
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looks great
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Old 04-27-09, 02:31 PM   #17
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That is a nice trail. I've been there once. It is too far for me to make it a day trip, so I camp out at one of the state parks. That tunnel is freaky. I went through about ten times!

Here's a video I took while riding through. It's a little shakey but I did it no-handed and one-handed while looking through the camera. Kind of give you an idea of what it's like if you've never been there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4b_QwHGWH8
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Old 04-27-09, 06:56 PM   #18
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Old 04-27-09, 07:15 PM   #19
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jboyd thank you for the pics they are awesome. much to my embarassment I've never heard of this bike trail and I live in Pinckneyville. Do you know any other good trails in the area. I'm gonna do the Tunnel Hill trail as soon as weather and work allow. Thanks.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:25 PM   #20
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jboyd thank you for the pics they are awesome. much to my embarassment I've never heard of this bike trail and I live in Pinckneyville. Do you know any other good trails in the area. I'm gonna do the Tunnel Hill trail as soon as weather and work allow. Thanks.
Magnum Man, You should be embarrassed Do make the time someday. It is well worth it. October is the best time to ride the tunnel.

As far as other trails, there is the Trail that runs around the State Park over at Rend Lake. I think it is almost all concrete and asphalt. And, you have that labyrinth of roads that snakes around and through Pyramid State Park just south of Pinckneville.

Funny how we consider our home rides too common for us. I spend many weekends over at Cape Girardeau, MO
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Old 04-27-09, 07:31 PM   #21
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That is a nice trail. I've been there once. It is too far for me to make it a day trip, so I camp out at one of the state parks. That tunnel is freaky. I went through about ten times!

Here's a video I took while riding through. It's a little shakey but I did it no-handed and one-handed while looking through the camera. Kind of give you an idea of what it's like if you've never been there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4b_QwHGWH8
The video was great. I shot a great video with a helmet cam of the tunnel and trestles a couple of years ago and set it to music and the youtube nazi's got me for copyright and took my video down.

btw..... Don't ever touch the walls on the inside of the tunnel. I got disoriented one time and rubbed the wall and it took days to get the black stains off my skin
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Old 04-27-09, 09:16 PM   #22
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Hey Billydonn,

The Trail originates on the north end at Harrisburg and runs through Carrier Mills, Stonefort, New Burnside, Tunnel Hill, Vienna, Karnak and finally ending at the Cache River Nature Center a couple of miles past Karnak.

I assume you went to SIU? I live at Anna, just south of Cdale.
Yep... SIU... lived out of town on the "Giant City Blacktop" just above DeSoto NF. But I got around the area quite a bit- Makanda, Goreville, etc. and even Vienna/Anna area, which used to be an antiquing haven as I recall. I loved it down there and have many fond memories. Riding the City of NO to Chicago! Ah... what days....

Note to BF members: Southern Illinois really is quite nice!
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