Monday, September 12, 2016

Search For The Mystery Country Church

The Moline family farm- Namesake for Moline Road
Saturday the weather broke and it was rather cool and Fall-like. The massive humidity was gone and the Northwest wind was brisk. I decided to go check out a bit of a mystery concerning this coming weekend's Geezer Ride course. I set the course up to be a kind of "tour of country churches" to keep the riders engaged on the 42 mile course. While perusing the maps, I kept seeing a church marked on the maps that I couldn't ever remember seeing before. I casually made note of the location when I went off on recon a week or so ago, but never saw it. I mean, how hard can a church in the country be to see?

Granted, this "church" was off the road by maybe a 1/4 mile up a drive that went North and then bent back Westward, but if it was anything like most traditional, rural churches, you'd be able to spot the steeple a mile away. I went on recon, but never saw anything in the general vicinity that I remembered the map saying I should see a church.

So, I went back home and got the map up on the computer and made a special note of the location, and planned to find it next time I went out, which was Saturday. I took the Black Mountain Cycles "Orange Crush" bike and stuffed my notes into the front bag, just in case I forgot where I was to be looking specifically. I was determined to find this place, and my whole ride was centered around getting to its location and back again.

A quick stop to rest after plowing into the wind for miles at Bennington School.
The wind was pretty stiff and the rollers on Moline Road were tougher as a result. I plugged along well enough. It seems all weariness from Gravel Worlds has been passed now. I was fueling with Elete in the water and my flattened bananas which I have found to work out quite well. I had a bite at Bennington School House where I decided to rest for a bit. Just a few miles North from there and I'd be on Marquis, the county line road, and then West to find this "mystery church".

Well, I looked, and I saw a driveway, with a few farm outbuildings and a home, but I did not see a church. I rode by slowly, looked back several times, but......nothing. Either that or I couldn't see it and it really was there. Hmm..... Oh well. Onward.

I went up Marquis Road to Burton Avenue and saw the old East Janesville Church, then moving South, I passed St. Pauls Church. The wind was at my back then, and I was flying along. The roads were smooth, almost "hero gravel" like, but there were still patches of loose gravel. The roads were packed in due to all the heavy rain we had in the previous days last week. I expect that by the time the Geezer Ride happens that we will see more fresh gravel as the county maintenance crews get busy and "repair" the damage from the wet weather. We'd be too lucky to have the roads this nice next weekend!

The flowers are on the wane, but there were several ditches marked with yellow ones like these yet.
Old East Janesville Church
So, I rolled on back home and wondered the entire way where the heck this church was that I couldn't see. Was it burned by fire and gone? Was I wrong about where it was located? I wasn't sure. It was a mystery for sure.

Anyway, I suppose some of you are thinking, "Google earth, you knucklehead!", and I will admit, I am aware of it. I just didn't want to do it that way. I wanted to discover it on my own, so to speak, and looking at the satellite images before hand kind of takes away from the experience for me. However; I had exhausted all options short of trespassing on private property to investigate "up close". So,when I got home, I fired up the Google Earth and checked it out.

Well, Google Earth shows that there is a church there after all. I guess we'll just have to stop and gawk from the road if we can this coming Saturday and see if we can make it out. Otherwise, there are five other easily seen churches on the route, an old cemetery, (likely an old church site), and Bennington School. So, we'll get to see some historic, old, rural landmarks that have seen a lot of time and history pass them by. I know my European readers will chuckle at the thought of a "mere 100 plus year old building" as being special, but hey! It's what we have here! This land hasn't been settled for very long, which is something we tend to forget.

By the way, the Geezer Ride Page has been updated with a link to the map of the course. CLICK HERE


Jim Mearkle said...

Sorry for going off topic, but where did you get that bag?

Guitar Ted said...

@Jim Mearkle- It is an out of production bag/former company called Cristobal. Too bad they don't make these anymore.