After a few great days with John and Kate, I hopped back on the bike to get mov­ing south again..  The weath­er has been incred­i­bly warm, and this after­noon when I left was no excep­tion. I did bun­dle up in my rid­ing jack­et but jeans would have to suf­fice..  By after­noon, I was down to rid­ing in a long sleeved shirt for com­fort alone.

Most of the day has been spent on the Inter­state, in part to con­serve time, and most­ly because it was head­ing in the direc­tion I want­ed to go. By the time I got past the city of Mt. Ver­non, I was start­ing to get a bit peck­ish, but also kin­da frus­trat­ed that I couldn’t find food oth­er than chain restau­rants and fran­chised rapid-meals..  Yuck.  I’d actu­al­ly resigned myself to skip­ping lunch entire­ly and find­ing a good sup­per once I’d found my way back to in to the small towns again.   Only, this was Sun­day, and East­er was com­ing, so very lit­tle in the way of non-essen­tial ser­vices (oth­er than gaso­line, cheap tobac­co and fire­works again) were even remote­ly close to open..

After stop­ping at an estate sale in hopes of find­ing some good antique books (no luck..), I head­ed down the 45 free­way in the hopes that I’d make it some­where with a bit of food by night­fall.

In a bit of a lull, I found myself fly­ing down a stretch of open high­way, sur­round­ed by trees on both sides when I passed a small BBQ sign on the side of the road.  I didn’t quite clue in to what I’d read until in the cor­ner of my eye I noticed the restau­rant on the side of the road, and across a gul­ley that I was rapid­ly pass­ing.   Once I’d near­ly flat-spot­ted my tires, I hauled Thirsty­Girl around and head­ed back for the dri­ve­way..

Big Daddy's Barbeque

As I pulled up and tried to park my bike on the grav­el road behind the smoke shack, I was imme­di­ate­ly impressed by the smok­ers and the build­ing itself. There isn’t much to it, and to call the place rus­tic would be kind, but it’s an hon­est, no-non­sense kin­da place and the smok­ers were hand built. To me, this is pure heav­en.

Big Daddy's Smokers

Inside the restau­rant was built like a place you’d want to hang out.. Signs and mem­o­ra­bil­ia cov­er the walls, a col­lec­tion of mod­el cars and var­i­ous relics make the whole place awe­some!

Smoky Joe - Big Daddy's Barbeque Depot

Smoky Joe him­self has build most of the build­ing you see behind him, and the lac­quered bar­top tables under his arm. He took the time to sit down and vis­it with me after mak­ing an incred­i­ble plate of ribs up for me.

To be clear, I was so excit­ed about the food that I’d already dug in before real­iz­ing I need­ed to take a pic­ture for you.  I was in such a hur­ry to get back to my meal that the pho­to I did take was kin­da half-heart­ed.. It doesn’t do this phe­nom­e­nal meal any jus­tice, but take my word for it–SO tasty! :)  This was only half of my rack of ribs, the pota­toes are hand cut and the cole slaw made from scratch. Again, good, hon­est, food.  I can­not stress enough, how much I val­ue good, real food.

Make sure if you’re in south­ern Illi­nois, that you make a point of stop­ping in to Big Daddy’s.  It’s just off the high­way so be care­ful not to miss it, but you’ll find Smoky Joe there on the week­ends for sure..

Big Daddy’s Barbeque Depot

One mile north of 141 on 45, Nor­ris City

Open: Wed. & Thur 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Fri. & Sat. 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Closed Sun­day, Mon­day & Tues­day

(but call first: 618÷962−3602 I think he may have changed the hours.  I can’t quite seem to find the card with them list­ed!)

Try the ribs, try the samich­es!

 

Half rack of ribs

Joe was a true char­ac­ter, and we man­aged to talk pol­i­tics, cul­ture and local his­to­ry all in my short time there..  I was look­ing for a good place to camp for the night and he sug­gest­ed head­ing up to High Knob Camp­ground in the Shawnee nation­al for­est to watch sun­set with the eagles.

Which I did..

And in [THIS] spot you may even see a video if you check back..  My lit­tle lap­top had a ter­ri­ble time doing any sort of work with HD video so if it ren­ders before Sun­set tomor­row, I’ll post a video of the sun­set from tonight.. ;)

Turns out, this is a fan­tas­tic lit­tle hide­away, espe­cial­ly for horse and mule rid­ers..  More on that tomor­row..

And your map:

View Larg­er Map

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