Updated: Feb 4
Day 74 08/03/22
Right out the door this morning we suffered a flat. We hadn't even ridden the bike yet, we merely walked it down the driveway and bingo, a rock puncture. Better early than later I guess.
30 miles down the Katy Trail it was closed due to a downed tree. With my silver tongue I smoozed the backhoe operator and he let us pass through. Trouble avoided and we moved on to Saint Charles where we made a crossing over the Missouri river. Because we lost some time changing our tire it was already in the 90's with the heat index topping 100 degrees. We rode onto the bridge and felt like we had achieved another goal but it was short lived.
Just over the bridge we encountered a road closure due to another bridge being out; the detour road was under water as well and not passable. We were discouraged to say the least but we looked for a gas station angel and sure enough a new route emerged. That required us to head back over the Missouri river bridge which we did. After trying to find our bearings for a half an hour we got onto the Katy trail and rode it to the end. Arriving at the end (Machen) we stopped and took a long break. Both Sarah and I were extremely hot at this point. We ate some food, drank some water, took off our helmets and opened up our shirts to try to cool down; Sarah did this modestly, of course (she added that). It was brutal. We only had 13 miles left to our hotel but that felt like 50 miles. We rode off the Katy trail and onto the road. Within a couple of miles and we came to a work zone attended by a flag man. We rolled up to this guy and stopped because that is what his sign clearly stated. I asked him what was going on and he said his crew was trimming the trees off of the power lines. I'm looking down the road and I see a worktruck slowly moving on the other side of the road heading toward us. In the meantime Sarah struck up a conversation with this guy and he was more than happy to chat. But I am wondering how long this is going to take because I want to get out of the heat. So I ask him just that, but he didn't respond to my question. After eight to ten minutes the truck finally reaches us and it was actually painting the center line. The
Flagger says that he doesn't work for those guys which leaves me wondering what are we waiting for. As the truck passed us the flagger took his stop sign over to the other side of the road while saying nothing to us. I asked him again, "How long do you think it will be before we can go?" He said, "You can go anytime you want". And now I'm thinking some thoughts in my mind like, "You mean we didn't need to stand here this whole time when the truck wasn't even the company you work for?" Unfortunately, I finished that sentence with a few more words that I have left out for imaginative minds. As we rolled away I had a passenger who shared a similar thought but she expressed it in more gentler terms, "I guess he will have a long career as a flag man." One more obstacle stood in our way, the bridge over the Mississippi river. It turned out to be easier than we had anticipated and we stopped to celebrate that we had made it to Illinois.
Within 15 minutes we were eating Subway sandwiches and cooling off in an air conditioned building. The evening brought a huge thunder and lightening storm right outside our hotel window. Wonder what tomorrow brings? Around 10:00pm the rain, wind and lightening were out of control waking us up. It looks like we will not be riding tomorrow.
Rode 64 miles today.
Day 75 08/04/22
Raining today and we chose to stay put another day. It gave us time to do our planning for the last leg of our trip and do some grocery shopping.
Day 76 08/05/22
We had a longish ride planned for the morning and we hoped to be done before it got too warm. Leaving the air conditioned hotel and going into 95% humidity felt like walking into a steam shower. The air was so humid that we had to ride in fog for the first three hours. We lit up all the lights on our bike to make a statement to those operating a car: "WE WILL BE SAFE IF YOU DRIVE SAFE". The air was so full of moisture my hat was dripping, my shirt was dripping, my shorts were dripping and I even had to ring out my riding gloves. If anyone ever invents intermittent wipers for eyeglasses I will be first in line.
A few times we had people honk at us for being on the road under such foggy conditions but it did give us some relief from the heat. We came to the town of Greensville and found a great coffee shop where Sarah got a piece of lemon merainge pie and I enjoyed a cinnamon role. We rode into Vandalia fairly early and stopped by Walmart before we headed to our hotel.
Rode 63 miles today.
Day 77 08/06/22
This morning started out just like yesterday with 100% humidity. We have come to accept the new norm but we have also come to realize that Colorado has fantastic weather! We rode the first 20 miles mostly in fog but not much traffic so that was good. It was at our next stop in Effingham where the metaphoric wheels came off. Full disclosure, Sarah and I had our first big spat. It was all over navigation. We both had a part to play but we clearly reached the tipping point and we had to stop and clear the air. Maybe cooler heads could have prevailed but it was way to hot out for that. We calmed things down by going to the local farmers market that was held in the nearby park. Sarah bought a coffee and as we were drinking it a guy inquired about our bike and was interested in our trip. His parting comment to us was, "You guys must really love each other to take such a long trip." The timing could not have been more appropos. We came upon another road closure and once again we flagged down a driver who happened to be driving a Fed Ex truck.
Apparently a bridge was under construction and we needed to find a way around it. He pulled up a map on his screen and we mapped out a detour that was sketchy but at least we had a plan. He gave me two bottles of water and we were on our way. Within a half mile of the bridge we had to turn left onto the detour but right then a motorcycle pulled up and the driver told us the detour was a dead end. He also said the bridge looked like it was near completion and suggested we just go down there and talk to the guys working on the bridge and they would probably let us pass.
We had been in this predicament before so we decided to go for it. We rolled up on the bridge and the workers were waving their arms as they walked toward us. We kept on pedalling while they said, "You're not supposed to be on the bridge but go ahead." So we did just that, we went ahead and kept on pedalling and didn't look back. Ten miles down the road we stopped for a much needed Subway sandwich which really hit the spot. Our destination for the day was a KOA in Casey, Illinois. As we rolled into town we decided to stop for ice cream. We realized we were in the town a lady had told us about the day before. We ended up walking around looking at all the larger than life objects that were placed around the downtown. We saw the worlds biggest chair and pencil and barber pole and wooden shoes and mouse trap and ruler and bird cage and more. The flowers and gardens were also quite special. It is clear that someone had a genius idea to make their town tourist friendly.
We checked into our KOA cabin and immediatelty jumped in the pool. So refreshing!
We were both excited to be in a campground again and not a hotel. Cooking dinner and and watching the sunset was amazing. But then it happened, the magic of fireflies! They are fantastic but still not enough to convice me to move east of Colorado😜
Rode 72 miles today.
Day 78 08/07/22
We decided to get a later start today because we didn't plan on a long ride but our mini-fridge didn't work overnight so our breakfast was a little light. The morning was relatively cool out yet it warmed up fast as we had little cloud cover. Stopping along the way for water breaks we struck up a few conversations with locals. It was a little discouraging when we crossed into Indiana. One would think they would have a sign marking the occasion, but no. We had to roll out our own welcome mat. Not a whole lot to share about the rest of the day. We made it to Terra Haute, took a nap, and met some great folks while eating dinner in the hotel. Looks like we are going to be riding in some rain tomorrow😬
Rode 39 miles today.