Journal Entry #7
31 July 2001
Woo Hoo... One and a one half states left...As I write from Bardstown many thoughts cross my mind... Let me share...
Illinois, two days.
Coming into Illinois from Farmington was pretty incredible. Dan was ahead of us so that he could have Saturday off, so Steve, Paul and I biked by ourselves for two days. From Chester IL we biked on the Mississippi levee which was awesome cause there was NO traffic and completely flat. Another cool part was that the corn is tall enough to block the wind and keep you from seeing the road go on and on and...well you get the point. It also brought thoughts of next summer...we will have to change our name though... Men on Rafts... (Think Huck Finn) ;)
We stayed in Carbondale which is a pretty good sized town. They don't like bikers in City Parks too much there...so we tried to work the MoJo while gorging ourselves at the CHINESE SUPER BUFFET (screamed as if at a wrestling competition) but no one spoke English to us. We assumed some of the customers did, but they only gave us funny "did you realize that is spandex you have on" looks. So being resourceful as we are, stayed near a school building. It was kinda cozy in the 1000000 degree 100000% humidity behind the dumpster across from the other two dumpsters kiddy corner to the Catapiller front end loaders and bulldozers... You see the school was under renovation, when we woke up and it was light we found out is was a "special" renovation...removing asbestos. If we get sick later in life remind us of this...
It was one of those nights that was never forgotten, the swarm of mosquitoes knocking on the screen of the tent and the sound of water...I mean sweat...sloshing back and forth in the tent and the feeling of sweat oozing down your body onto your sleeping pad made the showerless night WONDERFUL... (please note extreme sarcasm)
10 hours in the tent and 3 hours of sleep and later...rain... Well, that made the tent warmer when we had to put the rain fly on and made us even more sticky and gross... Man I love this game...When do we eat?
So we got up, and made the wheels go round. Eventually caught up to Dan at Cave in Rock on the Ohio River. Thoughts of sleeping on the ferry tempted us but the 70% rain chance kept our mischievous ways at bay... So we slept on the picnic tables after saying goodnight to the police officers who came to check on the vagrants at the ferry dock. That nights sleep; much better. Enjoyed free showers at the State Park --"Which are for Camper Use Only" -- we camped...somewhere else.
6:30 AM crossed the river on the best 1/2 mile ever. Flat and under someone else's power...doesn't that break the rules somewhere??? Anyway then on to McD's for Breakfast Buffet!!! $4.76 for as many breakfast favorites as you want. Dan liked the most...heck he gave Paul a run for his money!!!!
We then made our way to Utica, but 5 miles away we sat and talked to the locals about the Tornado that was spotted just north of Utica. It was headed South West. We where coming from the West... We figured it would be best to wait a little. After arriving in town and noticing the saturated city the jokes about having to make up miles if we where thrown by the tornado stopped. But the jokes about riding through 4 inches of flooded road began!
Some people we met in Sebrea who are biking Westbound, told us that they heard bikers could stay in the Fire House so we went to check it out. John and Chris met us at the door. Not sure if we mentioned them before, but we originally met these two in Baker City. They biked a longer day when we took a rest day and had been ahead of us until now. We had been hearing that we were close to them because people mentioned seeing them, but didn't think we would catch them. They sure were a sight for sore eyes...I am tired of looking at Steve, Paul and Dan's tail ends!!! We have ridden with them since and are planning to finish together. Slowly but surely they are making cattle leaner, and are learning the ways of the MoJo...
John is 22 and is working on his Doctorate in Philosophy at Colorado University. He, like me rides fast so we wait for others a lot...gives me someone to talk to. Chris who is 23 is working on his Bachelors in Physics at Colorado State. It is amazing how well we all get along and it is great to have expanded our conversation topics to include people who haven't heard all of the same stories...
We have started a turtle relocation program to prevent many of them from becoming Road Kill Turtle Soup. The principle is quite simple. We pick them up, place them on the B.O.B. (bungeed in of course, for safety reasons) and relocate them about 20 miles down the road. They then have been relocated...Man we have great games...
John and I were ahead on the Funeral Home benches waiting, when one of the Amish carriages that were parading by surprised us. There where two attractive ladies our age in one of the carriages...We were doing sit-ups (to improve our girlish figure) when they went past, BUT THEY DID A DOUBLE TAKE TO CHECK US OUT THROUGH THE BACK OF THE CARRIAGE!!! I still can't believe it happened but man, is it funny!!!
We have under 850 miles until we finish and eleven days until the champagne and crazy antics begin. Well, I guess the crazy antics have been going on for the last 48 days... But our bikes will be in the ocean then. The feeling of bittersweet continues to grow as the end draws near. I can shave two more times on this trip and then we will have to go back to real world activities and responsibilities :( Until then we live by the philosophy, "Live each day to the fullest for we know how much it will suck in 12 days."
Jason, Steve, Paul, Dan...and I guess Chris and John too!!!