I’m writing this entry a couple of days late so I think I’m just going to breeze through it and let you know some cool things we have been up to the past few days.
Day 17 was to Cave In Rock, Illinois.
We started out the day by stopping after 30 miles to watch the end of the World Cup Game USA vs. Slovenia. The stupid refs called back our winning goal and we became perhaps the only residents of Kentucky to ever get angry about a soccer game.
It’s hot. Rest stops are crucial. Sometimes it seems too hot to eat or drink and all you want to do is sleep.
This shot of Pepper and I is the only and best picture I have to record our crossing of the Ohio River that is the border between Kentucky and Illinois. Yes, we finally left Kentucky. My overall opinion is that it wasn’t so bad. I never got chased by a big dog, run over by a coal truck, or harassed by the locals. The hills were horrible, I’d say worse than Virginia. Phew, eastern Kentucky. Hot, humid, HILLY.
Illinois! Some of the boys from Carbondale had their parents meet us on the banks of the river with fresh, cold watermelon, grapes, and Gatorades. We sat on the banks of the river and enjoyed our fruit (we hardly ever get to eat fruit or veggies) and relished the fact we were in our third state of the trip.
These pictures are from the aptly name Cave In Rock. We camped near there. A shout out to Alex Pearlman's family for picking up our dinner tab a a nearby restaurant. I was starving and had some fried bluegill for the first time. I also ate approximately a million hushpuppies. So thanks again for the dinner, I’m sure it was expensive but you have no idea how much we appreciate any food, let alone free food.
The cave was so chilly and windy that it was like someone had turned on the AC. I wish we could have slept in there. But we decided it’s better to wake up covered in sweat rather than bat poop.
And boy, did we wake up. At 4am the night went from calm and sticky to cold and windy. A storm was blowing into camp and fast. I didn’t have my rainfly up so I was actually sleeping in a large mosquito net-enclosure. When it came to putting my rain cover on my tent (“work”) or knocking my tent down and jamming it into its bag (“less work?”), I picked the obvious choice. It sucked that I had to climb out of my comfy bed and immediately start disassembling it, but doing anything dry is better than doing it wet in the rain. In the panic of the brewing storm and due to the fact it was dark, I put my bike shorts on with my chamois on the outside. Perhaps this doesn’t make sense to you, but boy was it hilarious to my teammates who joked me about it for the rest of the day. I also put my underwear in my handlebar bag for some reason. It was shocking later when I went in for my phone or something and pulled out panties. Lesson learned: I cannot get ready quickly in the morning. At least not correctly. Oh yeah, anyways the picture is of us riding at first light of the day with our tail lights on.
Riding with Dan and Liza through a wildlife preserve very close to Carbondale. Carbondale is the site of our second (and final) rest day of the trip. We were so unbelievably excited to make it to Carbondale where we knew a pool and a whole day of not bicycling awaited us. It was a hard and hot 85 mile day and I’m not sure if we would have made it if we weren’t so stoked about Carbondale.
We made it. I didn’t take many pictures on the rest night and day because I was too busy not thinking about biking or blogging. It was a total rest day from everything. We set up shop at Seth’s house, swam in the pool, then headed out to a restaurant in downtown Carbondale called Thai Taste for what might have been our first ethnic food of the trip. Afterwards we went to a bar called Tres Hombres where they donated a keg to us! The above photo was taken after enjoying a few beers from said keg. Give us a break, we only get two nights off all summer to stay up late. Some of us stayed singing and dancing to the live band until Don had to forcibly remove us from the dance floor. The band donated a free CD to me to put on my iPod and listen to when I bike.
After waking up at the late hour of 8am on the rest day, we went over to help a woman with MS fix up her yard. It was pretty amazing to me to see how much 25 hardworking people can get done in a couple hours. We completely made-over her yard; chopping down trees, tearing down vines, weeding, putting down mulch, etc. Joan was so nice and grateful that we were helping her, so it was a rewarding experience in that way as well. It was odd that all of us were happy to spend one of our coveted days off to do work in the heat and help someone… but that’s just how awesome we are.
I spent the majority of the rest day in Seth’s pool on a raft drifting in and out of sleep. It was deserved and appreciated. A HUGE thanks to Seth’s parents for hosting us the entire time we were in town. They not only allowed 20 strangers to sleep on every floor of their house, they also provided us with never-ending coffee, casseroles, fruit, and beer. I felt like I was at a bed and breakfast the entire time. Excellent food was everywhere. They had some livestock and a garden so our breakfast casseroles were made with free-range eggs from their chickens and kale and tomatoes from their backyard. And petting their donkey and goats entertained me to no end. It was all that I could have asked from a rest day and we are all incredibly thankful to all of the Carbondale parents who made it possible. We are always under such mental and physical stress and it’s nice to completely relax for a day.
I love Bike the US for MS.