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DAILY REPORT: The weatherman was predicting a storm front moving in w/ thunderstorms in the afternoon. Conditions a southwesterly wind and the temp should be in the mid 80's. High humidity.
We wanted to be on the road by 0700 and try to out run the storm that was heading our way. We had a nice continental breakfast from the Tradition Inn Hotel. They had a staff baker that actually made their own pastries and squeezed their own grape juice. Talk about fresh!! Mary, the hostess who was keeping everything stocked and clean was very nice. She was very concerned about our safe travels. She was very nice.
We left w/ the sun shining and the temperature was aprox 65 deg. The humidity was so high you could cut it with a knife. Our sun glasses were continually fogging up. Other than that is was another nice morning bike ride. We had a few hills, gentle rollers and then we were in the Mississippi flood plane which was nice and flat.
We crossed over into Illinois via the Chester bridge spanning the mighty Mississippi. There was construction going on the bridge so traffic was slowed which was perfect for us cyclists. Even allowed me to take a few pictures as were passing over the bridge. I never knew before today that Chester, IL is considered home to Popeye. The cartoon creator, Elzie C. Segar was born in Chester. They have all the charters through out the town. It was pretty neat.
We had lunch in the first bit of shade Skip found when coming into Chester. Turned out to be the Evergreen Cemetery. Hopefully no one minded. We didn't hear any complaints!
We could see the thunderheads building in the sky so we were off for another 50 miles. Our route took us along the Mississippi and out along the Levee system. Pretty interesting. By then the wind was really picking up and unfortunately turned into ahead wind. We were almost out of water and happened to come across the "Bottom Up Family Bar and Grill." The owner, Kristie was kind enough to give us some water w/ ice. We would have loved to spend more time talking w/ everyone in the bar but we were trying to stay ahead of the storm.
Once we got back on the road, it was obvious it was raining in the direction we were heading. Nothing much you can do about the weather but keep going. We ended up really lucking out. For the next 25 miles or so the roads were wet but we saw no rain. Looks like the storm dumped and was being pushed to the North. Lucky for us; the report from Chester was there was 3 inches on water on the streets!! We never did get rained on but we were sure dirty from all the road grime. Today we completed our 13th century. Yahoo!!
We arrived in Carbondale a little before 1600 to the Super 8 Motel. The manager was nice enough to give us two free rooms. Turns out her husband is in the Army and is currently deployed to Afghanistan. God Bless!
For dinner we headed over to Steak & Shake because Skip had gotten a tip that they had the ability of putting two shakes together in one glass. That REALLY impressed with! When we got there Skip talked w/ the manager and before we knew it he offered to pickup our tab for the evening. Very nice of Dustin. The entire staff was very friendly and they were a pleasure to talk to. The food was great and the shakes were perfect. The boys had Red Bull iciers and Skip wasn't satisfied with just one shake so he had another.
On the way back to the hotel room we stopped at Barns and Nobles so James could pick up some reading material for one of his class this Fall. While we were driving I was hearing an abnormal noise w/ the trailer so when I investigated I had found the nut for the trailer ball had come loose. Glad we found that out early otherwise that could have been bad!!
The weather is not looking good for tomorrow. All day there is a 50% chance of thunderstorms/showers. Oh well, builds character!! Tomorrow we cross into our ninth state, Kentucky! On the way we will come close to my Dad's hometown of Eldorado IL. As a young boy when we used to visit my grandparents in the summer; I remember it being stifling hot and humid. The state hasn't changed!
Thanks for joining us.....ride safely and keep the wind to your back!!
The Riding4Hope Team
(David, John, James & Skip)
Signing out 7/29/09; 0115
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