We are in our tent and ready to sleep after a long day (85 miles) of biking through rural Illinois. My hands are starting to regain feeling after gripping handlebars for most of the afternoon’s ride along county highways, with fewer than six inches of shoulder and tons of trucks and vacation bound RVs on the road with us.
There was a time when we were directionally challenged and ended up in line with a bunch of semis at a grain elevator, and a time when we were in the midst of a group of motorcyclists from the Sons of Satan biker gang, and several times when people (men) in trucks (of the jacked up variety) blew dark clouds of exhaust at us after passing us. But we arrived at Dallas City intact and in time to make a donation to the veteran’s memorial to some lovely women from town who stopped traffic at the main intersection and got donations in exchange for poppies, and we set up our tent in our $10 campsite next to the Mississippi river (which comes with the added benefit of trains blasting through every half hour or so), and had dinner at Ike’s down the road, which seemed like the typical small town bar and grill until the jukebox stopped and the karaoke started and it turned out everyone in town was there and queued up to sing their favorite (mostly country) songs. We were particularly pleased by the older couple that sang “I Left Something Turned On At Home” and “Stripes” (which includes the lyrics “I hate stripes, and orange ain’t my color/and if I squeeze the trigger tonight/I’ll be wearing one or the other”) and danced when other people were singing.
Our young waitress had a Bernie Sanders shirt on and when we told her she had left a bunch of things off of our check, she said “there’s too much going on here for me to keep track” and refused to add anything more so we just paid up and gave her a big tip and walked back along the train tracks to our campsite as the sun was setting.
Tomorrow we move on to Hannibal, MO, home of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens and we get a day off, which will be great incentive to keep me going on these tired legs.