Date: Oct. 13, 2009
From: Waterloo, Illinois
To: Chester, Illinois
Route: Hwy. 3 South
Miles Today: 43 miles
TOTAL MILES: 2,470 MILES
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: Cold with a low of 44 degrees and a high of 50 degrees, cloudy and foggy=lots of moisture in the air
License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois (Today, on the 2nd day in state)
Broken Spokes: 3 (#3 today!)
Today it was cold enough to break out the neoprene booties. Cold feet instantly became happy feet when we tugged those babies on. You certainly wouldn't want to put these on in a hurry! We rode without them for the first 15 miles or so but the 44 degree weather finally forced us to bundle up a bit more. The temperature hovered between 44 and 48 all day and reached a high of 50 degrees around 4:30P.M. when we reached our destination, Chester, Illinois home of Popeye! We will now get back on our TransAm route, cross southern Illinois and then head into Kentucky.
We already see the advantages of being on an established bike route. We pulled into Chester and stopped at the convenience store for directions to the F.O.E. (Fraternal Order of the Eagles) where our maps tell us we can camp. While Mike and Gregory were inside asking for directions, Andy pulled up in his van and also gave me directions. I also got the scoop that the F.O.E. was having a half chicken dinner special for $3 tonight. Once we arrived, Donna showed us that we could camp under the pavilion and would have bathrooms and a hot shower. As we brought our bike around, Larry, the president, offered us the option of setting up in the building they are constructing just for cyclists. They had yet to build the bunks but we could camp on the floor of the building. We opted for under the pavilion in our tent so we could be closer to the bathrooms and main building. The shower was steaming hot and felt great and we had a delicious and relatively inexpensive dinner up in the F.O.E. hall.
Back to this morning... we stopped in at WalMart in Waterloo to pick up Calcium, shampoo and a couple of other things including a new face mask for Gregory. We were glad we did because he would have really been miserable without it in this weather and somehow we've misplaced his other one. He was thrilled that the only option was in camouflage and he wore it all day. Our WalMart greeter was John, who sang us a little song and was interested to hear all about our bike.
We added layers as the day went on and at the end of the day I was wearing: bike shorts, tights, rain pants, short sleeve jersey, long sleeve jersey, fleece jacket and rain jacket not to mention my balaclava (face mask). I also had on winter socks, shoes, neoprene booties and rain booties. I was actually quite comfortable and toasty all except my nose which wouldn't stop running! I can't cover that because my glasses steam up too bad!
I started hearing a funny sound when we would coast but it went away while we were pedaling so we ignored it for a while, that is, until we stopped at a historical marker. There we found our third broken spoke of the trip. Mike's comment was, "This is getting old." We just had the last spoke repaired in Ferguson, MO and have only ridden on the bike two days since then. The bummer about the broken spoke is that we have to take all panniers and the trailer off the bike, flip it over and remove the spoke and then true the wheel. Mike has to dig his tools out of the B.O.B. bag and to top it off, this spoke broke leaving an inch and a half of spoke attached to the hub. We didn't want it to get caught in the gear cluster so had to use electrical tape to tape it to the other spokes. My hands are smaller so I got this tricky job and christened the cuffs of my new Showers Pass rain jacket with chain grease. Ugh. I got it done though! The other tough part is that we were standing around in the cold. It is much more comfortable when you are pumping away at the pedals and keeping the body heat up.
Unfortunately, Mike had a "bad knee day". This affects all of us, but me especially because I have to try to pick up the slack. I was giving it my all and getting frustrated on the climbs when I felt like we were dogging it really bad. At one point I stood up and gave it my all saying, "Let's get this beast moving." At the crest of every hill I was very thankful for the downhill except that a downhill in cold weather isn't quite as welcome as it is on a warmer day. The wind bit into our faces and sent chills into our bones.
Today was also a day filled with lots of road kill that sent unpleasant smells wafting our way. A couple at breakfast mentioned that we would pass a skunk not long after we left the Super 8 and sure enough we did. That was skunk #1 of 3 and we also saw 4 raccoons, 1 opossum and a poor little gray kitty cat. This is one of the more unpleasant aspects of cycling although it obviously gives us something to do, count critters that is! Ha!