Last day in Illinois today! We ended it with a very flat (yes, I dare utter the word) ride into Chester, home of the infamous Popeye. We were able to get in 50 miles before 11:30am, a new record. That was due solely to the fact that the terrain was the flattest we’ve seen on this trip yet. It was fantastic. I jinxed myself in yesterday’s post where I said we were doing well with reading the map. We made a wrong turn today and ended up adding 5 miles to our trip. But because it was flat, it was no big deal.
Chester was a really cool city, a lot different than the Chester I’m used to. Popeye was everywhere and it had a lot of cute little shops. It was so nice, in fact, that we stayed there for 4 hours. Not of our own choice, however. The bridge to cross the Mississippi River into MO from Chester is narrow without a shoulder. It is also frequented by coal trucks and is not safe for cyclists. We had to wait for a police escort to shut down the bridge for us to cross. The police were unfortunately busy with a homicide (now that sounds like the Chester I know) and got there when they could. When they did arrive, we had the whole bridge to ourselves and crossed, which was pretty neat.
Missouri welcomed us with heat and wind. Fortunately, the first 8 or so miles were flat, but also barren. We got our first taste of what KS will likely be like. We were not huge fans. The rest of the ride turned hilly, but nothing too substantial. We are staying at a church in Ozora. The church itself does not have showers, but we were lucky enough to be blessed by two angels, Tina and Oliver, who welcomed us to use theirs. They live across the street from the church and frequently invite cyclists to use their showers or whatever they need. They were extremely friendly and we are truly appreciative of their help!
70 miles today, including our 5 mile misstep