Yesterday was a long day, but nothing too crazy. A lot of the trail was shaded and the sun didn’t get too intense until the end of the day. We took an alternate route to avoid a series of hills and to enjoy a couple of miles on a gravel bike path. I had flashbacks to last summer’s Eerie Canal tour.
Towards the end of the ride we hit a couple of nice lakes. Despite the ominous name (Devil’s Kitchen Lake), it was a truly beautiful spot.
The roads in IL are not well maintained and are riddled with potholes. In addition to avoiding not so friendly cars, we also have to keep a mindful eye out for impending road doom. The roads are also not well marked, attributing to many people taking wrong turns. While some people benefitted from it by cutting 20 miles off the ride, others found themselves on narrow roads without a shoulder side by side with coal trucks. Due to good diligence to the map details, we avoided any unfortunate missteps. Yesterday everyone got in later than normal after 82 miles, but Sheena still managed to pull off a great spaghetti dinner.
Today was a rest day in Carbondale, IL. We took our bikes to a local bike shop and got them tuned up before we cross into MO and conquer the Ozarks. The mechanic was impressed by my bike, complimenting me as having taken “immaculate care” of my bike. Never would’ve guessed that. He adjusted everything, replaced the chain, and even fixed my bike computer. The old girl is shifting like new and is running like a well oiled machine. Tomorrow is our last day in IL, hopefully MO welcomes us kindly.