In light of Justin’s birthday today and after 103 miles yesterday we decided that is was best to sleep in this morning. Which turned out to be perfect because another storm moved in and would have kept us from riding until noon anyways. The extra sleep was definitely needed and felt great.
Today the plan was to ride from Carbondale to Chester, approximately 50 miles. We could actually take two different routes, one through towns or one along the levees of the Mississippi River. We chose the levees.
Before leaving Carbondale we figured we should stop by a bike shop since there were three in the town. Justin picked up a few things and I talked to the mechanics a bit and admired all the new stuff I wish I could have.
Once on the road and headed out of town we finished up map #2 of the trip! The roads were in fair condition and since it was Saturday there wasn’t that much traffic. After riding a little over 20 miles we came across a bar called “Bottoms up”. (for those that know the song, yes I could not stop singing it) It was the only place around so I went in to see if they would feel our water bottles up for us. Interesting place. They really love their Keystone Light there. This is where we met Bob Linz outside. Bob from Cincinnati and is riding for the next year basically around the entire boarder of the United States. However he was currently having a set back due to an injury. He is planning on getting it checked out on Sunday or Monday. We wish you the best Bob and hope everything is good.
While talking to Bob we were informed that several of the roads in the area were closed due to the flooding that has been going on recently. So they gave us new directions which included, “go down this road (no distance mentioned) and turn left at the gray house.” Needless to say, getting out of there was an adventure which included still having to pedal through 6 inches of water on one road.
I did get a bit worried today I was riding when I looked down and found this in my tire. Thankfully it did not go all the way through the rubber and puncture the tube. It was close though.
While crossing the levees we ran into Ricky who drives down from Chester several times a week and rides a loop around the levees. He rode with us for several miles and we talked a great deal about the different professional cycling races in the states. Ricky had been to one in Missouri and met a few riders.
When we rode into Chester I was surprised at the mass amounts of Popeye (the cartoon) memorabilia. Turns out the creator was from here and based several characters on actual people in the town.
We had a pleasant birthday dinner for Justin at a local tavern that once served as the tavern and hotel along the Mississippi. Excellent! And not only was it Justin’s birthday, it is Gray Riley’s (our WILI liaison) too! Happy Birthday guys!
Tomorrow we plan to cross the Mississippi and into Missouri.
In light of tomorrow being Father’s Day, I would like to say thank you to my dad. My parents have been traveling with me the past week and it has been such a blessing to have them around each night. It is great to know that they care for my safety and are willing to take the time out of their hectic schedules to support me and Team Wooha’s efforts. It is incredible to see my dad’s enthusiasm every day as he tells each person he comes in contact with about the water crisis, what we are doing, and how they can help. I couldn’t ask for anything more of my dad. It is an honor to be called his son and I wouldn’t change anything about our relationship. Happy Father’s day! Love you Dad! Mom you are loved too. And thanks for always doing our laundry. Don’t know where I would be or what I would do without you guys.