21. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 14 – May 21 – Farmington to Carbondale · Categories: 2016 Ride

IMG_1962 250A fantastic day of riding from Missouri to Illinois. Before I left we had our call with Austen who is celebrating his birthday today. In his second year of architecture, I don’t think he has much time to celebrate but his friends did take him out for breakfast.

I finally left Farmington, Missouri in the sun and headed through town and picked up the Trans America Trail. This year the TAT is 40 years old and there are lots of activities to celebrate. The terrain this morning was perfect, pavement smooth and no wind so it was only a couple of hours I had 45 miles behind me and was at the Mississippi River.

The ride was through farmland and the perpetual, self-propelled roller-coaster continued although some of the hills were not as steep or as long as the Ozarks. Out of Farmington I made a wrong turn and after a five-mile downhill realized I was on the wrong road to had to back track … so a few bonus miles were ridden today to make up for the shortfall before Springfield. I was glad it was such a beautiful day and didn’t mind being on my bike at all

popeye1 440I stopped with Heather and had an early lunch by the Mississippi River and then wandered up the hill to Chester, Illinois which is also on the River. We didn’t realize that Chester is the place where Popeye The Sailor was created based on local community characters. They had Popeye statues, murals and tributes to the various characters.

Coming from Chester I headed down to the river for a nice ride to turn on the levee roads to get me to Murphysboro. Unfortunately I was not paying attention and when I went across the train tracks I had a crash. As a sprawled on the tracks I was glad a train didn’t come by as it took me a few minutes to pick everything up and get my bike going. I visualized a Popeye comic strip with Olive Oyl tied the train tracks as a frantic Popeye tried to save her. No one was in a hurry to save this ageing cyclist wearing Spandex.

As my friend Ian says, “Wearing Spandex is a privilege, not a right.” I had a long haul to Murphysboro and noticed my gears were a mess as I had bent some parts. I stopped a couple of times to see if I could straighten things out. The levee roads were flat, and along the Mississippi River flood plain, so there’s lots of agriculture. There were wetlands along the way with all sorts of birds and some areas had large groups of turtles sunning themselves.

Bike-Surgeon 250The wind had picked up and a couple of corners I nearly came to a stop as the wind hit me head on. I finally made it to Murphysboro and then on a short way to Carbondale to see The Bike Surgeon. They did a fantastic job of straightening things out all for the price of $5.


carbondalecycle-1 250They were concerned about one part that they didn’t know would hold so recommended a trip up the street to Carbondale Cycle to see if I could get a spare hanger. Carbondale Cycle did not have the part but ended up taking it off another bike so I would have a spare. Both cycle stores went out of their way to help and I was very grateful for their hospitality and care.

I stopped for the day at Carbondale and will head out tomorrow to get to the Ohio River for lunch.

IMG_2001 250 I also picked up dog repellent because both bike stores said there are lots of dogs in Kentucky that will try and get cyclists.

Today I had at least three come after me and only one that had intentions to bite me but I managed to scare him off with a poke in the nose. One dog crouched in the deep grass and when I came by he lunged out at me. I think I scared him with my screams as much as he scared me when he jumped out. Should be an interesting few days through Kentucky.

Beautiful day today and looks like the weather will be good the next three days. We have about 1,100 miles to go so some long days to make it to our deadline. We are still have a “spot” problem but I hope to have the GPS working tomorrow. I noticed today it picked up a few locations so hopefully back on line tomorrow.

Take care and we’ll be in Kentucky tomorrow when we cross the Ohio River. Just two states to go!

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