Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 31, Carbondale to Cheste, Illinois.

Inside the Master bedroom. All the comforts of home, and less.

This is the Eagles Lodge where they let us camp. We had all the needs of comfort.

Lisa was grouchy cause she couldn't find a restroom. But I managed to get her to smile for this one.

This is me. I'm always vmy pleasant self. Just ask me, I'll tell you.

Guess what the mane of this river is? That's right, "The Muddy River". Seriously, I'm not making it up.

This coal dump was located on the Mississippi levee. The coal gets transported via a conveyor system that delivers it to a waiting barge. That train, is easily over a mile long.

Transfering the coal from the train to the stock pile, then to the barge.

What is this you ask? Well, I guess you had to be there. But those are them buzard looking things that were circling this pond that was formed by the spillway of the levee where there were some kind of fish jumping. Lots of um. I tried to get pictures, but my DSLR's battery died, and all I had was my point and shoot.

d In places there was nothing. Nothing, with a capital N. I could have laid in the road for an hour, and still have all my guts in tact.

This vold barn looks like it suffered some storm damage. Some we saw were completely destroyed.

This is the Post Mistress in Gorham. I can't remember her name, but she refilled our water bottles and gave us candy. People we meet along the way have been so nice to us where ever we go.

My little point and shoot does not do this scene justice. We had just come off a scenic route that horseshoes around almost 180% from right to left. Why? When you find out, tell me.

This was one of the few times we had a shoulder as wide as a full lane of traffic. If only it were like this all the way. We could probably even camp on it.

This is the low lying flood plain area. The roads are ellevated, and the levee keeps the flood waters from damaging the farm land. At least it is supposed to.

Day 31, Carbondale to Chester, Illinois. The Mississippi Levee. 51.59 miles.

Rest days are always good. It gives us a break from the daily grind of pedaling our bikes for days on end. I look forward to these breaks, and wish that we could have more of them so I can really get to know these new found places. Our stay at Carbondale was both good and bad. The good part was that we had our bikes serviced, was able to eat good, and catch up on e-mails and our blogs. The bad part was that we weren’t able to stay at the Super 8 like we had planned because they didn’t have room. The Motel 6 was a disappointment since it was in the bad part of town. Run down, and not safe to be out at night. I guess sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.

We left Carbondale late. We had anticipated bad weather in the morning, and late afternoon. We didn’t want to ride in the rain unless we absolutely had too. Our bikes were like new now, I could really feel the difference. ………… We rode on the side walks till we got out of town. The roads were pretty busy at this time, and cars were flowing steadily in both lanes. Once on the back roads, the traffic fell off dramatically, and we were once again rolling along at our usual pace. It was mostly flat today, the land scape consisted mostly of low flood prone wet land, some still filled with standing water from the previous rains from the past few days. Our route took us onto the levee that holds back the over flow from the Mississippi River. These levees are pretty high. I would saw 20 to 30 feet. Riding on them gives us a good view of the surrounding farm lands. The land around here lacks character. Not good for photographing. But I did take pictures along the way just so I can have a record of all the places we’ve been. We didn’t bother to get snacks in Carbondale, because Murphysboro, another large town was only 8 or 10 miles away along our route. What we didn’t know, was that our route would by pass Murphysboro completely, and there would be nothing for the next 28 miles. It was sunny and hot, but we had a breeze blowing from the north west, slightly into our face. We both were low on water as we entered the town of Gorham. The town was so small, that all there was nothing but a Post office. We stopped in so Lisa could mail a post card. The Post Mistress was kind enough to fill our water bottles, and give us a hand full of candy. It was funny, because she thought that Hawaii was an international destination, and was going to charge Lisa accordingly. She told us that there was a town four miles down the road that had a restaurant. So we headed there for lunch. Once we reached Neunart, we found the restaurant. It was the only establishment in town, but well worth the stop. The special of the day was home made vegetable and beef soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for five bucks. I must say, that was one of the best meals I’ve had for the money.

We continued on with almost no traffic. These roads are very straight for the most part, so you can see cars coming from miles in either direction. We rode side by side for miles on end. Once we reached the levee, we climbed up a short distance, and was able to see the Mississippi River just a few hundred yards away. On one side, Illinois, and the other, Missouri. The Illinois side was low lying farm lands, and the Missouri side thickly forested swamp land. I expected to see alligators swimming around. But Lisa reminded me that there were none this far north. We came to this large coal dump. A place where the trains bring coal to be loaded on to barges that would take it down south. There were mountains of coal. There was only one train there at the time. It was quitting time when we arrived, as we saw the workers leaving for the day. The train was the longest I’ve ever seen. It was more than a mile long. Way more. Since the battery for my DSLR had died, I was only able to shoot with my little point and shoot camera. So don’t be disappointed when you see these shots.

Once we left the levee, we got on to HWY 3 which was a main artery for the large coal trucks headed for the port. The road has no shoulder, and the coal truck haul ass. We found ourselves getting off the road when ever one of these would fly by. Not a good feeling to say the least. For 11 miles we played this game. Once we reached Chester, the roads widened up, and we were able to ride on the side walks again. It was almost 5 in the afternoon by now, and all we wanted to do was find our camp site for the night.

Tonight we are at the Eagles head quarters in Chester. They are something line the lions Club., and they let touring cyclist stay for free. They have showers, and rest rooms, and a restaurant and bar. Once settled in, we showered and had dinner there. The food was really good, and reasonably priced. We met friendly people there, and spent the evening engaged in conversation. Lisa did most of the talking, since she communicates well with drinking people. It was all good, I enjoyed myself.

Thank you all for giving us strength, your moral support is much appreciated. And thank you Lord for all things good, for a safe journey, and for family and friend like you. Aloha to you all, Ted.

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