So I'm a little sleepy tonight, so I imagine this post won't be incredibly long. Which is fitting since my day wasn't too incredibly interesting. However, before going into any serious details about today's ride, here are just some asides and initial reflections on the trip. It's almost over. So sad.
I would say that my journey is pretty much broken up in my mind as the 1) California/Nevada - getting the body in shape, serious heat, and long stretches of nothing 2) Utah - physical pain, dry air, and beautiful canyon landscapes 3) Colorado - low oxygen levels, green hillsides and mountain peaks, nice roads and interesting meetings 4) Eastern CO, Kansas, Missouri - flat but scenic, life moves slower, people are generally nice or genuinely scared of people in spandex, small towns with lots of character, 5) Illinois - feels like home and recognizing familiar
So far, I've actually hit 8 states so far, lost 5 pounds, changed 5 tires, eaten at least 100 peanut butter crackers, burned one billion calories, ridden 2800 miles, and climbed about 90,000 feet of elevation. I should make that into some type of graphic.
So the last two days have been spectacular because Fern and Sam have been so nice to carry my trailer so I've been riding about 50 pounds lighter. So while I'm huffing through the bluffs of Western Illinois, my belongings have been getting a beautiful tour of Illinois, the Quad Cities, and other interesting things in the Mississippi River watershed.
Today as I said was fairly standard. I had a 98 mile ride today that started across the Mississippi River from Keokuk and crossed into Illinois. Some interesting highlights include seeing the origins of Illinois Route 9, which is the same road that I live on back in Gibson City (if you were to travel down that road for about 150 miles). I didn't exactly have many towns of any substantial size during the ride today, so my food choices were pretty limited. My meals between 8am and 5pm consisted of 2 packs of peanut M&Ms (2 for 1 deal at the gas station), a pack of crackers, some almonds, 2 bananas, 1 apple, leftover trail mix, red bull and water, oh yes and a nutrigrain bar. Not exactly the meal of champions, but it did hold me over until a wonderful dinner.
There were some very pretty sights along the way, including this covered bridge. (read the old school script over the entrance)
Here I am entering the town of Oquawka, which in my opinion has been the BEST town name by far on my whole trip. If the town was called Owauka, it would be kinda funny to me, but then they through in the Q to make it even that much more fun. Apologies if Oquawka means something very important and honorable, which I'm sure it does. But I still think it's a fun name to say for a town. I'm a bit envious. I wonder if the city council of Oquawka has to make formal statements on letterhead... I think it would be hard to take seriously.... " The people of Oquawka feel that..."
So this trip through Western Illinois has allowed me to explore plenty of small towns and places that I'd heard of but never had the opportuntiy to visit. For example, Monmouth College!
And I never would have gotten the chance to visit these small horses (insert proper name for these guys here) .
But the day ultimately ended in Galesburg. Nice little town which is host of the world largest rail yard (I haven't seen it yet... must not be THAT large). Tomorrow, I'll be headed south and east edging closer to Gibson. I'm hoping to make it to Havana (which can be found by going through Cuba, IL). The ride should take me about half the day as it's around 65 miles from here.
We're here at the Holiday Inn Express here in Galesburg, which might as well be a little slice of heaven. Hot tub and enormous continental breakfast. I should do dishes here just so I can stay a few more days.
Hope things are going well for you all and big thanks again to all of my friends and family for your help and support!
Track My Progress - See My Trip Map
Why am I doing this?
credits to Justin Bond of Star Talent Events for the audio.
Thanks for stopping in! This summer, I'll be biking 2500 miles from San Francisco to Gibson City, IL to raise $4000 for the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Ford County Youth Soccer Club. My route map.
There are so many reasons. As a youngster growing up in central Illinois, playing soccer, as rare as it was for the area, was an activity that really shaped me into the person I am today. Not only combining the importance of fitness and teamwork, but also leadership and discipline. I have always wanted to have the opportunity to give back to this organization (FCYSC), and I feel that this is my chance.
Living just outside of Gibson City causes every child to be an avid cyclist to survive that stretch of Route 9 to make it into town. As I've progressed into my current career as an urban planner, I realize how much of an impact cycling can make in certain parts of the United States, in reducing our dependence on vehicles, increasing our health, among other benefits. Atlanta is the place that re-energized my spirit for transportation planning and I hope to be able to return some gratitude to the ABC, a cause that I still feel has an uphill battle in that town.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org