Cave in the Rock IL to Carbondale IL 86 miles. Long ride before the rest day.

Long day, early start? We left camp at 6:10 a.m. knowing the local restaurant did not open until 7:00 a.m. but we had heard the owner would be there around 6:00 a.m. getting setup. That was correct and Rosella the owner told us to come in and she would be able to help us at 6:30. Since we knew it was going to be a long day and we would need extra energy, so we waited.

The wait was justified. We had two pancakes and a side item. Each pancake was the size of the plate and cooked in butter. These were at the top of my lists of great pancakes. We finished breakfast and were on the road before 7:00 a.m.

One thing changed in Illinois. There weren’t any bike 76 signs which mark a U.S. Bicycle Route. We had depended on those signs to show us when to turn on the next road. Now we had to look for actual highway signs and watch our odometers to determine mileage. Even then we had one intersection that was not marked so we had to ask someone to verify it was the correct road.

At the first rest stop Rion, our trip mechanic, took my bike and worked on my front derailleurs. Before this stop I was having trouble getting my front derailleur to go to the small sprocket. When trying to make a climb you have to be able to down shift quickly to make the pull. Rion does a great job.

We were ahead of the rest stop van at stop 2 and we were running very low on water. This town, Simpson, has a population of 61 and only has a Post Office. We were happy for the Post Office because the Post Master filled all our bottles for us. She said she was sorry she couldn’t have made it ICE water but that wasn’t necessary. In the meantime Kye came to our rescue with watermelon.

Our third and last rest stop was in Goreville. We were still ahead of our support but we found a Subway Sandwich store and had a good lunch. With 30+miles left and hotels rooms awaiting we were off only to find the roughest, gravel covered, pot holed, 20 miles stretch of road that we have traversed so far. What made it even harder was most of the road was in the shade of the trees. This made it hard to locate the obstacles and dangerous on the downhills. The brakes got a good workout.

Tomorrow is a rest day. After 12 straight days of riding we are ready for a break.

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