Chester IL to Farmington MO. 46 Miles. First day in Missouri

Today we rode across the Mississippi River Bridge into Missouri by police escort. The escort, arranged by BiketheUSforMS, was a safety measure. All of our team riders met at the Illinois Visitor’s Welcome center before 8:30 a.m. so the police stop all traffic both ways. The MS support vans lead us across and the police followed us across. This was much appreciated by the riders as the bridge is just a two lane bridge. Once across, the team stopped for a group photo in front of the welcome to Missouri sign.

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Before beginning today’s ride, the weather did not look good. One forecast was for rain starting at 9:00 a.m. The clouds were heavy and the wind was out of the south at about 10 to 15 mph.

As is turned out, the only rain was a light mist a couple of times during the day and cloud cover. And with he slight wind and cool temperatures, we had a pretty enjoyable day. The ride did give us indications of what we are about to experience as we ride across the Ozarks, but that is a story for tomorrow.

Our second and final rest stop for the day was at the Crown Valley Brewery. It has a very nice food menu as well as a list of adult beverages. Many took part in both or one or the other. This stop was 13 miles from today’s finish so many took a longer than normal stop.

Tonight’s camp is at Al’s Place Bike Hostel. It is a nice place with bunks in a number of rooms. It is first come first serve. At many camp areas we, BiketheUSforMS team, are not the only bike rides staying there. This one, as well as previous night, had 5 other unsupported riders in camp. We get to know each other well. One room was dedicated to the “Early Riser” group which includes all the “Older” riders.

Al’s Place has TWO showers and LAUNDRY facilities. Another nice benefit.

Carbondale to Chester IL. 49 Miles. Popeye here we come and last day in Illinois

Today we have a short day and compared to the past days very little climbing. The only real challenge was the heat. We got to Chester around 11:30 a.m. and the temperature was already 91 degrees. We started the day around 7:00 a.m. anticipating the heat, but we still did not avoid it completely.

We took the southern route which is called the “Mississippi Levee Alternate”. The road ran very close to the Mississippi river and occasionally on the Levees. We stopped at one point and went to the shore line of the Mississippi. The river is wide at this point and flowing at a fairly high rate of speed. I am making the comparison to the Missouri River since I spent many hours on that river when we lived in Kansas City Missouri.

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Chester, Illinois. Birth place and home of Popeye the Sailor Man. The city has a Popeye Character Trail which focuses on an individual Popeye character. This is a smart marketing ploy by the city because you have to see most of the city to visit each character. I have only attached two of the main items to the Blog.

Tonight we are camping at the Fraternal Order of the Eagle. It has a hot shower and a restaurant which is convenient. Tomorrow we go into Missouri which is just across the Mississippi River.