After a fantastic night in the old jail we quickly packed up our bags. The bikes were on the ground floor and we were on the 1st. Quickly got out bags down and packed up. Don noticed that there wasn’t any coffee powder which meant we had to go to the gas station to get some. Rather than just eating here and then stopping again we just went ahead to the gas station to get coffee and some breakfast. LE had left at about 4 in the morning. He wanted to enter Illinois as quickly as possible. As we rode to the gar station Wayne came to visit us. We chatted with him for a little while. He works part time for the city for barely any money but enjoys the difference he can make. Was asking him about the town how it was flourishing unlike the other towns we have been through. The town has consistently planning for the long term and it had paid off. After some breakfast we got on the road. The plan was to get to the gas station at the border for some coffee and then head towards the town of Chester for lunch.
As we got on the road we had a climb a few hills. The border town/ gas station was about 40 miles away. It was unusually hot today. According to a local it was 105F. Finally got the gas station and got a coke. They have a book that all trans am tourers and racers sign from 1977. Signed the book and got ready to leave. Don wanted to eat lunch there but i hit the road. Slowly rode downhill to the Mississippi river. The basin a the bottom of the hill is huge. About 10 miles of riding on the flats and reached the river. This is the border between Missouri and Illinois. Crossed over the river on a bridge that was under construction. 7 down 3 to go.
The bridge separating Illinois and Missouri
Home of Popeye
In Illinois now. First town after the river was Chester. The home to Popeye the Sailor man. The creator was from the town and they have a huge monument to Popeye at the entrance. A couple of pictures and got on the road to the town. On the way met LE sleeping on a lawn. I guess leaving at 4 in the morning helped him stay out of the sun. Went to the subway to get some food. The thought of eating meat wasn’t very pleasant. After a nice vegetable sub headed to the gas station to get coffee. Don rolled in after a few minutes. As we had coffee we figured out a plan. We could get to Carbondale hopefully by 7 in the evening and get some food at the Indian restaurant that Tom wrote about.
Somewhere in Illinois
Back on the road we slowly rode towards the town of Ava. This would be our stop before we got to Murphysboro or Carbondale. At the gas station we met a dot watcher who was waiting for us. Chatted with him for a bit and rode out with him. The scenery has changed a little. Lots of broken down trailer type houses on the way. The CBD of Ava is non existent. After about an hour and a half of riding we reached Murphysboro. On the outskirts of the city at a gas station LE and I waited for Don. As we were talking to the dot watcher noticed that Don had taken an alternative route. Turns out his ride with gps want working properly. An hour later got a call from him with location information. It looked like it was going to rain and time for us to get out. Don would find a place for us to stay while i rode up to him. LE headed towards a hotel and I went to the Gas station where Don was. Lovely little town with lots of shops. At the gas station Don had figured out the way to the park for us to sleep at tonight. Just as we were about to leave met someone who pulled in to buy some beer. He invited us home to have a drink. Just as we were leaving the gas station it started to pour. We quickly rode the 4 blocks to get to the park. Thankfully they had a gazebo for us to sleep under. The rain got super heavy by the time we were in.
On the road
Quickly pulled out our sleeping gear and setup on the picnic table. The plug points in the park were under the roof. After a few gymnastics moves and yoga positions finally managed to plug in all our devices. Finally our day was done. The rain thankfully wasn’t blowing into the Gazebo so as long as the direction of the wind would not change it would be ok for the night. Sadly no Indian food for the night. Maybe if we get to Carbondale tomorrow a little late and get lunch, lets see.
About 5000 kms done, 1800 km to go
Lesson for the day : Popeye helps drive a towns economy. Apparently he is a tourist attraction.
Up next: Day 44, Murphysboro to Eddyville