TRIP 2014

Update #25 - November 03rd
La Center, KY
Trip : 622.84 miles (966.54 km)
Year: 10,292.76 miles (16,468.42 km)

The first leg of the trip is over and I'm safely across the Ohio River. I have about 896 miles to ride to Reddick, Florida

October 21 : Sabula, IA to Fulton, IA to Clinton, IA to Le Claire, IA : 55.85 miles (89.36 km)

I didn't get much sleep last night. It took a while falling asleep but I slept lightly. Every two hours, I had to go downstairs to relieve my bladder. I woke up around 6 am and got dressed. It took me five trips to get all of my gear downstairs from the attic. I'm glad that I'm no longer up there because for the past couple of days I had to deal with bees that got into the room somehow. I got divebombed by a couple of them.

As soon as it got light, I took everything outside and got Alice packed up. I then went inside to get some breakfast. I got on the road around 8 am. The temperature was cool in the upper 40s so I wore my warmer jacket.

Instead of staying in Iowa and riding US 67 between Sabula and Clinton, I decided to go across the Mississippi River again to Savanna and then head South to Fulton taking the Great River Trail. Instead of taking the Great River Trail all the way to Fulton, I took it as far as I could get while it was parralling IL 84 and then got on IL 84 before it swung Westward. I took IL 84 the rest of the way to Fulton.

I got into Fulton around 11:20 am. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few things. After that, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. It got warm enough that I was able to switch over to my lighter jacket. I headed West on IL 136 to the Mississippi River Bridge to Clinton, Iowa. The sidewalk was wide enough that I was able to ride across the bridge. In Clinton, I headed South on US 67.

I stopped at a BK for some lunch. I got back on the road around 12:10 pm. A couple of blocks down US 67, I was surprised by another cycle tourist coming up behind me. We stopped to talk for a few minutes. The guy had started from Alaska five months ago and he was riding South to Memphis, TN and then to Key West, Florida. He's traveled almost 5,700 miles so far. He camped at the Palisades State Park North of Savanna this morning. He was going to find someplace to eat at so we parted company.

US 67 joined US 30 for a couple of miles. Instead of dealing with the heavy truck traffic, I rode along the paved bike path next to the highway. After traveling West about three miles, I turned Southwards to get on on US 67 again. The ride Southwards went okay because there was a tailwind to push me along. I stopped for a break in Princeton. Halfway between Princeton and Le Claire, the other cycle tourist caught up with me again and passed me. He told me that he was going to stop for the night in Burlington.

I got into Le Claire around 4:00 pm. It took a while finding a church. I stopped at the Baptist Church. The pastor was in the office. He wasn't really interesting in helping me out. He was so concerned about his multi-million dollar facility. There was no way that he was going to let me stay in the church without having somebody stay with me to monitor me. He told me that there was a Presbyterian Church just a couple of blocks away. I found the pastor in the office at the Presbyterian Church. She was counseling a young girl but she told me that she would help me after she got done. I waited for up in front of the church. When she came out to meet me, she told me that she had contacted the head of the ministerial association and they offered to get me a room at the Super 8 in town. The Presbyterian minister put Alice into the church and she drove me over to the motel to check me in. The thing that impressed me about the Presbyterian Church that it was reaching out to the community. There was a junior highschool across the street. The church has a special afterschool program Wednesday afternoons.

It is so nice to be in a clean room for a change and also a warm one. Tonight, the temperature is going to get down to 36. It's going to be in the low 60s tomorrow. I'll be riding through the Quad Cities tomorrow and then stopping for the night in Muscatine. Thursday, there is going to be a 50% chance for rain. The temperature near the weekend is supposed to get into the 70s.

October 22 : Le Claire, IA to Grandview, IA : 63.74 miles (101.98 km)

I was able to get some rest. There was a decent breakfast. I got on the road a little after 8 am. It was a little tricky to get down to US 61. From Le Claire, it was a bit of a tricky ride into Bettendorf because there was a lot a truck traffic and little or no shoulder to ride along.

In Bettendorf, I got on the MRT bike trail along the River. I rode through Davenport. The MRT took me into Credit Island Park. I thought that I was going to get stuck on the island but there was a bridge back to the mainland. The bridge took me over to S. Concord Street. It was a long ride down the two-laned road to IA 22. I stopped for a short lunch break at a gas station in Buffalo. From the gas station it was about a 12 mile ride into Muscatine.

I got into downtown Muscatine around 2:30 pm. I stopped at the Presbyterian Church but I only found the secretary in the office. I checked out a couple other churches but I didn't find anybody around them. Across the street from the Methodist church was a shelter. I decided to head on out towards Burlington.

There were a couple of hills to get over. I got into Grandview right before dusk. I stopped at the Community Bible Church. There was a Bible study that started at 7 pm. There was a small group (mostly women). I got to share before the Bible Study. This was my 57th church for the night. Afterwards, I got to spend the night in the gymnasium but I had to wait till the youth groups left. I was given access to what was in the kitchen to eat. There was some spaghetti left over from a previous meal so I was able to have something hot for the night. There was also wifi.

October 23 : Grandview, IA to Fort Madison, IA : 56.74 miles (90.78 km)

I had a decent night at the church. I left the church around 8 am. The ride South was really slow because there was a headwind between 15 and 20 mph. I stopped for breaks in Wapello and Mediopolis. There were several hills to climb up. Because of the headwinds and the hills, I was only able to make 21 miles in by noon.

I got into Burlington around 2 pm. I stayed on US 61 so I didn't go into the downtown area. I stopped at a Wendy's for a late lunch. Because of the stoplights, it was a slow ride through the Burlington area.

I decided to go on to Fort Madison. The winds died down a lot in the afternoon. It was about a 20 mile ride to Fort Madison. I got into Fort Madison a little before dusk. It took a while finding the police station. I met several friendly officers. One of the officers knew one of the local ministers. There was a an offer to get me a room at a local motel but it was full. Instead, the pastor met me at his church (the Disciples of Christ). I was given permission to camp out in the library. There was a sofa to sleep on. I had access to some food and there was wifi.

October 24 : Fort Madison, IA to Keokuk, IA : 27.23 miles (43.57 km)

I had a decent night at the church. I had a good conversation with the minister before he went home. He had met me at the church. The pastor had a heart for compassion. He told me that he was trying to find some good ways to help out the community. He was also trying to find some ways to convince his congregation to allow him to turn several unused rooms in the basement into a shelter.

I left the church around 8 am. When I got outside, I saw that there was really thick fog. I walked a couple of miles to slow my travel down some in hopes that the fog would lift some. I had to stop to do some roadside repair to tighten up the cones in the front wheel. I stopped to get some bread and also at a BK for a second breakfast.

It was almost 10 am when I got to the Southern outskirts of Fort Madison and I got back on US 61. The fog was still heavy but traffic was light and there was a separate paved shoulder to ride along.

I got into Keokuk around 1:30 pm. I checked out some of the downtown churches. I found a contact number at the Episcopal church and I called up the rector. He called me back after about a 10 minute wait. He told me that he was actually in Des Moines at a meeting. He told me that I should go to the police station and I should be able to get connected with somebody else with the ministerial association. I had to talk to several officers before I was able to talk with the sergeant. He told me that he would help me by giving me a voucher so I could get a room at a local motel. I thought that I might have gotten a room at one of the low cost motels that I had passed coming into town but the room was at a fancy resort motel in the downtown area.

I'm about three miles away from Missouri. Tomorrow should be a much better day than today. The high tomorrow is supposed to be around 70.

October 25 : Keokuk, IA to Palmyra, MO : 58.28 miles (93.25 km)

I had a decent night at the motel. It would have probably been better if the room was in the back instead of being up front. The hotel was right next to the main highway and I heard all of the traffic noises. The noise was so loud that I thought that there was no glass in the windows. Four stories up didn't help much. At least, the noise died down some by the time I was going to bed.

I've been having some problems with my laptop. Some of the programs have stopped working and it has been taking a long time to boot up if it does so. I had to do a system restore and it helped some.

There was an okay hot breakfast. I was hoping to head out around 8 am but I couldn't do so because there was some thick fog again. The fog didn't lighten up till around 9:30 am. I left the motel around 9:45 am. As I was getting Alice out of the main door, I got stopped by another guest. He wanted to know where I was going. I told him what I was doing. He asked me if he could take a picture of me and Alice. Afterwards, he did a strange thing. The guy told me that he wanted to give me something. I thought that it was going to be a GH but instead the guy gave me this weird sticker that said that I was a junior fireman. What a waste. All he did was give me a trash piece of paper that was in his wallet so I could carry it a while. He told me that we should be genorous and giving to others but this didn't help me one bit.

From the downtown area, it was about a three and a half mile ride to the Missouri State Line. Once in Missouri, there was a paved should to ride along. The temperature heated up to around 70 so I was able to ride without a jacket on. I stopped at a roadside rest about six miles out of Canton for some lunch off of Alice.

It was around 1:30 pm when I got into Canton. I stopped for a short break at a gas station. I was thinking about stopping for the day in Canton but I decided to go on to Palmyra.

The ride to Palmyra went okay. For most of the ride, I rode along county roads that took me quite close to the Mississippi River. I got into Palmyra a little before 5 pm. I stopped at a gas station for a break. Afterwards, I rode around the downtown area to see if I could locate the police station in hopes that somebody might know how to connect with a local minister. I found some cars at the Methodist Church. I heard some music playing inside. I was thinking that it might have just been the choir practicing but it was an evening service.

After the service, the pastor gave me permission to stay in the Sr high room where there are several couches that I could sleep on. I've decided to change my route again. Instead of keeping on going South in Missouri and finding a route around St Louis, I've decided to cross the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri and ride Southwards in Illinois taking a different route so I don't backtrack the route that I took in September.

October 27 : Palmyra, MO to Louisiana, MO : 63.28 miles (101.25 km)

It was an okay night at the church. I left the church a little after 8 am. I followed US 61 to Hannibal. I rode through the historic district. I was going to follow the MRT (IL 79) to Louisiana but after 8 miles the paved shoulder ended and the hills started. About a mile back, I got stopped by a guy driving a grain truck who gave me the warning and told me that there were some really steep hills and possible grain trucks.

I followed several county roads to New London where I got on US 61. It was a slow ride down US 61 to Bowling Green because of a headwind and there were occasional brief rain showers.

I got into Bowling Green around 5 pm. I stopped at the sheriff office to see if somebody knew how to connect with a local minister. I was given a ministerial alliance voucher for a room at a small motel nearby. When I got to the motel, there were signs that said that there were no rooms available. I went back to the sheriff office. Another voucher was prepared for a room at another motel south of town. When I got to the Super 8, I was told that they were full.
,br /> I didn't think that it would do any good to find my way back to the sheriff office. I rode into the downtown area. I found the church where the minister in charge of the ministerial association was at. I found out that the senior pastor was out of town on a fishing trip. I stopped at the police station. One of the officers told me that there was a revival going on at the Nazerene Church. The church was between pastors. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, there was an offer to get me a room at one of the motels in Louisiana. Alice and my gear was packed into the back of one of the church vans and I was driven to Louisiana. The motel was right next to the River and the bridge was also close by. The only problem was that the room was down a flight of stairs.

October 28 : Louisiana, MO to Jerseyville, IL : 66.21 miles (105.94 km)

The ride across the bridge went really well. Traffic was light. The roadway was paved. The Missouri side of the bridge was higher than the Illinois side so I coasted all away across the bridge. I have to remember this bridge.

A tailwind pushed me along US 54 to Alton. I turned South on IL 96 to Kampsville. The wind kept up so I was able to get in 28 miles by noon. I got into Kampsville a little after 1 pm. I got to the ferry landing of the ferry across the Illinois River right as the ferry was being loaded. This was a swing boat ferry. The ride across the Illinois River only lasted about five minutes.

I followed IL 108 to Carrolton. I got into Carrolton around 2:45 pm. I stopped at a grocery store to get some bread. I also stopped at a gas station for a break. I had planned to stop in Carrolton for the day but I decided to head South to Jerseyville. The ride to Jerseyville along US 67 went really well.

I got into Jerseyville around 4:30 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I found somebody in the office but he didn't know how to contact the pastor. I went to the police station. The ladies in the office didn't know any of the ministers. I was given a phone book to start calling the churches. I was surprised at finding the secretary at the First United Methodist Church. She told me that the pastor was in the office but he was on the phone. I called up a couple more churches. I found somebody in at the Nazerene Church. I was told that if I find my way to the church on the Western edge of town I might be able to stay in the fellowship hall for the night.

I was probably a half mile from the Nazarene church when I got a call from the Methodist minister. He told me that the church had arrangements with a motel in town and if I go there I could have a room there for the night. I tried calling back the Nazarene church but there wasn't anybody in the office.

I'm making my way around East St Louis tomorrow.

October 29 : Jerseyville, IL to Marysville, IL : 45.58 miles (72.93 km)

It was an okay night at the motel. I left the motel a little after 8 am. It wasn't that cold but I was layered up. It was an okay ride to Alton. Just passed the US 67 bridge across the Mississippi River, I got on IL 143. The bridge had bike lanes. For several miles, IL 143 went passed the River. There was a bike path but I didn't ride it because I didn't know where it was going. I was able to get 29.5 miles in by noon.

I got into Edwardsville around 1:20 pm. I had planned to stop for the day in the city but I didn't know if I could find a compassionate minister but I wasn't sure because the population was 25K. I stopped at the First Presbyterian Church. I talked with the secretary but the pastor wasn't in the office.

I backtracked and stopped at one of the churches that I had passed while coming into the downtown area. I stopped at the Eden Church of Christ. I talked with one of the ministers. He offered to get me a room at a motel about 8 miles away south of Marysville near I-55. From the church, it was about an hour's ride to the motel.

It might be a cool day tomorrow so I'll be just riding to Red Bud.

October 30 : Marysville, IL to Sparta, IL : 43.02 miles (68.83 km)

It was an okay night at the motel. I left the motel a little after 8 am. It wasn't that cold but I was layered up. It was an okay ride to Belleville. I rode on through Belleville to Smithton. I got about 22 miles by noon. I stopped in Smithton for a break.

I got into Red Bud around 3:20 pm. I rode around town to check out the churches. I connected with the pastor at the St John's Lutheran Church. He was at the Lutheran school down the block. He contacted a program called Human Services and they made arrangements at the local motel. When I got to the motel, I found out that they didn't have any rooms available. It was a Potel. The motel looked like it didn't have any guests.

I rushed back to the Lutheran school to see if the pastor was still there. He called Human Services back. I was told to ride to the center and one of the ladies there, Sam, would help me. While I was riding to the center, Sam had called some of the other motels in the area (Baldwin, Chester, and Sparta). A room at a motel in Sparta was found. Before Sam and I loaded up Alice and my gear in back of one of the center's vans, Sam got me some food from the center's food bank. It was an okay ride to Sparta. I thought that it was going to be a regular motel but it was a Holiday Inn Express. I got everything into the hotel before the rain started.

I'm shooting for Murphysboro tomorrow instead of Sparta. It's supposed to get close to freezing tonight and the day temperature is supposed to be a little colder than today.

October 31 : Sparta, IL to Murphysboro, IL : 48.47 miles (77.55 km)

It was an okay night at the motel. The night would have been better if the people above me were a little quieter. I'm not sure what they were doing but there was some loud banging. There was a pretty good hot breakfast.

I left the motel around 8:15 am. The temperature was around 46. There was a really strong tailwind. During some times during the day, there were gusts that must have been around 30 mph. Around 11 am, I took my first break of the day at a gas station in Campbell Hill. I called up one of the ministers in Murphysboro to see if they might be able to help me out with a place to stay for the night. The pastor at the Methodist Church told me that it would be okay for me to spend the night in the church.

Nothing really happened during the rest of the ride except that when I turned either Westwards or Eastwards the strong winds nearly blew me over. I got into Murphysboro area around 2:20 pm. As I was riding through the downtown area to the Methodist Church, I had another chance encounter with the cyclist tourist who I had met in Clinton, IL. He had ridden around St. Louis, MO and had crossed the Mississippi River at Chester, IL. He was going to camp out a state park south of Carbondale. He told me that he was on his way to Nashville, TN.

I rode over to the Methodist Church. I had about an hours wait before the minister showed up. People were arriving to get their vehicles ready for the church's trunk n/treat.

Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be lower than it was today. I was planning to ride to Mounds tomorrow. I'm thinking about just riding to Anna about 24 miles instead.

November 01 : Murphysboro, IL to Jonesboro, IL : 35.92 miles (57.47 km)

I had an okay night at the church. The people doing the trunk n/treat left around 7:30 pm. It was good being able to get onto the church wifi network. I crashed on the floor of one of the second floor classrooms. Watched on YouTube some episodes of Alien Nation before going to bed. I slept till around 6:30 am.

Some of the guys of the church were gathering downstairs to make breakfast for the highschool football team that was going into their division playoff. As they were cooking, I got to share with them so I'm going to count this as my 59th church for the year. Before I got Alice downstairs, I got some breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausage, orange juice, and milk.

I left the church around 8:10 am. It was really cold. I saw a bank sign that said that it was just 33. I rode IL 13 to Carbondale. There was some road construction but I had an okay ride through the zone because there was a shoulder. In downtown Carbondale, I got on US 51 and headed South. There wasn't any winds as yesterday. There were some hills on the way to Anna but I was able to ride up them.

I got into Anna around 12:30 pm. I stopped for a late light lunch at a McDs. After lunch, I found my way over to the Methodist church. There were some ladies having a meeting in the fellowship hall. I found out that the minister was on vacation. I rode around the downtown area to check out the other churches but I didn't find anybody around them. I rode over to the police station. I talked to an officer there but he didn't know of a local minister. He told me that I should go to the sheriff department in the adjoining town of Jonesboro. It was about a two mile ride to the sheriff department. The deputy that I talked to wasn't able to connect me with a minister but he did help me with a voucher to get a room at a motel that I had passed coming into Jonesboro.

November 02 : Jonesboro, IL to Anna, IL : 01.41 miles (02.26 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was warm. I woke up early but I had a hard time figuring out what time it was because I might have set my wristwatch wrong after I set it up for the end of Daylight Savings Time.

I left the motel around 8:20 am. I backtracked my route into Anna. I wasn't sure if the Methodist minister was on vacation or not so I went to the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church instead. I got there around 8:40 am. One of the guys of the church greeted me and took me to one of the Sunday school classes. Before the class started, I got to talk with the minister for a few minutes. I was given the chance to talk to the class so this was my 60th church for the year. After the class, one of the guys slipped me a GH. After the church service, a room was arranged for me at one of the motels in town.

Instead of stopping in Mounds, IL tomorrow, I'm going to be crossing the Ohio River and possibly stopping in Wickliffe, Kentucky.

November 03 : Anna, IL to La Center, KY : 59.11 miles (94.58 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was warm. I woke up a little early but I was able to fall back asleep to get a couple more hours of sleep. I left the motel a little after 8 am. The temperature was a lot warmer than yesterday morning. It was in the upper 40s and was going to be in the upper 60s in the afternoon. The only problem with the ride South was that there was a light headwind. I got around 26 miles in by noon time.

I got into around Cairo around 2 pm. I was surprised at seeing how more rundown the city was. This is probably the most economically depressed community in Illinois. From the downtown area, it was just a couple of miles to the bridge over the Ohio River. Traffic across the bridge was so light that I was able to ride across the bridge. Going along the levee was a little harder. Traffic started to build up half way to Wickliffe.

I got into Wickliffe around 3 pm. I stopped at a gas station for a break. As I was going through my maps, this elderly lady stopped and commented on how torn up my maps looked. She asked if I would like another atlas. She went to her car and got me hers. Before she left, she slipped me a dollar. Another person stopped (a guy) and he stopped and gave me a GH.

I stopped at the First Baptist Church to see if somebody was around. A guy who lived in the house next to the church gave me a phone number of one of the elders who had the phone number for the pastor. I was able to talk with the pastor. He was at home recovering from some surgery but he gave me the phone number of the lady who was in charge of the local ministerial association. She offered to get me a room at a motel but the local motel was closed. The nearest motel was in La Center twelve miles to the East. I got to the motel right before dark. The motel is a little out of the route where I'm taking but it will not be too hard to get back on the way to Tennessee.

The next update might posted sometime between November 10th and November 17th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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