TRIP 2016

Update #08 - April 23rd
Hardin, Illinois
Trip 48 : 1,379.20 miles (2,206.72 km)
Year Total : 2,132.08 miles (3,411.33 km)

April 11, 2016 : Riverton (S Clarksdale), MS to Tunica, MS : 38.87 miles (72.19 km)
Trip Total: 936.79 miles (1,498.86 km)
Year Total: 1,690.67 miles (2,705.07 km)

I had okay afternoon and night at the motel. I did have to go out and get a few things at a nearby dollar store. The wind was really strong coming from the South. Gusts had to be close to 30 mph.

The wifi signal at the motel was really strong so I was able to get a lot of things done. I did take a short nap but I was able to fall asleep again around 10 PM. I slept till around 4 AM. I stayed awake for a little while but I was able to fall back asleep till around 6 AM.

The sky was clear around 6:30 AM but it wasn't the case at around 8 AM. I was going to head out around 8 AM but it was really raining hard. The hard rain lasted till about 8:30 AM. It was lightly sprinkling when I headed out. I didn't think much of the rain because the weather reports showed that the heavy rains weren't going to come through the area mid to late afternoon.

It started to rain harder so I stopped at a truck stop about 4 miles North of Clarksdale on US 62 for a break. I got some hot chocolate. I took my time sipping the hot chocolate and I played a dozen games of Reversi before heading out again. US 61 had rumble strips again. I rode my mirror a lot.

About six miles down the road, it started to rain harder. I stopped at a closed down music place that had a covered entrance. I was really concerned about being seen. I decided to use some of the material from the safety vest that the guy gave me Saturday and make a brighter more visible flag. The wind was pretty strong so I wasn't able to make some even cuts. I used some more material to make some other bright spots on my gear. Hopefully, this will make me more visible. The wind and rain picked up and the water in the puddles around where I was getting deeper. There was some thunder.

I got back on the road after about 40 minutes. By noon, I had only made 18 miles. I stopped at a MS Welcome Center near the intersection of US 49 and US 61. Helena, Arkansas was 10 miles to the West. There were some picnic tables outside the welcome center on the covered porch. There was free wifi so I sent out some emails. It was about 1:30 PM when I decided to head out again. I was about 20 miles out of Tunica. The rain was steady but not really hard. About two miles down the road, I passed the 252,000 mile mark. A couple of miles down the road I found bright greenish-yellow wool cap like the one that I had last year. This would make my head more visible.

About two more miles down the road, the rain started to come down really hard. There was a lot of lightning and thunder. Some of the lightning struck several times in front of me but at least a mile or two away. The storm was going from West to East. I was trapped out in the open. For miles, there were just large plowed or unplowed fields on both sides of the highway. There were no buildings, very few patches of trees, and no houses. According to the weather report I heard later on during the day, the storm produced between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain an hour. The storm was so bad that people heading South were pulling their vehicles off the road to wait out the storm. At least, there wasn't any hail to deal with. The wind was coming from the South so it pushed me down the road. I was really worried about localized flooding because fields were getting flooded on both sides of the highway. About 11 miles out of Tunica, I saw a strange sight. There was a black guy running along the edge of the highway heading South. The guy looked to be a little heavy set and he seemed to have a safety vest on. I didn't see anybody behind him providing sag support.

About eight miles out of Tunica, the sky cleared up some and the rain was just a light sprinkle. I got into Tunica a little after 4 PM. On the way into the downtown area, I rode passed the First Presbyterian Church but there wasn't anybody around it. I stopped at the county courthouse. There was a deputy outside so I stopped to talk to him. I got directions to a house where the pastor of the FBC might live in but there was nobody there. I foundmy into the downtown area and I stopped at the police station. I was referred to a nearby office of the Catholic Social Services but none of the caseworkers were in. I might have stopped here during a previous trip and got some assistance. I must have I rushed back to the police station. I got to talk with the chief of the police. He was able to contact the minister at the First Baptist Church. Rev Smith was going to meet me at a small motel that I had passed coming into town.

After getting Alice and my gear into the room and turning on the heat, Rev Smith took me to a nearby Church's for some supper. We had a good time talking. Back at the motel, Rev Smith slipped me a GH. I almost got back what I spent on the motel room yesterday.

The storms are supposed to be out of the area tonight. The sky is supposed to be clear tomorrow but the temperature is supposed to be in the low 60s. There is supposed to be a head/crosswind coming from the North between ten and fifteen miles per hour. I'm about 28 miles away from the TN state line.

Going back into my older journals and logs, I found out that from Natchez I've been basically following the route that I took between July 10th to July 18th, 2012. The last time that I was in Tunica was July 18th. I stayed at the other motel in the area North of town that time because the previous owners of this motel didn't accept credit cards. I also went through Catholic Social Services last time. I crossed into Tennesee on July 19th. I was riding from Baton Rouge, LA and I had a late start for the year because of all of the dental appointments and recovering from getting hit by the van in my neighborhood.

I'm having second thoughts about crossing Southern Missouri to Eastern Colorado across Kansas. The storm today and the earlier bad storms that caused all of the tornadoes and the flooding the past couple of miles might be a precursor on how bad the storms might be through Tornado Alley. Instead of crossing the Mississippi River at Hickman, KY, I might be going North to maybe Cape Giradeau, MO and cross the River there at the bridge or go more North to at least Hannibol, MO. From there, I might be going to Southwestern Iowa to visit with a minister friend there who I haven't seen in five or more years.

April 12, 2016 : Tunica, MS to Tunica, MS : 06.83 miles (10.93 km)
Trip Total: 943.62 miles (1,509.79 km)
Year Total: 1,697.50 miles (2,716.00 km)

I had okay night at the motel. The room didn't get too dark because there were no curtains over the two back windows. Taking the hour long nap hurt my sleeping. I woke up a little before 4 AM but I couldn't fall back asleep. When I was getting my gear loaded back up into the panniers, i noticed that there was a wear spot in the tread of the rear tire. I took the rear wheel off Alice to check it out. I found out that the wear spot was an area where I had already put a patch on the inside of the tire because there had been a cut in the tread. I glued on a larger patch to cover up the old patch and a more bigger area.

I got things out of the room a little after 8 AM. I went across the highway to get a loaf of bread and some milk. My intention was to head out to TN but I didn't get far because of the wind. The Cold Front was still in the area and the wind was coming from the back side of the front. The wind was coming from the North/Northeast and the speed was between 15 and 20 mph. There were occasional gusts up to 25 mph. Because of the wind, I was only going around 7 mph and I was having a hard time staying near the right side of the roadway next to the white line and the rumble strip. The rumble strip was too narrow for me to ride along it. Last night, Rev Smith had given me the option to stay an extra night if I needed it.

I stopped about 2 miles out of town to call Rev Smith. Rev Smith just gave me his church phone number so I was just able to leave a message telling him that I was going to stop and get some laundy done at a laundromat that I had passed and then ride over to his church to see if he was there.

I had to wait a long time to start my clothes. There were only a couple $2 washers that worked. There were already a lot of people there but a group showed up to get there clothes done. There were about eighteen young male teens and a couple of adults to supervise them. The teens were possibly between five foot eight inches and six foot tall and were in matching sweat suits. There was one black youth and a younger boy with glasses who was about five foot tall. The adult males were pretty burly and had cowboy hats on. I thought that the boys might have been juvenile offenders but there was a logo of a christian academy on their sweatshirts. The boys had the same short haircuts and they had blank expressions. They weren't animated like regular teens. It turns out that the group was a teen challenge program out of Bonifay, Florida. They had been doing some work at a rodeo. I got to share with the guys and some of the teens. Several of the boys were from the Orlando area and there was one teen from Russia. It was almost 11 AM when I headed out from the laundromat.

I rode over to the FBC at the Northern edge of the downtown area. Rev. Smith told me that he had spent a couple of hours trying to find me. He had gone passed the laundromat but he didn't notice Alice. Rev Smith arranged for another night at the motel. Before going back to the motel, Rev Smith took me over to the Downtown Diner where he arranged for me to have a good meal of meatloaf, green beans, a roll, peach cobbler, and some sweet tea.

The wind speed is supposed to be down to at least five to ten mph tomorrow. The temperature is supposed to be a little warmer also.

April 13, 2016 : Tunica, MS to Barnesville (S Memphis), TN : 31.61 miles (50.58 km)
Trip Total: 975.23 miles (1,560.37 km)
Year Total: 1,729.11 miles (2,766.58 km)

I had okay night at the motel. The only thing a little unsettling was the visit from one of the Catholic nuns from Catholic Services. She mentioned to me that she had helped me four years ago and that should have been the only time that their program would have helped me out. I had thought that Rev Smith had payed for the extra night himself.

I went to bed early but I woke up early around 2 AM. I was able to fall back asleep till around 5:45 AM. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The sky was cool but the temperature was cool in the mid 50s. Instead of trying to ride on new US 61, I backtracked into the downtown area and got on old US 61. This was the designated bike route through the area.

The ride along old US 61 went really well. 24 hours had made a real difference with the wind. The wind speed from the North was a gentle breeze between five and ten miles per hour. Around 9 AM, I stopped for a hot chocolate break at a gas station near the casinos north of Robinsonville. I rode through the Caeser's "Harrah's Tunica" casino and resort complex.It's been closed for over a year. The parking lots were overgrown and the asphalt cracked. The three large hotels, casino, convention center, and family entertainment area were all closed and gated up. The company tried to sell the complex for around $3 Million. Over 1,300 people lost their jobs. Some of them had been there for over 17 years. This was the large casino complex between Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Near the Lake Cormorant, I got a little off the bike route. After getting back on the right route, I had to stop and do some roadside repair on the chain tube hanger. I also had to fix the chain because it came off the front chainrings. By noon, I got a whopping 25 miles in. I stopped at a gas station near Memphis, MS for a short break. The bike route signs disappeared so I had to get on old MS 161.

I got on the new US 61 about a mile South of the TN state line. Near the state line, there was a mile and a half climb out of the MS River Delta. I stopped at the state line to take the traditional pictures of Alice.

Once I crossed into the TN, I didn't have much of a shoulder to ride along. US 61 also stopped being a divided 4 lane highway. There were a lot of truck traffic and there will probably be a lot till US 61 joins up with I-55 where it will cross the MS River into Arkansas. Because of the truck traffic, I decided to stop at the first motel that I came across. I stopped at this motel four years ago.

There is going to be rain tonight and it will probably rain most of tomorrow. Because of this, I'm looking at trying to connect with one of the Warm Showers members in Memphis. I still have to find a bike shop tomorrow to get a new tire for the back wheel..

April 14, 2016 : Barnesville (S Memphis), TN to Covington, TN : 49.32 miles (78.91 km)
Trip Total: 1,024.55 miles (1,639.28 km)
Year Total: 1,778.43 miles (2,845.49 km)

I didn't have a good night at the motel. There was a sign that said that motel was new and clean but this wasn't the case. I had stayed there on a previous trip five years ago. The only thing new was the new owners. The room wasn't that good. The smoke detector was missing. There were two large holes that had been punched through the top of the bathroom door. There were five mirror panels on the wall that was next to the bed. The last mirror panel from the bed and a large piece of glass missing at the bottom. The only thing that I could think up for a reason for the mirror panels was for sex. This goes along the question from the guy in the office if I had wanted the room for the whole night. Belief is that you could rent a room out by the hour. I also saw that there were at least five porn panels on the tv.

The wifi signal wasn't that strong and it the router constantly dropped the connection between it and my laptop. It took more than the usual time to update my ministry website. I checked out of the motel a little before 8:30 AM. I was happy to get my $5 deposit back. I didn't tell the guy that I had given the motel a negative review on Trip Advisor. Before my review, there had been only four other reviews and three of them were also quite negative.

From the motel, I was going to try and find an alternate route into the downtown area but I didn't feel too comfortable riding off the main route through an economically depressed area. For the most part, there was a sidewalk that I could ride along most of the way into the downtown area.

From the motel, it was about a 9.4 mile ride to the Midtown bike shop. There were quite a few recumbents in the shop. One was a Sun EZ-trike. Overall, the bike shop was in a little disarray and there weren't that many bikes in the racks. The owner who was in his early 40s told me that he has had the shop for over 22 years and it was projected that bike sales would be in a slump this year so he didn't want to have much inventory on hand. He told me that he has had quite a few cycle tourists stopping by. Most of them were from Europe and they had come to the states for their two or threee month vacation. The owner told me that last week, he had three young guys from Germany who had taken a taxi from the airport with loaded panniers, bought a bike from him and some other gear, and asked for general directions on which way the West Coast was thinking that they would either make it to Los Angeles or San Francisco before they had to go back to Germany possibly selling their bikes before they caught there jets home.

The owner had several tires that I could choose from. I got a 26x1.7 65 psi Continental tire. The cost was $29.95 before tax so it would have been around $33 after tax. The guy sold it to me for $30. I went around to a parking lot next to the shop to switch tires. I found out that the hole had made it clear through the tread and the first patch boot had been exposed. I had Alice back up on her two wheels in about 20 minutes. I took the time to take off my pullover.

Since there was the possible threat of storms in the afternoon, I tried to connect with one of the warm shower members. Several of the phone numbers had been disconnected. The younger guys had left and un-upated profile still up. I tried one of the older gentleman but he couldn't host anybody because he was recovering from a stroke. The other older gentleman who had listed that they had a guest cottage wasn't home.

I made my way North along Main Street. Most of Main Street had rails for street cars and platforms for people in wheelchairs. The street cars weren't running at the time so there were small buses on the route. There was a stretch of Main street that was closed to vehicular traffic and was just for street cars and walkers. This was a hard section to ride through because of the cobble stone. After about five of these blocks, I was able to head South to get on Front Street. Front Street is on a bluff and it is just a block away from the Mississippi River so I was finally able to see the Mississippi River after riding close to it for 325 miles from Washington, MS. Along Front Street there was a bike lane through most of the Northern part of the downtown area. I rode through a sort of one block long tunnel with the convention center above me. I stopped to take pictures of the Memphis Pyramid. Instead of being a sports coliseum venue, it was now a combination Bass Pro Sports Shop and a Ducks Unlimited Musuem. There was an observation deck near the top of the pyramid.

As I was in the process of getting my cell phone out to take the pictures, I felt a blow coming from behind me. I thought that I had been accidently nudged by a vehicle but it was actually a black guy a bicycle. The guy told me that he had lost his balance and that is why he had ran into me instead of riding around me. The guy was attempting to ride with some large unwheely things like a large pair of knee length rain boots and a couple of other things. The guy didn't have a back rack. Of course the guy wasn't wearing a helmet. I got of Alice to check her out and my gear but I didn't find any damage.

I finished up Front Street, rode through an industrial area, and rode passed the airport for small planes before getting onto US 51. US 61 had crossed over the MS River with I-40 and was now going up the East side of Arkansas to St Louis, MO. Before starting my way along US 51, I stopped for a late lunch at a Wendys in North Memphis. I got a value chicken sandwich and a glass of water. While I was eating, I had a conversation with a lady healthcare worker. I shared with her a copy of the JFJ article. Before she left, she told me that she wanted to buy my supper so she slipped me a $20 in a GH. This got me 2/3 of what I paid for the new rear tire.

The ride along US 51 went okay because there was a paved shoulder to ride along. My goal was to ride as far as Millington and try and connect with a minister. Back in 2014, I had connected with the Methodist minister and had stayed for the afternoon and night in the old parsonage which had been converted into an arts (quilting) studio and classrooms for an alternate school.

I got into downtown Millington around 3 PM and I rode over to the Methodist Church. The secretaries told me that the pastor who I had met had moved on two years ago. There had been a funeral at the church in the morning and the new pastor had taken the rest of the day off. The property manager was away from the office but he was contacted. I was told that there was going to be some activity happening in the parsonage early tomorrow morning so I couldn't stay there. There was a suggestion for me to contact the crisis center but it had closed at 1 PM. I rode over to the nearby Catholic Church. The priest was away but the secretary let me use a phone book to try the other churches in the area. I couldn't find anybody at the other churches except for the large First Baptist Church on the Northern of town. The guy who I talked with couldn't make any decisions because the senior staff had gone for the day.

On the way out of town, I had to stop and find some cover to wait out a brief rain shower. Just passed the First Baptist Church, was the large Crossroads Baptist Church. The office had closed for the day at 1:30 PM. I talked with a couple of guys who did groundskeeping. I was told that the youth minister was still in the office upstairs on the second floor and he came down to talk with me. He wasn't that helpful. He told me that with regards to me staying in the church building overnight wouldn't happen because of insurance liabilities. He told me that he probably would have gotten fired if he had let me stay in the church. Here was another case of a church being turned into a business with no expressed compassion. I did discuss with the youth minister Matthew 25 but he slyly told me that wisdom was more important than showing compassion to others. It was just a waste of time stopping. There was another smaller church across the highway but I couldnn't get over there because of all of the extra traffic coming out of Memphis at the beginning of rush hour.

There was enough of a shoulder to ride along to get out of the traffic. In the Brighton area, I got off US 51 for the ride through town. The only church that I rode passed was the First Baptist Church and there wasn't anybody around it. The remaining miles to Covington went quickly because there was a slight tailwind to push me along. The sky was getting darker behind me but it didn't rain.

I got into the Covington area around dusk. From the Southern edge of town, it would have been about a three mile ride into the downtown area. I had gotten help during previous trips through the police station from local ministers or from the officers themselves.

I happened to see some cars pulling into the parking lot of a church on the west side of the highway and people going into the church so I decided to go over to the church to investigate. There were some people assembling to practice a skit that they were going to perform during this Sunday's service. The people were quite friendly towards me. One of the ladies was the worship leader (pastor). One of the guys was a sheriff's deputy. He called the sheriff department to see if the transient program but it wasn't in operation at the current time. I was told because of security purposes there was no way for me to stay in the church for the night but since I shared with them my credentials (letters of reference and the JFJ article) arrangements would be made for the church to pay the bill at one of the motels near the Northern edge of town. I wasn't told at which motel I would be staying at. There were quite a few ranging from a cheap Motel 6 to a Comfort Inn and Suites. One of the guys named Toby would take me to the hotel because it was getting dark and it was starting to drizzle. I was really surprised when we pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express instead of one of the cheaper motel chains. Before Toby left, he slipped me a GH of $20 so I could get something to eat for supper at the nearby McDs and have some money left over. This offer of compassion was a direct 180 from what I had recieved at the churches that I had stopped at in Millington about four hours earlier.

April 15, 2016 : Covington, TN to Newbern, TN : 47.19 miles (75.50 km)
Trip Total: 1,071.74 miles (1,714.78 km)
Year Total: 1,825.62 miles (2,920.99 km)

I had a pretty good night at the hotel. I was still blown away by their choice of lodging for me. There were othere motels in the area besides the Holiday Inn ranging from a Motel 6, Super 8, Days Inn, Quality Inn, and Comfort Inn. It was really good also to have something hot to eat for supper instead of just peanut butter sandwiches. I sort of stayed up late so I could catch up with things on the internet.

I slept okay pretty well through the night. I woke up a little before 6 AM to a cold room. Sometime during the night, the heater unit stopped working so the unit was just blowing out cold air. There was a pretty good hot breakfast. I chose biscuits, scrambled eggs, and turkey sausage over pancakes. Around 7 AM, it started to rain. Between 7 AM and 8 AM, it came down hard in spurts. Radar showed storms coming from the Southeast to the Northwest. By 8:15 AM, it stopped raining.

I left the hotel around 8:40 AM. The sky was a little overcast and there was a wind from the Southeast. There was the possibility of more showers throughout the day. For the most part along US 51 to Dyersburg, there was a wide paved shoulder to ride along. I made about 24 miles in by noon. I stopped at a gas station outside of Ripley for something to eat.

The afternoon ride to Dyersburg went okay. By 1 PM, I was able to take off both my pullover and my windbreaker. I got into downtown Dyersburg around 3 PM. Being that it was Friday afternoon, I wasn't really expecting to find anybody at the churches. The office of the First United Methodist Church was closed. There was a sign on one of the glass doors that said that Compassion Funds would only be given out on Thursdays between 1 PM and 3 PM. A second line said, help would only be given out if there was no support from either the Union Rescue Mission or another ministry called Matthew 25. There wasn't any indication of the other agencies' addresses, phone numbers, or hours of operation.

Not to far from the Methodist Church was the First Baptist Church. There was this guy sitting outside of the office. I stopped there to talk with him. I wasn't sure what his duty at the church was. The only thing that he told me to do was to go to the Rescue Mission. He started to give me directions but he was sidetracked by a call on his cellphone. I didn't wait for him to finish the call. I got back on US 51 Bus and rode to the Northern edge of town. I couldn't get on US 51 because it joined up with I-155 and became a restricted access highway till at least Troy near Union City.

After stopping at a gas station for a short break, I got on old 51 to Newbern. The highway was pretty rough. I started to notice that the front tire was bumping more that normal. I didn't stop to check it out because there wasn't any place where I could pull over off of the road.

I got into downtown Newbern around 6 PM. There was some activity at the First Baptist Church. There were quite a few youth being dropped off at the fellowship hall with overnight bags and bedding. I found out that there was going to be some kind' of youth lock-in overnight. I got invited in to take part in the meal which was sort of Mexican (tacos and chips with cheese). I was able to talk with some of the adults and the youth so I'm counting this as a church even though I didn't talk with everybody. One of the adults who I had talked to tried to get hold of the pastor. There was a deacon there but he wasn't that friendly towards me. He told me that I couldn't stay the night because there wasn't any extra person there to babysit me. I've never had anybody babysit me. The brief experience with the deacon kind of soured the whole experience at the church.

As I was finishing up my meal, the three young boys (between 10 and 12) at the table thought it would be cute to berate in unison a young girl who was maybe 10 who was also at the table but opposite from them. That didn't go well with me because bullying has been in the news for the past four days with bad consequences. There was a 12 year old girl who had committed suicide because of cyber-bullying and stocking. An 11 year old boy had been found dead on the playground at another school. witnesses say that there had been an altercation between that boy and another boy in the school who was known to be a bully. There was a 8 yr old boy who had been berated by his teacher for possibly sleeping in school at his desk. In fact, the boy had suffered an attack from another student who was also a bully and the attack happened when the teacher wasn't looking. The trauma to the head was major enough to cause a concussion. The mother reported that her son's glasses were broken by the same bully last month. No action to discipline the bully ever occured. Because of these three events, I chastised the boys and asked them why they thought that it was okay to verbally abuse (bully) the young girl. One of the boys said that they did it just because she was a girl. I was going to say something else to the boys but I was sort of cut off by this lady who sat on the other side of the little girl. To me, she might have been the little girl's mother but by her action she just brushed the event off as child's play and just served as an enabler to the boys. I was really wondering why there wasn't any contract of morality with the youth at the church. I didn't take the time to find out if the youth minister was there and to ask that person that question.

Not to far from the church was the police station. I stopped there to see if anybody knew how to connect with another local minister. Nobody knew how to connect with the minister at the Methodist church. The main officer who I talked with told me that his manager at the Church of Christ had gone out of town until Sat night to do some fishing. There was a brief confab with a couple other police officers and I was given permission to camp out in one of the local parks.

I got little lost getting to the park. There was a picnic shelter with restrooms near the parking lot. The restrooms were open. Behind the shelter and down a hill was a playground in a valley next to a small creek and some picnic tables on concrete slabs. The park was separated from the neighborhood houses by some fences. I situated myself at one of the picnic tables that was beyond the playground. I waited till after dusk to pitch my tent. I wanted to see if any other light in the park was going to turn on but none did other than the three near the parking lot and the shelter. There was enough room on the slab for me to pitch the tent behind the picnic table. Hopefully, I will be able to get some sleep because there was an occasional hoot from an hour, the pecking of a woodpecker, some dogs barking in the neighborhood, and an active rail line that carried mostly freight trains but there was an occasional Amtrak train. I think that Newbern was one of the stops between New Orleans, LA and Chicago, IL. Going through my previous trip logs, I found out that I did in fact travel through Newbern on Nov 23, 2010.

Tomorrow morning before I load up Alice, I've got to check out the front tire to see what is wrong with it.

April 16, 2016 : Newbern, TN to Oakwood, KY : 44.65 miles (71.44 km)
Trip Total: 1,116.39 miles (1,786.22 km)
Year Total: 1,870.27 miles (2,992.43 km)

I had an okay night camping out in the city park. I didn't have any night visitors. One of the police officers might have driven into the parking lot but they didn't venture into the park to see how I was doing. Up until the time when it got dark, there was an older gentleman out seeding his garden behind his house next to the park. It was warm enough so I just started to sleep on top of my sleeping bag. I felt kind of secure because there was enough light around me to cause shadows on the wall of my tent so I could see if there were any people coming to bother me.

Around 2:30 AM, I did hear some loud voices nearby but they stayed far away. I didn't look out of my tent to investigate. Before going back to sleep, I crawled into my sleeping bag. I woke up around sunrise at 6:20 AM. It didn't take long for me to get dressed, cleaned up, have a light breakfast, strike camp, and load up Alice. It was a little chilly so I only put on my pullover. Before loading up Alice, I checked out the front tire to see what was wrong. I found a slight twist in the tread. The internel bead had failed. This doesn't happen that often but the tire was old and I did have a lot of strikes to it from all of the rumble strips that I had run over. The front tire has to at least hold up till I get to at least Union City. I've got to stop at a Walmart there and see if I could find a bike tire there. I've had to use tires from Walmart before. They usually are 1.75 inches wide and low pressure (around 40 psi). I think that the tire that I had on Alice before this current one had come from Walmart.

After filling the water bottles from a spigot outside of one of the restrooms, I left the park around 7:10 AM. I backtracked through the downtown area to get back on old 51. Old 51 only goes as far as Trimble. There was supposed to be a bridge out between Trimble and Obion. Normally people get on the new US 51 there. For me, I would possibly have to head East on TN 89 through Mason Hall to Kenton and then I would have to head North on US 45W to Union City.

It was a slow bumpy ride to Trimble. I rode over to the interchange to see if there might be a gas station where I could possibly try to hitchhike the rest of the way to Union City but there weren't any place where I could stop and try. Before making the long trip East to US 45 W, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. I called my friend in Hattiesburg to tell him what was happening. He told me that he would try and wire me some money via Western Union.

One of the local guys told me that I might be able to get across the closed bridge afterall. The bridge and road was definitely closed to vehicular traffic but the bridge was still standing. What had been done was the placement of a concrete barrier at both sides of the bridge along with a dirt berm. I should be able to portage everything over the concrete barrier and berms and ride across the bride.

The road to the bridge was in bad repair. There were quite a few large cracks in it. There were several smaller bridges before the main bridge and these were in bad repair. There were several gaps in the concrete sides of the bridges. From the road closed sign to the South side of the bridge was about 3 miles. Before I started to portage my gear over the first dirt berm, I got a call from my friend in Hattiesburg. He told me that his wife had tried to wire me some money from one of the western union offices in their area but two of the offices were closed because of power outtages. There was a bad thunderstorm going through the Hattiesburg area. The other office had closed for the day before she had gotten there. I told my friend that I had enough money on hand to get a tire from Walmart. My friend told me that they would try again on Monday.

It didn't take me long to get my gear and Alice over the dirt berm and concrete barrier to the concrete deck of the bridge. The concrete surface of the bridge was quite cracked but I was able to ride across the bridge at the center line. There was an old steel trestle bridge across the main river. There was a black guy fishing. At the North side of the bridge, it was a little trickier to get my gear and Alice over the dirt berm because the berm was a little steeper with more looser dirt and stones. I climbed up on top of the concrete barrier and was able to toss over the berm my camping gear and panniers. I carefully carried over my computer bag and Alice. Before heading out again on the other side of the bridge into Obion, I had to work on the front fender because it was rubbing against the damaged tire. Before riding the one mile into Obion, I took off my pullover because the temperature was back into the low 70s.

The ride through Obion to Trimble went okay. Traffic was very minimal. Just beyond Trimble, I was able to get back on US 51 for the 6 mile ride into Union City. US 51 was no longer restricted access and there were signs that said that the narrow shoulder was low a bike lane the rest of the way to the South Fulton and the KY state line. Because of the bad tire, it took me until 12:40 pm to get in the first 20 miles. I stopped at a church for a short lunch break. About a mile further down the road, I had to stop near a field to find some place to empty out my bladder. I also took the time to pull out my KY state map and get that ready to use.

I got into the Union City area around 2:30 PM. Before going to the Walmart, I stopped at a gas station to try and get something cold to drink but the prices were kind of high. The mark up was too high for me. As I was leaving the store, this lady followed me out and asked me if I wanted something to drink and she would pay for it. I told her that a small bottle of Powerade would be fine but she told me to get a large bottle instead. I took the time to drink it slowly and read some more of the book that I got out of the little free library box in Memphis.

When I got into Walmart, I was happy to see that they had a 20 inch tire on the shelve. It only cost me $18 including tax. The only problem that it was 40 psi but with the new stronger kevlar banding in the tread and sidewall I inflated the tire to around 45 psi. I had Alice back up in a little under 20 minutes. The front tire was the last of the two tires that my friend Romana had bought me at the bike shop in Tupelo, MS back on October 7th of last year. The front tire had lasted 111.62 more miles than the rear tire had lasted.

Before finding my way into the downtown area, I stoppedat a McDs for a late lunch of a hamburger and a cup of water. I was able to check my email messages. The ride into the downtown area went okay. I did have to stop to check out why the register wasn't working. The sensor had gotten out of whack. Having the new tire up front is making the ride a lot more smoother but I've got to check out the front disc rotor. It's not in alignment and I've noticed two rub marks near the center of two spans.

I stopped at the police station to see if somebody knew how to connect with a local minister. I talked with a lady dispatcher and she got a police officer to come in and talk to me. The police officer told me that there really wasn't any funds available in the ministerial association program and the minister that they normally dealt with was out of town. Because of these things, I decided to just head out of town. I remembered from a previous trip through the area that I had made contact with a Methodist minister in Clinton, KY. Since Clinton wasn't that far away, I thought that I could get there before dark.

I had to get back on US 51 for about three miles before I could get on the road to the KY state line and Clinton. Along the way to this road, I rode passed the new American Discovery Park. This was half museum with old buildings including a church and passenger train depot that people could go through along with a large science museum that had an observation tower four stories tall.

The sign on the right road was a little confusing. Instead of saying N 21, it said that it was E 21. It should have said W 21 but W 21 was in fact going East back into the downtown area. Between the KY state line and US 51, I bumped into a guy on a bicycle that had panniers. I thought that he was a fellow cross-country cyclist but he was just a local guy who was just riding into Union City. The guy wasn't wearing a helmet but he was wiring a pair of large headphones for some kind of music player that was in one of his jacket's top pockets. I made a sly comment on why he wasn't wearing a helmet. I told him about my friend up in the Minnesota area who had sustained major brain trauma from the bike crash and not wearing a helmet.

From where I had turned off of US 51, it was a little over a 9 mile ride to the KY state line. Once at the state line, I took the traditional pictures of Alice. From the state line, it was going to be a 13 mile ride into Clinton. I got to about 5 miles out of Clinton. I saw a truck outside of an Methodist church that I stayed in before. I was hoping to spend the night in the church and then go into Clinton proper for church. I stayed in the church November 04, 2014. I was riding back to Reddick, FL from Sabula, IA. I had met the pastor at the main Methodist church in Clinton and he had given me permission to stay in the country church overnight. People are going to start showing up at this church around 8:30 AM and the service is going to start here around 9 AM.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing after church service in Clinton. I did have an extremely short day because of the high winds near Tunica, MS on Tuesday so I'm not sure if I will be taking the afternoon off the road. For the week from Clarksdale, MS, I had ridden 221.80 miles. This was only 37.17 miles less than the previous week. From where I am now, I'm about 41 miles away from the Ohio River and Cairo, IL.

Going back through the previous trip long for 2015, I found out that I had gotten 4,209.43 miles on the previous front tire. This was 275.20 more miles than what I got on this old tire. I think that this previous tire had come from Walmart. With regards to the previous rear tire that I had gotten before the one that I had replaced in Memphis. I had only gotten 1,694.98. This means that I had gotten 2,127.63 more miles on it.

April 17, 2016 : Oakwood, KY to Wickliffe, KY : 30.12 miles (48.19 km)
Trip Total: 1,146.51 miles (1,834.42 km)
Year Total: 1,900.39 miles (3,040.62 km)

I had a sort of an off night at the church. I tried to get comfortable on one of the church pews in the fellowship hall but there wasn't any padding or cushioning. The pews were of the older style so they didn't have a flat seat. The pew was also quite narrow. I just couldn't get comfortable. Around 2 AM, I gave up on the pew and moved my sleeping bag down onto the carpeted floor. I was able to sleep till around 6 AM.

I left the church around 7 AM. It was warm enough so I didn't have to use my pullover. It was about a three mile ride into Clinton. I found my way over to the First United Methodist Church. I got to meet the pastor before the Sunday school class. He was the same minister who I had met in 2014. Stan was getting ready to retire after 40 years in the ministry in June. This was his 8th to the last service. Stan told me that it would be okay for me to spend the night in the church.

I got invited to one of the Sunday school classes "The Upper Room" that met in the basement. Small group. I got to share with the group before the leader talked about his experience doing ministry at a maximum security prison. Nothing much happened after the class so I went to the sanctuary. One person came up to talk to me and two people shook my hand. One of the ladies who was in the sunday school class sat next to me. She told me that she had discussed my situation with her husband and I would be invited to their house.

At the beginning of the service, the pastor introduced me and I was able to share a few words. The service was okay. It was a lot better than the FUMC in Clarksdake, MS. Nobody stopped to talk to me. Everybody was gathering in the fellowship hall to honor to senior adults who were moving away. There was a lot of food. It was kind of strange that the couple who invited me over to their house didn't sit at my table with me. Never found out their names.

After about 40 minutes in the fellowship hall, I had about enough so I went outside to wait. I took the time to check out the front disc unit. I found out that there was a bent spot but I didn't have the right set of allen wrenches to take the disc rotor off. After waiting about 20 minutes the guy came out to give me some vague directions on how to get to their house. I thought that they were living in town but they lived about 8 miles away to the North. The directions were quite vague.

I headed out and I was told that they would meet up with me. I was supposed to head North on US 51 for about 5 miles, turn left onto a road going east, ride east till I come to a Baptist Church, and turn North onto a road, and follow the road for about 2 miles to their farm. It was really hot probably in the 80s. About a quarter mile from where I was supposed to turn off of US 51, they showed up and passed me. I turned off at the intersection but I didn't go very far down the road because I didn't see the church where I was supposed to turn. I don't believe in impractical miles that I would have to backtrack. Not knowing if I would have had to travel two or five miles more, I decided to just turn around and get back on US 51.

The ride along US 51 went okay. Traffic was light. I took advantage of the gas stations in the small towns that I passed through to take a break and get something cold to drink. Overall, the hills were okay and I was able to ride over them except for the last hill coming into Wickliffe and I walked up this one.

I got into Wickliffe around 5:45 PM. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I got there 5 mins before the evening service started. I got to talk with the gentleman who was going to lead the service. The church is between ministers and a search committee is getting ready to be formed. At the beginning of the service, I was introduced and was able to say a few words. After the service, I was invited to use the Family Life Center for the night. I was also given access to any of the food that was in the refrigerator/freezer. It was nice to have something hot to eat for supper.

I'm about 4 miles away from the mouth of the Ohio River and 8 miles away from Cairo, IL.

April 18, 2016 : Wickliffe, KY to Wolf Lake, IL : 52.29 miles (48.19 km)
Trip Total: 1,198.80 miles (1,918.08 km)
Year Total: 1,952.68 miles (3,124.29 km)

I had an okay night in the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church in Wickliffe. It was nice being able to have a hot meal. The only carpeted space in the big room was a small stage in back. I was thinking that the emergency exit sign above the back door was going to keep me awake but it didn't. I fell asleep around 8:30 PM. I did wake up twice to relieve my bladder but I was able to fall back asleep and stay asleep till around 6 AM. For breakfast, I I had hot biscuits and butter.

I left the building around 7:00 AM. It wasn't that chilly but I wore my pullover. The three mile ride to the base of the Ohio River bridge was okay. Traffic was light and courteous. There were signs saying that there was road construction on the bridge. I walked up the onramp. The work construction - one lane zone was from about 1 quarter across the bridge on the KY side to halfway across the bridge. I took quite a few pictures across the bridge. Once passed the work zone, I rode the rest of the way across the bridge. I did have to get off and walk across the expansion joints before continuing my ride. It was about 8 AM when I got off the bridge into Illinois. I stopped to take some more pictures and called up my pastor friend in Columbus, GA. Before riding into Cairo, I took off my pullover.

I'm always surprised at how economically depressed Cairo is. I stopped to do some shopping at a Dollar Store. I took a sidetrip to check out some murals that had been painted on the side of the flood wall for the Ohio River. There weren't that many murals.

I followed US 51 for about 4 more miles and then I got on IL 3 (the IL Great River Road). The ride along IL 3 went okay. It was mostly flat and there was some shoulder to ride along. By noon, I got a little over 21 miles in. I stopped at a picnic shelter behind the community center/ library for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride went okay. I got into the small town of Wake around 5:30 PM. There were two churches but no contact numbers. I rode on to Wolf Lake around dusk. There were some contact numbers on the front door of the Faith Assembly Church. I was able to contact one of the elders and he came over to the church. We were able to get in contact with the pastor who lived 40 miles away. I was given permission to spend the night in the church.

April 19, 2016 : Wolf Lake, IL to Chester, IL : 41.92 miles (67.07 km)
Trip Total: 1,240.72 miles (1,985.15 km)
Year Total: 1,994.60 miles (3,191.36 km)

I had an okay night in the church. It would have been a little better if I had also used my sleeping pad but I didn't. It was great having a hot meal. I was thinking that I would have left some of the pizza for breakfast but I scarfed all of it down because it had a thin crust. It was a meatless pizza so it was okay for me to have a chocolate ice cream sundae for dessert along with a piece of cake. It did take me a little while falling asleep around 10 PM. I woke up two times during the night but I was able to fall asleep again.

Being that I was in a room without any windows, my bioclock didn't wake me up till around 6:30 AM. My bioclock had been tricked by getting use to the light from the main hallway coming into the room from under the door. I quickly got cleaned up, dressed, and packed up because there were supposed to be some people coming after 7 AM.

While I was eating my breakfast, Pastor Thorn showed up. I talked with him a little bit last night. He was a nice older man. we talked religion for about a half hour. After some pictures were taken, I got to share a little bit with the few members who had showed up. More was going to show up around 8:30 AM but I didn't want to wait for them. I'm still counting this as a church (15th for the year, and 10th for the current mission trip). Pastor Thorn helped me get Alice out of the front door and on the front porch, he and several of the ladies prayed over me. Before I left around 8:20 AM, Pastor Thorn slipped me a GH.

The morning ride went okay. There weren't any small towns to ride through. For the most part, IL 3 was close to the MS River and the railroad was to the East. Once the railroad switched sides and was more closer to the River, the highway followed the bluffs on the East side of the bottomlands. I got the first 20 miles in by 12:15 PM. I stopped at this nature reserve to get off the road and to have some lunch.

The afternoon ride I had more low hills to get over. About 15 miles out of Chester, I bumped into another cyclist and he was heading South. This was the first real cycle tourist that I've met this year.

The guy's name was Armando Basile and he was originally from Italy but sort of resides now in Germany. Armando is a retired bricklayer. He is kind of small (about 5 foot) and wiry. I'm guessing his age to be 69 or 70. Since 1983, he has been cycling pretty well through every country in the world. He's on his 6th trip around the world. Armando gave me a clipping from a newspaper in Australia back in 2011 (unsure of the date). The article states that Armando passed the 1,000,000 km mark (625,000 mile mark). He would have been averaging about 22,000 miles a year. He told me that he is now closer to around 800,000 miles. His goal is to pass the 1,000,000 mile mark. This is the first time that I've ever heard of him so to me this is unverified. I don't ever remember seeing any reference on the web about him.

Armando was supposed to be heading to Washington, DC for the flight back to Europe but to me he is way off course. He should have started his rideEastward between St Louis and Chicago instead of riding so far South of St. Louis. Armando didn't have any idea on where he was going to cross the Appalachians. His flight was supposed to be on April 28 (9 more cycling days). I told him that for him to get back on track, he should continue on to Cairo, cross the Ohio River to Wickliffe, KY, head up the Ohio River through Cincinatti to Pittsburgh, PA , take the GAP to Cumberland, MD, and then ride the C&O Towpath to Washington, DC. I told him realistically it would take him over 13 days to do so. Armando says that he rides over 100 miles per day and will often ride beyond midnight. His bike was a small one but he had front Ortlieb front panniers and rear Ortieb rear panniers that were bigger than the ones that I had. I didn't see much in the way of camping gear on his rear rack. I also didn't see very much water being carried. I did notice a large soda bottle with soda strapped to the top of one of his front panniers. Before he left, I gave him one of my JFJ articles. What really got to me was that Armando doesn't carry and cell phone for communication or emergencies. He relies on people to contact his son in Germany via email to tell him how Armando is doing.

The ride through the Rockwood area was hilly because the highway was on a bluff with just the railroad between it and the MS River. About 4 miles out of Rockwood, I stopped to check out a tipple where large truck trailors were unloaded of crussed bitemous coal and the coal was being loaded into barges. Two trucks can be emptied out at a time. I took a short movie and some pictures. The operation of emptying out of the trailors went very quickly and more trucks took the empty truck's places.

After the coal tipple, there was a really steep hill to climb over. I got off Alice and walked over it. The grade was so steep that there was a steep grade warning at the top and a runaway truck braking area at the bottom. From that hill, there were three more long hills to climb over into Chester.

I was hoping to be in Chester before 5 PM but it was almost 5:20 PM when I got into the downtown area. I stopped at a Casey's to use the restroom and get something cold to drink. I stopped at the police station to see if I could get any help connecting with a local minister. I was told that there was the no ministerial association in town but the Eagles club has some kind of lodging for cyclists who are coming through the area. The Eagles Club was four blocks away from the police station. At the back end of their parking lot was a sort of shed dubbed the Shady Rest Motel in reference to the hotel in the tv show "Petticoat Junction". The shed is a bunkhouse that could fit nine people and their gear tightly with bikes being left outside. The beds are very tight. There is no headroom so you can't sit up. You literally have to squeeze yourself into the space. You do have enough space to raise your knees up and cross them. There is a little more space here betwee tbe bedsthan there was at the Common Cause disaster relief center in the Lower 9th ward of New Orleans.

According to the guest book, the bunkhouse has been open since April 30, 2011. I'm the first cyclist for 2016. The last person who stayed here was a walker on 12/19/15. The last cyclist was on 10/20/15 and that person was cycling down the MS River from Lake Itasca State Park near Bemidji, MN to New Orleans. Normally, cyclists show up here the beginning of May so I'm early. The bunkhouse has electricity for lights and air conditioning (maybe heat) but there is no water close by. There is a restroom building but the toilets there were unusable. You have to go into the club to use the restroom there when it's open. I had to go to the club house (aerie) to use the restroom and I checked out how much they charged for food at the bar. The menu was incredibly high.

I'm going to get up early and backtrack to the Caseys to get some breakfast before heading out. My goal for tomorrow is to ride along IL 3 through Red Bud to Waterloo. At Waterloo, I'll be making my swinging Eastward around the St Louis Metroplex.

April 20, 2016 : Chester, IL to Chester, IL : 07.91 miles (67.07 km)
Trip Total: 1,248.63 miles (1,997.81 km)
Year Total: 2,002.51 miles (3,204.02 km)

I had a somewhat okay night in the cyclist bunkhouse of the Eagles in Chester. I'm glad that nobody else showed up because it's really tight here. It would have been nice if there was a space heater. I had to get to the clubhouse before it closed to use the restroom because the bathrooms in the fieldhouse were out of repair. I didn't check the shower. It was a really tight squeeze getting into one of the bed slots. There should only be spaces for six cyclists instead of nine.

I went to sleep around 9 PM. I did have to wake up a couple of times to relieve my bladder. The last time was around 4:30 AM. I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep but I did till around 6:20 AM.

There was a light rain. I waited till around 8:20 AM to head out. I walked back to the Caseys gas station to use the restroom, get a light breakfast, and get my water bottles filled up. I got back on IL 3 going North. I stopped at a shopping center to get a few things at a grocery store and a dollar store. A couple of miles out of town, I stopped at sports complex. The restroom was open. I took a break under the picnic shelter. I took the time to check out the front disc brake. I used a pair of pliers to straighten out the disc rotor. It doesn't wobble much anymore.

It was raining harder so I didn't want to head out to Red Bud. I haven't had any time off the road since April 12th in Tunica, MS. This was 297.10 miles ago. I decided to turn around and try and connect with a minister. I stopped at the MO Synod Luth Church. I talked with the minister he wasn't that helpful. I couldn't stay around the church grounds because there was a school. I had to stop across the street and a house being used for boyscouts to fix a flat front tire. I didn't find anything sticking out from the inside of the tire. I repaired a pinhole leak. I rode around town to check out the other churches. I only found the Catholic and Presbyterian Churches. At the Presbyterian Church there was nobody in the office and the majority of the building was being used as a Headstart Center. Before going back to the bunkhouse, I stopped at a Hardees to get a light value meal and also to check my email.

Chester is the boyhood home of Elzie Segar. Segar created the cartoon strip for "Thimble Theatre" for King Features in 1919. Popeye was created in 1929. Olive Oyl was created before Popeye. Popeye came out of a need for a sailor to take Olive Oyl and another character called Caster on an ocean trip.

April 21, 2016 : Chester, IL to Waterloo, IL : 41.63 miles (66.61 km)
Trip Total: 1,291.26 miles (2,066.02 km)
Year Total: 2,044.14 miles (3,270.62 km)

I had a somewhat okay afternoon night in the cyclist bunkhouse of the Eagles in Chester. I'm glad that nobody else showed up because it's really tight here. The rain really came down in the afternoon. The rain was so hard sometimes that there was some flooding in the parking lot. I thought that the shed might float away.

I spent most of the time working on the pictures that I took the last five days and I sewed up a new panel on the seat cover. It didn't get too cold in the bunkhouse so I just slept on top of the sleeping bag. I went to bed around 10 PM and I pretty well slept through the night till 4:30 AM. I watched a movie waiting for it to get light.

When it got light, I noticed that the front tire was soft. When I checked the inside of the tire out, I noticed that there was something sticking out from the inside. I had to use a pair of finger nail clippers to remove a short piece of wire. It took a while patching the innertube so I could use it again. I had the tire fixed in about 25 minutes.

I left the bunkhouse around 7:30 AM. It was cool enough to wear my jacket. On the way out of town, I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things. I also stopped at the rec center west of town to fill up any water bottles and shave. The sky was a little overcast.

The ride to Red Bud went okay. There were some hills to cross over but they weren't that bad. I got the first 20 miles of the day by 12:20 pm. I stopped for a short break at a gas station about 4 miles out of Red Bud for a short break. In Red Bud, I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch break.

The afternoon ride was sort of mixed. The ride to the Randolph County line went okay but there was some washboard shoulder. I thought that my tires were going soft. Once in Randolph County, I hit a 7 mile stretch of road construction. They were grinding the pavement down for repaving. I tried riding the grooved pavement for about a half mile but it was really tricky because of the grooving and also pavement dust flying up to me. I switched over to the Southbound side and I rode against the traffic. For about 2 miles, I had to occasionally stop to let the Southbound traffic go past me. Through the area where the machines were grinding down the pavement, the road was down to one lane. I had to wait about 15 minutes before I could start my trek through the work area. I got caught in the work area and had to wait for traffic to clear up. It had taken me a little over an hour to get through the whole work area. Once out of the zone, the miles went by fast.

I was hoping to get into Waterloo around 4 PM but it didn't happen. About five miles out of Waterloo, it started to get dark and it started to rain. I had the time to get my jacket on. While I was riding towards Waterloo, I got a call from a friend of mine in Hattiesburg. Johnny offered to wire me some money. After about fifteen minutes of wearing my jacket, I was able to take it off.

Coming into Waterloo, I hit another stretch of road construction. At the beginning of the construction zone, I almost got hit because somebody in a car didn't yield to me and turn right at the last moment in front of me. I had just seconds to brake so I wouldn't get hit. The construction zone was really tricky because there was a deep hole to the right of me where they were going to put in a new lane. The zone lasted for about 2 miles.

In Waterloo, I stopped at a McDs for something light to eat and also to get on the web to see where the nearest Western Union agent was in town. It turned out that it was at a Walgreens a block away. Getting the money out of the system was really hard because there was some computer problems. It took me and the store clerk helping me five tries to get the system to work. It took us nearly 90 minutes to get my money. I stopped at a Walmart close by to get a new innertube for the front wheel. For lodging, I stopped at the Super 8 on the Northern edge of Waterloo. The last time that I had really slept in a decent bed and had access to a shower was a week ago April 14th in Covington, TN. That was 266 miles ago.

Instead of riding around the Eastern St Loius metroplex area, I'm thinking about riding through it. I'm hoping to see the St Louis Jefferson Arch across the Mississippi River.

April 22, 2016 : Waterloo, IL to Clifton Terrace, IL : 50.12 miles (80.19 km)
Trip Total: 1,341.38 miles (2,146.21 km)
Year Total: 2,094.26 miles (3,350.86 km)

I had an okay night at the hotel. It was good sleeping in a bed and having a shower after a week. There wasn't that much hot food for breakfast except for waffles that you warmed up in a toaster. I was going to head out before 8 AM but I had to wait for some software updates to install.

It was around 8:30 AM when I headed out. The ride North went okay. Just North of Columbia, I had to find a way to get on Old IL 3 because IL 3 became restricted access when it connected with I-255. I stopped for an early lunch break at a picnic table across from a gas station in Dupo. I called up a couple of WS members in St Louis to see if they might be available for a stopover. I got hold of one guy but he couldn't host me because he was expecting a large shipment of bees in the morning.

A couple of miles North of Dupo, I got on IL 3 again. I started to get glimpses of the Gateway Arch. I rode through Sauget to East St Louis. In East St Louis, I had to follow local roads to where I could get back on IL 3. East St Louis was a really econimically depressed area. Lots of closed shops. Buildings with brick facades falling down. Not a place to be in after dark.

Once back on IL 3, the ride went okay but there was a slight crosswind from the West. IL 3 was two lane until it got to Venice and then it became 4 lane. I was able to contact the WS member in the Alton area. In Alton, I stopped at a Taco Bell for some supper, Found a hair in my chicken burrito.

Got to my host house around 7:30 PM.

April 23, 2016 : Clifton Terrace, IL to Hardin, IL : 37.82 miles (60.51 km)
Trip Total: 1,379.20 miles (2,206.72 km)
Year Total: 2,132.08 miles (3,411.33 km)

I had an okay night at the Jerry's house. It turns out that I was Jerry's first WS guest. The only problem that I had was to get Alice up to Jerry's house because there was a steep 150 foot driveway that was made out of open center paving blocks instead of asphalt. It was a little cool to take a shower so I sponge bathed. I went to bed around 9:30 PM. I slept through the night till around 5 AM. I had to do my journaling for yesterday. Before Jerry went to St Louis to take part in a benefit bike ride, he prepared me a light breakfast of tea and a breakfast muffin. I took all of my things outside to load up Alice. Jerry left around 6:40 AM. There was electricity outside so I did a picture dump from my camera to my laptop.

I got back on the road around 7:10 AM. It was cool enough that I had to get out my pullover. Instead of getting directly on IL 100, I got on the separate paved bike path. This bike path lasted for about three miles and then it became a bike lane. I took a short break at a gas station in Grafton.

About three miles North of Grafton, the paved bike path started up again. Instead of staying at road level, the path started to go up a bluff. About a mile and a half, I noticed that there was a ferry going across the Illinois River. I had to backtrack about a tenth of a mile until I could find a path that would take me back down the hill to IL 100.

From where I got on IL 100, it was about a quarter mile ride to the Brussels Ferry. It was a free ferry. I had about a five minute wait before the ferry arrived back to the East side of the river and the ferry was offloaded. The ferry was a swing ferry because the towboat was attached to by a swivel joint to the side of the ferry. The ferry ride was about 6 minutes. The ferry offloaded onto Calhoun County 1.

The ride along the peninsula went okay. A mile out of Brussels, I stopped to take some pictures of some goats. There were three little goats. I took a short break at a grocery store in Brussels. About a mile out of Brussels, there were some low hills to cross over. Once passed the hills, the ride became flatter the rest of the way to Hardin.

I got into Hardin around 4 PM. After taking a short break at a gas station, I rode around town to check out churches. I came across the First Presbyterian Church. There was a youth center called "The Hot Spot" in the basement of the church. I got directions to the pastor's house. I found out through talking to some next door neighbors that the pastor was out of state on vacation. The gentleman that I talked to knew how I could get in contact with one of session leaders of the church. They met me back at the church. Instead of letting me spend the night in the church, there was an offer to get me a room at the motel in Jerseyville. Alice and most of my gear was left inside of the fellowship hall. I just packed up what I needed for the night. Before going to Jerseyville, we stopped at a local riverside restaurant for dinner. I'm going to be picked up around 8:00 AM. Service is at 9:30 AM.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between April 30th and May 07th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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