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Come Hell or High Water

Riding over the Mary River outside of Chester, Illinois

June 8, 2015 Chester, Illinois, on the banks of the Mississippi
This morning, after a rest day in Carbondale, I woke up to driving rain, horrendous wind, thunder, lightning, lions and tigers and bears... OY
After waiting it out until noon, I rode a short but hilly, windy and a little wet 48 mile ride to Chester, the bridgetown over the mighty Miss, to Missouri and the Ozark Mountains. Illinois has been kind, dogs and all. It's another world coming from Kentucky. The soybean, corn and wheat farms are all smartly manicured and look and feel healthy. I can't help thinking I'm entering the heartland.
I'm typing this post at the bar in the F.O.E (Fraternal Order of Eagles) where they have a free trans-am cyclist bunkhouse and shower... and cold beer, salad and chicken. In the back, there must be 75 or so townspeople playing volleyball, sipping beverages, eating, laughing and letting go of the day. The lions club meets up front on Monday evenings, and the restaurant-bar is full with families and couples enjoying an early summer evening - Americana at its best. When I hear all the camaraderie and conversation between the staff and their patrons, I'm reminded how much we're all the same. We may live in different places that offer different cultural opportunities, but we all want the same things and seek to live happy lives. If there is any theme more prevalent than others this tour, that's it. Our society seeks out differences, whether it's racial, religious, world-view based or political... but we're all not that different, and it would do us all good to start focusing more on how we're alike. Just my two cents.
I estimate to get over the mountains by the end of the week and enter Kansas this weekend, where I'm hoping the trail will be easy to follow... with the yellow brick road and all...
Thanks for riding along!
Pics:
1. corn
2. Lazy road - cyclists dream...
3. Soybeans and Clouds
4. Community Church/Cemetery
5. The long and straight road.
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