More bike shop time today! We got off to a nice start around 7:45 after a good night’s sleep. We grabbed some fresh fruit (!) at a convenience store, which is a rare treat. We got back on to the route and I promptly got us lost, riding on a rumble stripped shoulder as truck after truck roared past.
I could breathe a bit, as this road was mostly deserted. The morning was hazy and humid, but not terribly hot. As we rode though the climbing started and that DID warm us up. At the top of one of the hills I had a view down into the blueish valley ahead
This area had a number of very wealthy looking wineries (we even passed through the town of Wine Hill, but ironically only saw a church there). After we descended another large hill we reached a mostly flat section and made some good progress. Unfortunately we also heard the telltale snap of another broken spoke on Nicks back wheel. He didn’t even bother stopping to check it. The worry wart in me wanted to adjust the adjacent spokes but he pointed out were almost to Carbondale, and we can just get it fixed there. He was right. With his wheel rhythmically rocking like a horse on a merry-go-round we got back moving. I crossed my fingers the rim wouldn’t fold over before we got there.
We passed a ‘haunted’ house
Somewhere around there was an Amish market that had good cheese but we couldn’t find it. We rode through beautiful farmland and little groves of trees. The humidity was still high but not unbearable. The road had a good shoulder for probably 15 miles, the first time that’s happened in a long time. I was really enjoying the riding and we arrived on the outskirts of Murphysboro quickly. We switched to Google maps navigation to get us to a bike shop in Carbondale and as it often does it took us on small poorly maintained side streets. These were cobble streets that had been repaired with bumpy asphalt over the brick, so very rough. Nick wondered if the middle school had done the repair work 😁We wound through Murphysboro then got on the busy road going the 7 miles into Carbondale. It had a huge shoulder and we soon arrived in town. It’s supposedly a bike friendly town but there weren’t any bike lanes on the busy main thoroughfares. Regardless we made it to the bike shop. I picked up a rear tire (32 Schwalbe Marathon Plus) I’d reserved a week before and Nick got his spokes replaced. They also replaced my chain because it was almost to maximum wear, and sold me a big bottle to replace the one I’d lost. They had to replace Nicks cassette because it wasn’t shifting correctly they said. These repairs took several hours and we went to a Thai place for lunch to wait. They were only doing takeout so we wandered around trying to find a place to eat. The library wouldn’t let us in with food so Nick went to the bike shop to eat while I ate outside. I called ahead to a church up the road in Goreville and after talking to 3 very nice people was able to arrange to be let into the church. I went back to the bike shop and they were still working on Nicks bike so I went down the street to Jimmy John’s and sat in AC with a soda and wifi to wait. After an hour or so they finished (Nick had fallen asleep waiting 💤) and we paid and got packed up and ready to roll out. Neither of us were super excited to get back out into the heat and we once again disagreed on the route. I decided to take the trans am route while he took Google maps. His route ended up being much shorter while mine was (arguably) more scenic. It was hot out (85) but some of the humidity had died down thankfully. The riding was trafficy but they were respectful and I soon left the urban sprawl of Carbondale to find Little Grassy Lake.
It was a really nice little lake that I wish I could have dipped my toes in, but it was getting late and I need to make it to Goreville. I did get some photos though
I continued along the north side of the lake. Someone in a minivan honked enthusiastically and waved at me, I waved back. I rode past where I was supposed to turn. I rode the mile back to it, only to see that it was closed.
I turned back around and rode the 6+ mile detour around. About this time my seat post kept falling down. It seems the bike shop used a bunch of lube on it, perhaps too much. Even after clamping it down as hard as I could it still rotated and dropped. Eventually I got it into place and it mostly held and from there it was smooth sailing.
I turned south onto Wolf Creek Road and got to enjoy a phenomenal stretch of riding, the kind that this blogger says makes you want to keep touring for 10+ years. The sun was rising to my right, casting long shadows through the sparse trees. To my left was another ridge, dotted with farmhouses and fields. The terrain was very hilly, but pleasant somehow? The sounds of evening were all around me for the second day in a row, distinct in an obvious but indescribable way from the morning sounds I’m used to. I’m not ashamed to say that I teared up a bit at the sheer joy I felt from the world that I was experiencing. 1000s of miles from home, but perfectly where I should be. I’ll leave the photos to speak for themselves.
At one point I did hear loud rapid fire rifle shots. It was probably just someone doing target practice but I didn’t stick around to find out.
I turned east with just a few miles to Goreville and the spell was broken. The real world was texting: Nick was at the church and couldn’t get in, and the pastor was trying to figure out what was going on. I responded and hurried on to Goreville. I arrived at the church and a man in a truck welcomed me and said he texted the person to let me in. I thanked him and said it should already be taken care of. Nick was inside and let me in. This place is amazing! It has sofas with a tv, free laundry, and an excellent shower with soap and shampoo. It even has a kitchen. It’s by far the best church I’ve stayed in. Thanks to Pastor Rico, Jeannie and Josh for welcoming us and getting us inside. It’ll be tough to leave. We got some pizza for dinner then hit up the convenience store. We’re planning out the next few days of riding, particularly since Nick’s gets complicated as he leaves the route to head towards Columbus and New Jersey.
I am going to get some sleep. Night!
- Rx bar
- Milky way
- Pad Thai
- Egg rolls
- Fried banana
- Thai tea
- Cheese sticks