My hotel is the tallest building for miles (I was on the 24th floor). It made faint creaking sounds from the wind. They didn’t keep me up. Nothing could have. I was exhausted.
I started the day with a short ride to Abraham Lincoln’s house. It’s in a cute, preserved neighborhood with wooden sidewalks and gravel streets. Unfortunately I was 90 minutes too early for a tour so an exterior photo would have to do (sorry Jessica).
I was anxious to get on the road because the wind, albeit a light one, would be at my back. I made it two more miles before stopping for breakfast at a diner.
Eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast, and coffee.
With a full tank of gas, I boogied out of Springfield on a rail trail. The solitude was lovely but the trees along each side blocked the wind. Still, I was clipping along at twice yesterday’s speed with no effort.
In Chatham the trail gave way to hilly roads through suburban developments. Once clear of them I was on level country roads with my friend the wind nudging me along.
I started bonking after 25 miles and stopped at a gas station shop for food. I managed to gag down some Gatorade, pretzels, and crackers then hit the road again.
The temperature was in the low 60s and I struggled to keep my body temperature under control. A jacket was too warm but a shirt alone was chilly. I opted for chilly and continues south on a rather poorly maintained rail trail.
Five miles later I was back on 66 which was a frontage road for I-55. With good pavement and the wind at my back I was comfortably cruising at 14 miles per hour.
Bonking again, I stopped for lunch at a family restaurant in Litchfield. The service was glacially slow but my body appreciated the opportunity to recharge. I had a Wisconsin butter burger (a cheeseburger with a dollop of butter on top and a glob of mayo on the bottom).
Fortunately the waitress knew CPR and I was back on the road with a belly full of fat and grease.
It was just what my body wanted. I was riding in the 14 – 17 mph range and came to the town of Mount Olive where I visited the grave of Mother Jones, the famous labor activist.
How does he find such interesting historical stuff? When you’re going 10 mph through town the signs every two blocks are hard to miss.
I was briefly considering riding the wind for another 20 miles but after six more I arrived in Staunton and called it a day. By the way, Staunton, Virginia is pronounced Stanton. In Illinois, locals swallow the second “t” so that it sounds like Ralph Kramden called his friend Norton.
The Super 8 here is inexpensive and has breakfast. Much more importantly it’s located next door to a Dairy Queen.
Guess where I’m going as soon as I post this?
71.5 miles for the day brings the tour’s five day total to 295.