Tonight I am in Bishops Hill Illinois. A town of 547 people with not a heck of a lot to do. I’ll take tonight’s post and note some of the day to day items that have cropped up. What does a typical day look like?
Route: Most of my routes to this point have been a combination Google Maps (their bicycle option) and the Adventure Cycling Association maps. The ACA maps are good in that they list camp sites and places where you can crash the city park for free. The last two nights for example (Ashkum IL and Wenona IL) have been city parks hosted by the small town that allows cyclists to stay for free. This is a treat and makes me question so much about my own home town and our spirit of hospitality. Once I have an idea where I am headed the rest becomes easier.
What Does A Day Look Like?
5:00 – I get up early every day and break camp. Breakfast number one is usually oatmeal (2-3 packets instant).
7:00 – On the road between seven and seven thirty but really want to be moving by seven. Especially with the heat. If there is a McDonalds or a gas station with unsweet tea I have my first couple bottles of the morning be unsweet tea. I am addicted and am seriously contemplating making this a go to!
10:00 – Breakfast number two stop. If there is a small town I plan on a more extensive breakfast stop. This also involves a lot more food. I am getting used to the rhythm of eating whole food for my rides and not living on Gu Brew or some such drink mix.
1:00 – Lunch break. This involves any amount of food usually eaten at a small park or somewhere I can scam some shade. Today I had a young girl come and disturb my lunch asking if I could push her on the merry go round. Say what, a town that still has one of those and hasn’t bubble wrapped their children. What’s with that? Todays lunch was an eclectic mix for example; 1L orange juice, cashews (salted I NEED salt), homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from the market last night in Wenona, apple, dill pickles and some unsweet tea.
5:00ish – Day done and pulling into my campsite or place for the night. I have set-up down pretty well but still feel a tad disorganized even though I am not carrying very much. I cook dinner (rice or lentils) or go to a local restaurant.
Things I didn’t anticipate enough:
Butt is sore – OK, this is self-obvious but riding eight hours a day 13/14 days and the butt gets a tad tender. I know, I know I should have known. I use all the stuff I should but who knew the USA doesn’t have Penaten cream. How can a civilized nation keep it’s children diaper rash free without Penaten? I am seeking a replacement but it is manageable for now. I do accept random gifts of Penaten sent to hotel rooms I will come to!
Sun Screen – Most of you know I am a dedicated person who hates using sun screen. Again, who knew that being out in the 90 degree sun for 8-10 hours a day you burn. I thought I was immune. Oh, how the proud fall!
Small Towns – I have recommitted to my love with small towns. Interestingly they each have their own distinct personality. I will write more about Wenona IL this coming weekend. What a gift. I had a short chat over lunch today with a lady about the decline of the rural life and distinction. I have watched it near our home at Crediton where my church was.
Prairie & Midwest Thunderstorms – I have never felt anything like the power of these, or seen lightning that literally fills the sky for minutes on end. Last night a storm came and I was camped in the town park pavilion. My tent was 15′ inside the pavilion and when the storm hit the rain was moving horizontally to the ground with such force that my tent was being hit with water from the gusts. I met one of the cyclists from the other group and the same storm drove a couple of them into the bathroom for the night at the town they were at.