Mileage – 74 miles
A luxury of an extra hour in bed this morning but forgot to change the alarm setting so it still went off at 05:15 but managed to doze until 06:15 which was nice.
On the road at the usual 07:15 start time and Chris joined the party for the first time today as he had been starting with the 07:30 group but fancied a change to the slightly earlier time. Cycled with him for the first 22 miles at a nice comfortable and easy pace enjoying the greenery around us and the rolling terrain. No significant hills to worry about just a nice general relaxed Sunday morning ride. Saw a couple of horse and carts on the road this morning, probably all heading for church in one of the many Baptist churches we came across on our route.
As we took a left and briefly joined US 6E we hit a strong headwind and a short way up the road a significant hill which had me searching for the granny gear. It was short and sharp and over quite quickly but got the heart pumping for a couple of minutes. Turning right at the top of the incline we headed for the only SAG of the day at mile 32.0. This may have been the only SAG but it was significant as it marked the 2,000 mile point of our journey. We took photographs and savoured the atmosphere once again, finding it difficult to believe that just 4 weeks ago we were leaving Los Angeles.
As we left the SAG I teamed up with my cycling buddy Lois and we spent the rest of the day cycling through gently rolling countryside and just generally enjoying the freedom of relatively quiet roads.
The major events of the day continued shortly before mile 69.9 when the bridge that would take us across the mighty Mississippi River came into view. We had been warned earlier that construction work was taking place although the road was passable with care. What we did not realise was that this referred to the old road bridge which was closed to vehicles but passable for cyclist. Lois and I therefore took our life in our hands and cycled over the new road bridge which only had a very narrow shoulder, not realising that we could have taken the more attractive old road bridge.
Upon reaching the other side and the outskirts of Quincy we started looking for the Illinois state line in order to sprinkle our Pacific sand as we reached our 7th state crossing. After asking a local we got told that the sign was at the end of the old bridge so made a quick detour to find several other riders already on the old bridge having cycled all the way across. We duly sprinkled, took photographs and then headed for the Holiday Inn at the other side of Quincy.
The road to the hotel took us through a very affluent neighbourhood with lots of very old period houses, tree lined roads and lots of greenery – it was a very pleasant area in which to live.
So the end of a very good day, easy cycling, nice countryside, 2,000 mile milestone, crossing the Mississippi and a new US state – Illinois. To finally finish a perfect day we had a nice meal at the hotel followed by a beer with Lois, Mary and Jan – happy days.