BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 24 Carbondale to Ozora

Day Twenty four Thane’s Blog: scenario 3

Friday May 24, 2013, 73 miles (117 km) – Total so far: 1,269 miles (2,042 km)

I guess we logged around 74 miles today. The incredible sunshine came out to play and had such a good time that it played all day long. That put a nearly perpetual smile on our faces.Although, now that I stop and think about it, a couple of the climbs coupled with our time spent on higway 3 fighting the 18 wheelers served to wipe that smile away for a while. If you are a fellow transam cyclist I am here to tell you straight up, stay the hell off the Mississippi alternate route listed on your map. That stretch of road is flat out dangerous to a cyclist.

The roads today only featured a couple climbs of any magnitude. Lots of rolling terrain though. I am thinking it is getting us in shape for the upcomming pain of the Ozark Mountains that loom in our near future.

About 20 miles into our ride this morning and elderly dude in a small white car toting a little brown dog which hung halfway out the passenger’s side window rolled by and in my rear view mirror I watched him do a u turn.

He does a slow driveup next to me, rolls his window down and asks me to pull over at the church parking lot just up the road. So I’m thinking to myself one of two scenarios is probably going to play out here. Scenario one………… this dude is a serial killer and in a couple hours the buzzards that I saw hovering around us earlier in the morning will get their chance to pick my bones clean.

Scenario two………….. This dude is curious about why the hell three people are cycling this road all packed out. My pint sized brain never considered that there may actually be a third scenario at play here but there was.

It seems that this dude owned a radio station about two miles up the road. Apparently the badass band of cycling dudes impressed him so much that he wanted his station manager to interview us. When he asked us if we would consider we all looked at one another and said, “Sure, as long as we can bust out some of the food we were packing and eat at the same time. Also, we would consent to the interview if we could pee there as well!

With a smile on his face he agreed to our two demands and after about an hour the band of brothers were walking out of the interview and pointing the bicycles west again. Truthfully, it was really fun and just another piece of a truly bizarre puzzle. This puzzle called the Trans am.

The town of Chester Illinois is the home of the cartoonist that created the character “Popeye”. We all hung out around there for a while snapping photographic images of thing related to Popeye. It was serious fun.
Then we all shared another of those unforgettable moments of this trip. We rode our bicycles over the bridge that separates the state of Illinois and the state of Missouri. This bridge just happens to span the mighty Mississippi river. Just plain awesome.

We rolled into a town called Ozora here in Missouri around 6 pm. Took a motel room at the only place in this little hick town. When I unlocked the door I was greeted with a colony of ants marching up and down the only wall that had a window in it. Unfortunately for that ant colony, they met their demise today. The Royal Hilton this place aint!

The back of the map looks like some serious cycling pain ahead in the 60 or so miles we are planning on traveling tomorrow so I better turn the freaking computer off for the night. Its 11:23 pm and the alarm is set for 5:00 am. Night all.

Day Twenty Four Bobby’s Blog: Hello Missouri

Friday May 24, 2013, 73 miles (117 km) – Total so far: 1,269 miles (2,042 km)

Another long day in the saddle but fun. We tend to break them up by stopping a lot and chatting and of course eating. We got quite a surprise as we were leaving Ava when an elderly gentleman named Harold flagged us down and asked us to do an interview at his radio station a mile down the road.

What a great time that was. He invited us in and gave us a tour and a cold soda. Of course whenever we stop we have to eat so we dragged our bits (that’s English for snacks) in and had quite a feast while the DJ got things set up.

The interview went quite well I thought and then he took pictures of us in front of the station which he said would be in the local newspaper. These kind of random encounters happen quite often and that’s what makes this tour so much fun. Also the addition of Ruffy he’s priceless.

We missed a turn At Murphysburo Rd. and that brought us to route 3 and Rockford and it was loaded with semis hauling coal from the barges on the Mississippi River. I do not wish this stretch on anyone. Very dangerous as the road is narrow and no shoulder. These big guys mean business and time is money to them and they don’t have time to mess with a cyclist.

Anyway we only had about six miles of that and that brought us to Chester and Popeye. Who would have thought Popeye was from Chester. I thought he was an ocean goin sailer. We had some photo opps with Popeye and then a great meal at the cafe and then rode across the mighty Mississippi.

Tucked in for the night now in Ozora.

Getin ready to shove off from Carbondale

Getin ready to shove off from Carbondale

Ruffy keeps us smiling.

Ruffy keeps us smiling.

Now these boys know how to build fence brother Ricky.

Now these boys know how to build fence brother Ricky.

I was quite surprised when he stepped out and I saw that he was Amish. They use a different kind of horsepower than the Amish back home.

I was quite surprised when he stepped out and I saw that he was Amish. They use a different kind of horsepower than the Amish back home.

The radio station where we did the interview.

The radio station where we did the interview.

Harold the owner of the station

Harold the owner of the station

Took me a little bit of sweet talk but I got him to come and say hi.

Took me a little bit of sweet talk but I got him to come and say hi.

Just love these post offices we encounter. Most have only one employee.

Just love these post offices we encounter. Most have only one employee.

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Crossing the Mighty Mississippi

Crossing the Mighty Mississippi