Sleeping in the Eagle’s shack (yeah… it’s a shack, or a tool shed with bunks) was a nice relief from a stuffy tent. We were both wide awake at 3:00am and contemplated leaving to beat the heat but that didn’t happen.
The beginning of today’s ride was not very pleasant as we took the 3 out of Chester. We knew it was flat but we didn’t know it was the coal truck route! There was hardly any shoulder and I felt like I was going to be squished like a bug at any moment. After 11 miles we hit Cora, where we could either have turned off on the Mississippi Levee route (partially underwater) or kept going on the 3 to Sand Creek. We decided to stay on the 3 since it was much more direct. Traffic mellowed and the road straightened out as well.
After Carbondale we rode on mostly residential streets. Out of nowhere a lady on her porch asked us if we needed water, or if we wanted to cool off in her pool. Yes!! She was so sweet. Her daughter and friend showed up later and we all hung out in the pool for a while.
Our original plan was to go to Ferne Clyffe State Park, 1 mile south of Goreville. We stopped in at Delaney’s, a restaurant on the way because we were told they give cyclists free dessert. After milkshakes it started pouring. Lightning stretched out against the sky and roaring thunder. The owner called the church across the street and got us a spot in their basement. Pastor Tim let us in and he’s father of the owner of Helen’s Cycles and I Martin in Los Angeles. Small world.