Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Did you pack the Pump? Oquawka, Illinois

Day 14 - Rock Island to Delabar State Park, Illinois  66.8 miles

Rob's bike mechanic skills were put to the test today, as we had to deal with 2 flat tires and 2 rubbing fenders!  On the bright side our first flat was right outside Burke Cleaners in Milan so we seized the opportunity to get a load of laundry done during our mechanical time out.

Tire Repairs outside Burke Cleaners
Today was probably our most mentally challenging day.  The extreme weather warnings continue, so we were forced to face really strong head winds for the entire day....and were watching the skies closely for signs of storms.  The local farmers have really been looking out for us, and have reassured us that all we need to do should a storm move in quickly is knock on a door.....people here are eager and happy to help.

Oranges for energy - Mississippi River Trail
Our route took us away from the river with the day spent cycling through the Illinois farmland.  Planting is late this year, so the fields are just starting to green up.  We were again treated to fabulous views of rolling farmland, and passed the occasional horse farm.

Once again we ran out of water in the middle of a rural area.  Today we were rescued by Shay and his dad.  They directed us to the old watering hole that people have been stopping at for the last 150 years.....we pictured ourselves pulling up in our horse and buggy - sure would be faster than us!  In what we found to be typical small town mid western hospitality they offered us a place to stay for the night if we were too tired to continue fighting the winds.

As we cycled through Keithville, a patron exiting the bar, yelled over, "heh, great to see you got you flat fixed!"


Giggle of the day:

We had about 5 miles to go to our campsite when we saw a storm brewing on the horizon.  It looked quite fierce - big dark thunder clouds and then we noticed the lightening.  We were on open prairie...with massive pump driven metal irrigation systems on both sides of us.  They are huge....a quarter mile in length!  I must confess that I was really frightened....although it was a combination of fear mixed with exhilaration.  It is amazing how those feelings can give your legs that little extra something when you need it most.  We literally sprinted the last 5 miles.  

We arrived at the campsite just as the skies opened up.  It was a whopper of a storm - heavy wind, thunder, lightening and torrential rain.   The camp host told us just to set up our tent in the picnic shelter.....and we are happy we did!

Picnic Shelter - Delabar State Park - Mississippi River Trail

Now here's the giggle.....he also said that should the weather get worse....the OUTHOUSE is the camp's storm shelter!

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