Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hop On Hop Off Tour of South Eastern Illinois

Day 20 - Chester, Illinois to Ferne Clyffe State Park, Goreville, Illinois 76.8 miles

Today we said goodbye to the Mississippi River as we left Chester to start our journey east on the Trans America Trail.  As much as we have been enjoying the Prairies we were really excited to see that today's route would take us into rolling countryside and forest.  It was wonderful to be back in the trees. The country roads were lined by oak and maples...quite a stunning ride.

Of course, there is always a price and today we paid.  The ride was hilly for almost the whole day.  I have to say that I admire Rob's incredible patience.  To my way of thinking the hills have become a metaphor for the obstacles that sometimes come your way.  At work, when faced with a challenge Rob always attacks it with tenacity and bulldog determination.  The same holds true for the hills.  He puts his head down, gets to work and just powers up.  (still mashing of course!)  I, on the other hand, take a quick look at the looming hill, gear down immediately and start begging for mercy.  Rob is always waiting patiently at the top for me.  He instinctively knows when to say good job...and when to avoid eye contact and pretend to review the maps.  I suppose we have been married long enough that you might call this a learned skill.  However, today the hills even humbled Rob.....by mid afternoon we had both lost our legs and had to hop off the bikes about half way up the hills and walk.  We hopped on and hopped off for the afternoon and into the early evening.
We took a quick side trip through the Southern Illinois Campus in Carbondale and as usual were amazed by the size and grandeur of US colleges.   We were treated to fabulous lake views of Grassy Lake....a busy boating, camping and fishing hole.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
We  arrived in Goreville exactly 22 minutes after the grocery store closed, so were forced to visit the gas station to pick up our dinner.....and it tasted great!  The campsite host met us on our arrival and gave us spot up on the ridge close to the showers.  Maybe out of the kindness of his heart, maybe because we smelled THAT BAD!

Giggle of the day:

We rounded the bend during one of our free fall descents to see traffic gridlocked!  Well, there were 2 cars stopped on the road, and they were the first vehicles we had seen in hours so it seemed like gridlock.  We pulled up slowly unsure of the reason for the traffic snarl up and were startled to see a HUGE snapping turtle sitting in the middle of the road.  The drivers were trying to coax him to move, but the turtle stood his ground!  The men warned Rob to stay back as the turtle could move very quickly, covering off five feet in no time and snap your arm off.  WHO KNEW?

Turtle stops traffic in Illinois

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