Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thinking of Hannabal, MI

Day 16 - Keokuk, Iowa to Great River Road Campground, Pleasant Hill, Illinois, 92.7 miles

Today we had planned to visit Hannibal, Mi and visit the boyhood town of author Mark Twain and imagine how Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn spent their days on the river.  As we cycled along, we learned from locals that Hannibal had been hit by a tornado.  People still encouraged us to go and visit the historic downtown, but the closer we got to Hannibal we could see signs of the damage left behind by the tornado.  We thought of going in to town to offer help, but we decided that we had very little food or water with us, and in fact we would likely be just another couple of people in need of services and really would not be able to provide much help or support.  We were both very sad and our thoughts are with the Hannibal families who have been impacted.

Tornado damage outside of Hannibal, Missouri
Our morning trip along the MRT once again led us along beautiful back country farm roads.  We particularly enjoyed the stretch between Keokuk and Quincy.  The road was lined on one side by trees and on the other by a vast expense of farmland.  Some riders have said the Illinois stretch can get a bit boring...but, maybe we still have a little Prairie blood in us, because we loved the area.  It reminded us of big sky country in Alberta, Canada.

Illinois - big sky on the Mississippi River Trail
Rob's tire rotation and mechanical repairs did the trick as we limped our way into Madison-Davis bicycles in Quincy.  Do you know the feeling you have when your gas light comes on in the car and you still have miles to go to reach the nearest gas station?  That is how we felt as we neared Quincy.  It turns out we were in the nick of time and the amazing team at Madison-Davis treated us like royalty.  We enjoyed coffee and snacks and shared cycling stories as our bikes were given a thorough check up.  We were in need of 2 rear tires, break pads and Rob had to replace his chain and rear sprockets.  We also took the opportunity to buy 3 new inner tubes......just in case!

Awesome bike techs at Madison-Davis!
Be sure to visit Madison-Davis....they are the best!  Thanks to Greg, Ryan, Chris and the gals at the coffee bar for all their help.

We ended our day at the Great River Road Campground in Pleasant Hill.  In fact, the campground is the fairgrounds and we find ourselves huddled under another picnic shelter as the threat of heavy rain looms once again.

Giggle of the day:

Someone asked US for directions!....and.....

Bike through ATM on the Mississippi River Trail
Ryan, the awesome bike mechanic, told Rob he needs a new chain because he is  a MASHER, and his cycling technique, or mashing,  puts extra stress on the chain.  Of course, I have been teasing Rob that I don't need a new chain because of my advanced cycling technique.  Rob still contends that he is not a masher and the extra stress on his chain is because of the extra weight he is carrying......the debate goes on!

View Bicycling directions to Keokuk, IA, USA in a larger map