Day One: Lebanon, Illinois to Olney, Illinois - Forgotten Tour - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2016

Day One: Lebanon, Illinois to Olney, Illinois

Writing this six years later, I don't recall much about my motivation for doing this little tour. The weather forecast for the next several days must have been promising, with unseasonably warm temperatures. The forecast must have been accurate, because the sun was out in all the photos I took during the trip, and in the one picture of myself, I'm wearing a short-sleeve jersey and touring shorts.

I imagine I was feeling Spring Fever and just wanted to get out on the bike for some long days of riding.

Scenery for most of the first day was very familiar, since I was riding on the empty Southern Illinois chip seal farm roads that I rode on all the time back then.

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I remember stopping in Carlyle (population 3,000-something) and having breakfast at McDonalds, then continuing on back roads that were a little less familiar.

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I stopped in Salem (population 7,027), and messed around taking several photos, only one of which was even mildly interesting enough to include here:

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After that, I continued on even emptier chip seal roads, avoiding the obvious route on busy US-50. When we lived in Illinois, Joy and I sometimes hosted touring cyclists via the Warm Showers website. Almost inevitably, westbound riders (usually from other countries) would attempt to ride across much of the country on US-50. I had a back roads route figured out in case they wanted something better across Illinois, but as I recall, most of them just rode on US-50, despite my warnings.

This part of the state is/was pretty depopulated, with lots of abandoned and decaying old houses.

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A friendly dog.
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I had to add some extra miles when I discovered that one of the roads on my route no longer existed. This was a common occurrence on my rides in rural Illinois.

I remember riding through the grass all the way to the end to find that the expected bridge must have been gone for years.

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As I neared my destination of Olney, US-50 had a wide enough shoulder that I felt comfortable riding on it.

I'm pretty sure that this was when I experienced a terrible bonk, and had to immediately lie down in the mud alongside the road for a while. However, that sort of thing has unfortunately happened to me so often, including during a couple of attempts at riding across the entire state of Illinois in one day, that I might be thinking of another time when I had to lie down as I rode toward Olney.

In any case, I did reach my destination, the Olney Super 8.

Olney is known as the "Home of the White Squirrel", and I recall spending a somewhat restless night sleeping under an enormous photo of one of the squirrels.

Kinda creepy.
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Mark BinghamHard to decide where to put the pillow: under the butt or under the teeth.

I'd sleep with my head at the foot of the bed. Definitely creepy.
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8 months ago
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Today's ride: 114 miles (183 km)
Total: 114 miles (183 km)

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Suzanne GibsonGlad you're posting this - great pictures!
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8 months ago