Day 20 - May 23 - Casey, IL to Okaw Valley Campground (Brownstone, IL) - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

May 23, 2023

Day 20 - May 23 - Casey, IL to Okaw Valley Campground (Brownstone, IL)

Pretty Darned Flat (The Tire Too)

John’s Story

We rolled out extra early this morning, considering that we changed time zones yesterday, but not too early because the coffee shop in town didn’t open until 7 AM. We did a little touring of some more of the world’s largest this and that’s before we left town. You might want to recheck yesterday’s journal entry because we revised it with some new photos this morning.

Last night’s soundtrack.
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Last night’s symphony was interstate 70 traffic, which was only a few hundred yards from us. It didn’t bother me a bit. In fact I think it may have lulled me to sleep.

As I was walking to the restroom this morning a woman accosted me to ask where we were riding from and to. She rode across the country self supported 38 years ago when she finished veterinary school. And she did it again about 13 years ago with a friend of hers. We ran into her a little later in the morning in town as we were writing out notes on postcards to mail from the worlds largest mailbox, and she had her friend with her.

Donna and Liz
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Riding in and out of the KOA where we stayed last night was a joy, if you think riding a bicycle on loose gravel is fun. For any of you non-bicyclists out there (I know there’s a few at least), the quality of the road surface is very important to how fast you can ride comfortably. On US 40 this morning with a slight tailwind we were easily doing 15 mph and even faster at times. Nice smooth road, at least sometimes. Later in the afternoon we got onto some rural section line roads that seem to have been chip sealed directly  over old washboard dirt roads. with the same tailwind we were lucky to ride 10 mph.

Not too interesting is it? Loose gravel may not be your cup of tea, but heck, I’m a geologist.
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I took one flower picture today. Just some common red clover, but it was pretty and it was all along the roads early in the morning
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It was a beautiful morning and our shadows pointed the way out and forward.
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As we rode through to Teutopolis, Illinois, I noticed that every other light standard on the road into town held a picture of one of their 2023 high school graduates. I thought that was pretty cool and supportive of their students. It also seems that the Teutopolis, Illinois high school mascot is the Wooden Shoe. I kid you not. Dutch heritage around here?

Go Klompens!
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Did you know I like to take pictures of old buildings?
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Fitting that a military museum should look like a fort.
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One of the early travelers along the Lincoln Highway that just didn’t make it to where they wanted to go.
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Now a few pictures for Johnny. I need some feedback from Aiden and Haley about what sort of pictures they'd like to see.

Johnny pic 1
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Johnny pic 2
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Johnny pic 3
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I had my second flat tire today. I hit a bump and knew immediately that something was different about the response of the bike. It did not bounce back. It was like falling on a balloon and breaking it. Once again I tried to fix the flat in the field, unsuccessfully, so I tossed that tube into the trash and installed a new one. From now on when I have a flat tire I will just throw the tube into a bag and address it at camp.

We rolled into the Okaw Valley Campground in the late afternoon. Ed went in to register. As I waited outside a fellow walked by on his way to the dumpster with a bag of trash. I’ve gotten into the habit on this trip that when I walk into a coffee shop, convenience store, Café or whatever my icebreaker line is, “We hail from Earth. Where have we landed?” I used it on the guy headed to the dumpster. He turned to me and replied, “Tel Aviv, Israel”. I thought he was being snarky with me as I was being snarky with him. I did not notice the Hebrew Coca-Cola t-shirt he was wearing or the Hebrew writing on his ball cap. His response threw me a little bit, and as I stood there somewhat flustered he pulled out his wallet and produced his Israeli drivers license and identity card. Another Edward.

We stood there in conversation for a little while, and I found out that he had lived in Wisconsin for quite a while, and that 25 years ago he and his wife did a 750 mile self-supported bike tour around northern Lake Michigan. He pointed out his Airstream camper across the way and noted that he was with a group of other Airstream campers who are on a tour along the Lincoln Highway.

Edward and his wife Abbe.
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Jane ChimahuskyMaybe by end of trip Edward One’s beard will match Edward Two’s beard!
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6 months ago
Ed ChimahuskyI’ll try!
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6 months ago
Edward and Abbe’s Airstream and their friends. Edward said they formed a bit of a religious cult. Worshippers of Aluminum.
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Let’s end with some road music.

I’ve Been Everywhere

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Sweet Surrender

King of the Road

Ed’s Story

Today’s ride was 67 miles with little or no climbing. I was up by 5:30 because of the time change to central time yesterday. I only woke up once in the middle of the night.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a peanut butter tortilla; no coffee because we knew we were going to a coffee shop right away. I bought some ground coffee to go.

We took a few additional photos when we entered town, but they were put into yesterday’s journal. We found and bought some postcards and were able to mail them in the world's largest mailbox as it is an official box.

We found ourselves on the Lincoln Trail as we rode away. The Lincoln Heritage Trail is a designation for a series of highways in the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky that links communities with pre-presidential period historical ties to U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln Trail with a vintage truck
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Still in Cumberland County, IL, we saw their genealogical society. Their goal is to help you track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical and historical data and placing it online. Since we are not from here we saw no sense in stopping.

Geneological Society
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For a while I wondered whether we were in Madison County because of the bridges but remembered that movie took place in Indiana.

My better side
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Annette SchneiderHello, just one of those non-bike riders here, enjoying your commentary. I live in Nebraska, and have always thought that Bridges of Madison County was filmed in Iowa.
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6 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Annette SchneiderMadison County Iowa is correct
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6 months ago
Ed ChimahuskyTo Susan CarpenterWe actually crossed into Madison county IL today but I guess I didn’t get a picture of their bridges.
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6 months ago
John wants to beat me through the bridge.
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We stopped for lunch at an IGA in Effingham and to buy what we might need for dinner since we were cooking in camp. I thought we were really doing well by that point. We hadn’t gone a mile after we left, when BAM; John gets another flat. Same story as Sunday…pull tube, patch tube, put tube back in and pump up…oops patch didn’t hold, pull tube and put new one in…finally on our way. 

I failed to get a picture of John in his new natural habitat.

John is all about the route. If the route says go right, we go right.  He was upset that at one of our turns this morning, I turned at a road less than 100 ft from where the route had us turn, even that 50 ft later we were on the route again. 

When we left Effingham, the most direct (and shortest) path to Brownstown, where we are staying was 25 miles on US 40….but that was not the route. Instead the road went from paved, to quasi-gravel, to stone covered dirt back to rough paved. This little excursion added 4 - 5 miles to our ride. All hail the ROUTE.

After this rough and tumble ride we reached Altamont, which brought us back to US 40. We rode a little off route (gasp) to a Phillips 66 to replenish the OJ in our system then cut back to US 40 on an I-70 feeder road. John’s GPS must be wacked up because it showed the route going backwards once we reached US 40.

[John’s Response: I am very particular about following the route as it was laid out. I spent a year and a half putting it together. Sometimes the difference of 50 or 100 feet can mean going the wrong way on a one way street, for instance. Yesterday we ended up on the shoulder of I-70 because we weren’t paying close enough attention to the route. Of course we are constantly going off the route looking for services like grocery stores. We have made adjustments where roads are closed. There are times when we can make adjustments when it makes sense, but that’s not the same as making a wrong turn. It may not be perfect but it has to be our starting point. So yeah, the ROUTE rules!]

Luckily it wasn’t spraying season for the skunks
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We were traveling normally on US 40. Cars would pass us with a wide berth when there was room which there usually was. If not, they would hang back and pass when they could.

As I was watching in my mirror, I saw a gray SUV veer off the road, crossing the opposite lane and drive into a field on the opposite side he was driving. He bumped and bounced quite a bit. He drove in the field for a while, came out onto the berm, traveled about 100 feet on the wrong side of the road and stopped in someone’s driveway. he must’ve really damaged his car.

All I can think is that he wasn’t paying attention, woke up, saw the car in front of him and swerved into the field to avoid hitting the car in front. We kept on riding as there was nothing we could do and we never saw him again.

We reached Okaw Valley Campground and were given our choice of two spots. This is a very nice camp, but again you can hear the cars in I-70 in the distance. 

Our campsite
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Campground pond
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Tomorrow’s ride is to Wood River, Illinois, a replica site of a Louis & Clark campsite before they headed west. The ride is 67 miles.

Until then, happy biking!

Today's ride: 67 miles (108 km)
Total: 3,037 miles (4,888 km)

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Sandy EarleHmmm. Maybe I’ll take route 40 after Effingham. Would be nice if it had a decent shoulder….
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5 months ago