finally reached the missisippi river, and it feels pretty good (i am very happy that i have less than 600 miles to go! yeah). the lay of the land is changing a bit, less hilly and more long rollers...a bit more suitable for riding a bike and pulling a trailer. the last three days have been my hardest/consecutive rides...mileage of 70, 82, then a 97 mile day have left me a bit tired, my legs empty. not big days, but all three were hilly with some headwinds thrown in and a couple of thunderstorms...and began to wonder if i was going to be able to make on time to cleveland. a conversation with my friend alison helped me along and encouraged me to push through (plus a rather large portion of lasagna and some gel shots, no formal doping though).
feeling much better today as i cross the big river...kind of a mental breakthrough. so i am in illinios and looking for the flatest route i can find...stories, do i have some stories (darcy, thank you for the hotel directions...you forgot to mention that they would try to fleece me because of the Iowa state fair, i knew better though and held out) but the stories need photos to help tell them and i am unable to download at this time. it is hot and very humid, i finish the day soaking wet from my own sweat, enough sweat to ring my clothes out...amazing how cathartic it can be.
i have reached the point where i talk/sing to myself on the bike...sometimes i have very frank conversations with the guys who designed the road i am riding, other times i am chanting to myself to get my butt up a hill. and then a song will blow through my mind (i think that is a function of the wind, stirring up my mind and blowing things around like fields beside me) and i will burst out with a line. cars, if they are around will look at me....mostly i just startle the cows.
random thoughts...just saw an article in a local newspaper (the muscatine times or herald or something) that stated local townes are able to halt train whistles....people are getting tired of hearing the train whistle when it goes through town. maybe it is being that i am further east and it is more populated here, but i loved the train whistling out west in wyoming and nebraska where my route was parallel with the tracks...lonesome and drawn out like the landscape, yet the sound felt like it was winding with the landscape and riding the wind...i could almost see it as well as hear the whistle blow. strong as it pushed through the air, it has encouraged me more the once on my journey.
a short day is on tap...maybe 50 miles or so, will see how the legs feel which is pretty empty at the moment. what was the contemplation someone posed to me, either bravery or stupidity...maybe a little of both mixed in. funny, at this time i feel more comfortable on the bike than on solid land...