I hit the road early this morning, keen to get away from last nights motel. I think the room smelled worse than my cycling shirt, which really is saying something.
It was cold and misty this morning, and at 06.30 the roads were deserted. I saw an entire herd of deer charge across the road about 10ft in front of me – there were loads of them, but I couldn’t see them coming due to the dense foliage lining the road. I stopped for breakfast at a diner after about 20 miles. It was really surreal: the diner was the only building in miles of flat feilds. After miles of nothing I couldn’t beleive it. It was a nice surprise though – having done 20 miles on an empty stomach bacon and eggs had never tasted as good!
I had decided to deviate from the official route today, thereby saving myself 20 miles, and avoiding the worst of the hills. I made great progress through some awesome farmland, Illinois is part of the ‘Midwestern Corn Belt’ and is among the leading states in agriculture. Like everything in America the farms are supersized – I often ended up cycling for a couple of miles through the same field, undivided by hedgerows or buildings! The road I was travelling along today was great, although the traffic was a bit heavier than I’m used to, the road had a really wide shoulder which was like having an entire lane to myself. I was passed by loads of coal trucks today, and every time one went passed I was hit by a huge blast of wind – which made life interesting.
I finished the 75 miles to Carbondale I had aimed to cover today by 14.30 and found a motel. They were having computer problems so I had to wait for about an hour until they could check me in. I wasn’t compalining though as I managed to negotiate a discout! I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, and sorting out my rack which has been rubbing a bit. I’m going to get a good nights sleep and make another early start – I’ve decided I like finishing early, and having a bit of time off in the afternoon.