Journal May 15-May 20--Indiana and Illinois
May 15 Georgetown, IN to Lincoln State Park, IN
Hard to leave such nice folks. We rode the back way (read HILLY) to the town of Corydon, where there was a Popcorn Festival going on. We were invited to be in the parade, which we enjoyed a lot. It was an old-time small-town scene, with pony rides and marching bands and the Popcorn Queen riding in a convertible. We found a health-food store with some outstanding owners, La Donna and her husband Dan Frantz, who are also organic food growers. Dan helped us get to the campground before dark by jamming our whole outfit into his old van.
May 16 Lincoln State Park, IN to Evansville, IN
This morning we had a few hills, but before long the land leveled out and we were on the flattest roads we have seen since the coast. A moderate headwind kept us from breaking any records, but we got to Evansville by 3:00 PM anyway. The Signature Inn is providing complimentary accommodations, and we are tending to housekeeping chores while we can. A few days ago I sent the computer home with Chrissy. It was just too heavy. I have been keeping a paper journal, and tonight at this inn I am using their computer to write this update. I am sorry for the long wait, but soon I will have a tiny replacement for the laptop I was using, and I can provide more timely updates. We have sent a lot of other stuff home, too, but you (and we) expected that.
May 17 Evansville, IN to Crossville, IL
A morning chiropractic visit with Dr. Jane Hormuth (her Mom was the receptionist!) was wonderful. She directed us to the health food store, where we met Linda Powell coming in with organic strawberries. A couple of hours later we were at Linda's, eating strawberries while the kids cooled off in her pond. Wonderful woman, extraordinary gardener and graceful hostess for our lunch visit. A few miles later we crossed the Wabash River into Illinois, and into much more rural territory immediately. As we were explaining the oil wells (the first we had seen) to Ellie and Henry, several truckers shouted warnings to us about severe storms. Black clouds and high wind came on fast, and we took shelter in a garage minutes before a huge, parry-style rain and hailstorm. Scott, a scientist with a drug research lab, and Jenny, a bank accountant, insisted we stay the night. After much pasta and garlic bread, and a viewing of Lion King, we slept as if we had biked in the heat all day, which we had.
May 18 Crossville, IL to Mt. Vernon, IL
We enjoyed an early start in a light drizzle at 7:30 AM, and by lunchtime we were 31 miles into a 60-mile day. Three newspaper interviews slowed us, but not much, and lunch in McLeansboro was made more enjoyable by the company of Jamie, Kizzy, Karen, Leona, Charles, Donna and Mary. We battled a headwind into Mt. Vernon, where the Featherstuns, fans of Christmas on Jane Street and now friends for life, welcomed us into their happy and loving family. Roger and Susan are homeschooling Blake (nearly 16), Bradley (14), Rachel (11) and Brock (6). We fit right in.
May 19 Mt. Vernon, IL
Aahh, glorious layover! Staying here again tonight means we can shop, organize, send e-mail, clean the bike, make some adjustments. With the Featherstuns feeding us and letting us use their car, it is all the easier. Down at the Bicycle Fitness Center, Bernie let me use the shop, helped me out, and gave us water bottles and shop jerseys for the whole team! The TV and newspaper guys were there, and I hope that Bernie benefits from the publicity. Highlight of the day: an evening bike ride with our hostess Susan, her father E. H. Roberts, and her daughter Rachel. An earlier group ride (with Bradley and Blake Featherstun and Fran from the bike shop stoking) was great fun, and I was able to give Brock Featherstun, a kid named Liz, and friend Nina Dycus, and her kids Kaylee and Kaycee a ride through the neighborhood. Eleven different stokers today, some kind of record!
May 20 Mt. Vernon, IL to Freeburg, IL
A very interesting New Zealander by the name of Graeme escorted us ten miles down the road, saving us some navigation and helping us avoid the traffic. A tailwind brought us to Nashville, where we lunched with wonderful couple, the Beatties, musicians and teachers, friends of our hosts from the night before. More tailwind brought us to Freeburg, where we met Linda Morris in a supermarket. Soon we were in Linda's camper in her front yard, watching videos and eating microwave popcorn. Actually, the rest of the family did that while Billy talked with husband Steve, son Ryan, and daughter Rachel late into the night. A great family.