Day 50: Monday, August 10, 1981
Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to Carbondale, Illinois: 70 miles
Today made up for yesterday. It was a short, pleasant day. Jack got a late start, since he had to wait for the post office to open to pick up our mail; and I got a later start, since I took a homemade shower, cruised around the town, and found a female biker.
|Name these flowers!|
Ste. Genevieve was settled as early as 1732 by the French as a lead and salt depot. The nineteenth century saw a large German influx. Many old buildings remain, giving the town a European air. French and German surnames still predominate in the area, and many of the people even look French.
|The Mississippi River flood plain|
As I was leaving Ste. Genevieve, I met the only other biker we saw there - unusual, since the town is on the Bikecentennial route. She was headed east, but had left three months ago! She just wanted to take her time and see the country.
|Chester is the home of E. C. Segar|
The Bikecentennial route goes north a few miles to cross the Mississippi River via a ferry. However, the ferry no longer runs. So we went south to cross the toll bridge to Chester, Illinois. Most of the ride was in the river valley, and was very flat. A tailwind made the ride even more pleasant. And traffic was very light, except for the trucks hauling coal along Routes 3 and 149 in Illinois. We stopped just south of Chester to watch the transfer of coal from railroad cars to barges.
|A lot of coal travels on the Mississippi River|
The climb over the hills east of the river was a little bit of work, but not too bad. In Murphysboro, we stopped at a Dairy Queen, then cruised into Carbondale on Route 13.
Carbondale is a university town. Another bike tourist directed us to the TKE house on the SIU campus. They just happen to put up bicyclists free of charge - kind of like a hostel - and today just happened to be the last day they would be open for the summer. After dropping our baggage, Jack and I rode across town for a meal at Morrison's Cafeteria, then back to do laundry and enjoy the real showers. I managed to diddle away the evening playing around at the pool table - it was after midnight by the time I got to bed. A Bikecentennial group was here - we compared notes and shot the breeze.