Monday, August 10, 1981

50. Carbondale, Illinois

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!
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.

Mississippi River flood plain
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.

Popeye statue
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.

Coal on the Mississippi
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.

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