Dixon Springs State Park, Illinois to Carbondale, Illinois

Started out a little early today by myself since I would like to see how Mike's bike works out for me.  Since we are in a new State I put up a sticker.

The bike is handling really well so I am hopeful this will work out for me.  I was on my own for almost twenty miles and then Norm and Christine caught up with me.  Norm asked how I was doing and I reported all was well.

Going up a hill two dogs set upon me and I tried to kick the bike in gear but threw my chain.  So I was left marooned but they were friendly and the worst I got was a nose in my crotch.

No real services until Goreville. At the top of One hill I came to a stop to rest my behind.  I was in a driveway and standing there when I heard a "Can I help you?"  A man emerged from his garage and offered to refill my water bottles.  We chatted for awhile, myself thankful for another act of kindness on the slow travel plan. He said bikers come by often and one time he found a man lying on his back on his lawn. "I asked him if he was ok and he said yes. I asked him if he needed anything and he said no.  Later he called an ambulance which came and got him."

Goreville

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Got into Goreville and looked for a place for lunch.  Norm had texted earlier about an H&H Kitchen so I stopped by a man taking a picture of two girls decorating the Post Office for an upcoming State Championship game.  I asked him where H&H was and he pointed out the gas station down the the street.  "You're in luck," Mike Scott told me, "Today's meatloaf. We have people drive from all over come for the meatloaf."

H&H Fuel & Kitchen is a hidden little gem of a cafe in the back of a gas station. I came in and saw Norm and Christine.  Mr. Scott was there and we talked about the ride and his road trip through Colorado.

I had not even ordered and they came out with the meatloaf plate and sat me down. Mr. Scott came over and we chatted for about more and then he wished me happy travels and told me he picked up my lunch.

Yet another example of small town generosity and pride extended to cyclists, that makes this trip so unique.

The meatloaf was great comfort food.  John came in and joined me and we biked the rest of the route together.   I noticed that Gina's location was off on my phone, so I have great hopes that she may be in Carbondale.

Carbondale

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Good ride with John to Carbondale except for one jarring experience.   The roads have been very light with traffic and green and lovely but the pavement conditions have sucked.  "The bucolic conditions of the road," John remarked wryly, "has been moderated by the road quality."

On one descent down a hill the road was so bad and bumpy that my phone dropped.  I came to a stop and walked back up the road but phone wasn't there. I walked back and forth on the side of the road multiple times peering through the shrubs and grasses without seeing it.

I had about given up when my watch tapped me for an incoming text which meant I was within Bluetooth distance.  I asked my watch to have my phone play music and found it down a ravine in thick underbrush five feet from the road.

John and I got into Carbondale and Gina called me as we were negotiating the busy roads and I found her in the parking lot. She flew into St Louis and rented a car to Carbondale.  Wonderful surprise.

Dinner tonight, John and I made steak fajitas and Gina made margaritas and strawberry shortcake.  Mike announced formally he was leaving the trip tomorrow.  Sad to lose another member.  A nice night introducing Gina to the group.