Days 52-54: Illinois

A head pops out of a passing vehicle and screams, “Tax fucking all scum, doob!” in my general direction.

A cannabis policy recommendation? Am I being insulted? My cold-addled neurons finish rearranging the phonemes and I get “That’s fucking awesome, dude!” The head is commenting on the bike. I flash a smile and a wave. Road rage incident successfully averted.

I leave the ACA Northern Tier route in Muscatine, Iowa and use the Great Rivers South route to connect to the Bicycle Route 66 west of St. Louis. This takes me to the east bank of the Mississippi through Illinois for a couple of days.

After nearly 3000 miles (5000 km), I finally meet a couple of fully-loaded, self-supported, long-distance cyclists of the camping variety. Molly and Scott (@mollyann.scott) are heading to the gulf coast from Iowa City. They just started their tour a few days ago and are gradually building up their daily distance. At least I’m not the only one camping out here in this freezing weather.

The evening campfire becomes more than just a wasteful reversal of carbon sequestration but a genuine morale booster, keeping away the chill.

3 Replies to “Days 52-54: Illinois”

  1. Your bit about fire reminds me for some reason of a description of fire in Anne of Green Gables: ~ ” they sat in contemplation as the fire distilled from the oak a hundred summer suns”. That imagery has always stuck with me.

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  2. Embrace the campfire I reckon, the bit of soot and some smoky eucolone are way way valuable for your sanity let alone some cooking time and the more the merrier. It’s a right of passage for many a long term bike tourer that has stood the test of time. imho of course. If you want to do it UL look i to the Caldera cone getup. The Ti inferno setup has been amazing for me and can open up to a small fire after the cook up is done. No connection just a happy camper.

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