Departure day has finally arrived! Up early, last minute packing, big phat breakfast burritos at Monty’s Blue Plate diner (thanks Mark!) a swing by the farmers market to say goodbye to Mama Jo and then the day could really begin!!
It was chilly, but had a tailwind almost all day. Of the 112 miles we covered, probably 65 were on gravel. We took the Badger State path from Madison through Monroe to the Illinois line. Then it becomes the Jane Adams trail for a while. The paths are lovely although a bit taxing on a road bike– especially a tandem when stability is at a premium. The changing leaves were ridiculous though!!
When it ended in Freeport (fun fact – Freeport Illinois is the location of the Lincoln – Douglas debate) we thought pavement would rule the day. It did for a while! The riding was easy through corn fields and rolling hills. The chip seal roads felt just like home. But after 20 or 30 miles the chip seal gave way to gravel. Some of it was fun but much was loose and full of big rocks. Descending some of the hills on loose gravel tested the zen abilities of my stoker girl a lot!
We eventually reached Sterling, IL. We are at the Ruffit campground which is empty save for “10 idiots” (their words not mine) who stay here for weeks on end. It’s going to frost tonight and tomorrow might have a headwind. But I’m cozy in the green tent with my sweetie, with a weary body, a belly full of beans and rice, and a strong desire to see what tomorrow brings!
Oh. Chandra just reminded me we had a flat. Just after a tunnel on the Badger State trail. Old tube. Little rip. Nothing obvious to have caused it. Kept on truckin.