Day 6: Back in the Saddle. St. Louis, MO to Murphysboro, IL. 104 miles, 511

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We will say more about our rest day later, but it was great to hang with Chandra’s cousins Julie and Mark and their young son Hudson. So much fun! Hudson made us a map so we won’t get lost.

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Map by Hudson

 

We rolled out after a nice breakfast and Hudson filled our water bottles.

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We were taken with the contrast of the canyon like city streets leading to the Eads bridge.

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(Fun fact – Eads bridge was the first over the Mississippi and has a rich history).

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Going through East St. Louis was uneventful. There were many abandoned areas and much of the city seemed downtrodden, but before long we were on yet another beautiful paved (and new!) bike path – this one along the light rail line. Made us wonder whether we should be thanking Scott Walker for this infrastructure since it all seems made during the stimulus – likely with Wisconsin’s refused rail funds.

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In any case, it was more easy travel and ultimately gave way to hollows, hills, coal mines, and now a lovely campsite in Lake Murphysboro state park. Riding into the park was several miles of steep hills and – once again – no drinking water! There are RV Sites across the lake and the must have water but in the tent area where we are – none! We used algae flavored lake water to make dinner and we will stop trusting the incomplete information on the IL DNR website! Tomorrow is our last Illinois stop – water there? Stay tuned.

So the day after a rest day is always hard in a way. While resting you really try to actually let your body recover and starting up again is tough! Plus getting to spend time with great hospitality and connection to family makes it easy to think “this is it – we can stay for a week!” But behold – the game is back on. It’s also sweet to re enter the rhythm of the road. It was a little uncomfortable to get back on the bike, we had a headwind and the air was cool. But the vistas were gorgeous, the air clean and cool, and the miles ticked away as we shared great conversation, played stupid word games, and even wrote a song about a bathtub Jesus we saw in someone’s yard. It’s good to back in the green tent with. 104 mile day down. Tomorrow is only 85 miles or so with hills but tailwind. We adjusted our route after talking with Chris in St. Louis and shaving about 20 miles off our original plan for today and tomorrow will make it a more mellow day.

My stoker is already asleep and the dogs across the lake have finally stopped barking. Time for me to retire as well. Until tomorrow ….

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