Day 36: Elizabethtown to Murphysboro

Yesterday morning, Crispin and I woke up at 4 AM, breaking our old record. We packed up our tents and our bikes then walked over to the convenience store that opened at 4:30. After the usually meal consisted of a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, we were ready to head out at 6 AM.

The weather felt cool and there was no rain. The morning ride felt great with the sun behind us as we rode westward. After some small rolling hills and a few bigger ones, we arrived at a convenience store in Eddyville. I had a Klondike bar to cool myself off, and so did Crispin.

With the sun behind us, we rode westward

We noticed the signage for the bike 76 route is nonexistent in Illinois. Sometimes there are signs for a “Bike Route”, but other times there are no signs at all. Good thing I have the route on the Bicycle Route Navigator app on my iPhone so I can check the route as I ride.

No route 76 signs anymore in Illinois

Around noon, we arrived in Goreville. We had Mexican food for a change at El Tequila. I ended up ordering an extra taco and more chips because I was so hungry. Since I get cell phone signal at the restaurant, I sent out messages to Warmshowers hosts in Carbondale and Murphysboro. Depending on who can host, we’ll go there for the night. We have to stop by a bike shop called Bike Surgeon in Carbondale to pick up my long awaited Ortlieb panniers that I ordered, and Crispin wanted to have his bike checked. So we rode on.

We rode through a forest and passed by a lake on our left. I used Google Maps on my Pixel 2 to navigate to Bike Surgeon since it’s off route. By the time we got there it was 4 PM and I was happy to receive my brand new Ortlieb panniers.

New panniers!

After I packed everything in my new panniers, Crispin had to get some things done on his bike. The bike mechanic was overloaded with work so he told us to come back around 6. Crispin and I walked a couple of blocks to a Yemeni restaurant called Aban Kitchen, where I had a lamb mogulgul. It was delicious and filling.

A Warmshowers host named Joe in Murphysboro messaged me back and said we could stay over for the night. We were delighted. At 5:45 PM, the bike mechanic called, Crispin's bike is ready. When everything checked out fine we rode on highway route 13 all the way to Murphysboro.

Today was a long day of riding. I was glad my bike computer decided to work. When we arrived at Joe’s house we had ridden 85.87 miles. A new record for me. My old one was in the mid 60's. I can’t believe I rode over 85 miles in one day!

Over 85 miles in one day!

Joe and his wife, Sarah, are wonderful people. They showed us the basement, where we will be staying, and offered shower and laundry service. After taking much needed showers, Crispin and I chatted with Joe and Sarah in the kitchen for a long time. Joe told us about the alternate levee route to Chester and warned us about the coal trucks there. Our conversation was very lively, but I was getting tired. Around 10 PM, I crashed on the basement floor, getting up occasionally to finish the laundry.

Joe and Sarah

This morning I woke up at 3 AM, but then went back to bed at 3:30. I heard Crispin get up around 5, so I woke up as well. Today’s ride looks like a short one. We plan on riding a little over 30 miles to Chester. We could ride over 70 miles to Farmington, Missouri, but it will rain the whole day. In Farmington, Crispin will go north to Iowa and I will be riding west, staying on the TransAmerica Trail to Pueblo, Colorado.