The Quincy, Illinois bike club met us at the Warsaw Brewery. I started our journey toward Quincy on foot, retracing part of yesterday’s route to capture some missing video.

The bikers gave me a head start, but eventually passed me as they cruised south toward Quincy. Tom gave them all high-fives as they passed the transfer point and he waited for me to arrive. I was faster than usual, pushing hard so Tom could gain ground on the bikers, and Tom took off on the bike in pursuit of the pack. 

They rode through the bottoms – thousands of acres of fertile farmland protected by the levee. The weather was cool, the landscape was beautiful and traffic was light. Did I mention the headwind?

Tom came up on Dale and Scott along the way, then rode alongside Laura just prior to the bike to bike transfer. I took over and then Laura and I rode together, having a nice conversation about family and home and Laura’s journey from Keokuk to Quincy, amongst other things.

 Tom ran the final miles into Quincy. Laura told him to turn at Cedar Street, but he missed it and ran down to Broadway, turning east for a steep climb up to Washington Park.

Next stop was the Thyme Square Bakery and Café to meet Holly and Joi for lunch. Laura’s young sons Elliot and Grant joined in and Elliot showed us some of the geodes he found recently. He loves hunting them, but we suspect he loves breaking them open even more! He gave us a couple to add to our growing collection of souvenirs. Joi made us a nice origami swan (or Pteranodon, according to Elliot).

We took some time afterward to walk around downtown, grabbing a coffee at the Electric Fountain Brewing Company and enjoying a stroll across Washington Park. Then it was off to meet a couple of Quincy residents, Jerry and Trish Douglas.

They had just driven two and a half hours back to Quincy from a wedding and graciously took time on a Sunday afternoon to spend time with a couple of Mississippi River voyagers. 

Jerry is a Quincy native and Trish is from Sycamore. They met in Macomb at Western Illinois University and their journey included stops in Peoria and St. Louis. They raised four sons here (mostly) and have given so much back to the community through their work. At heart, they are both educators, and are deeply invested in the youth of Quincy.

One of their sons is now the high school basketball coach in town, even, and so the tradition continues. This story can’t be contained in a paragraph, so we won’t even try. Stay tuned for more in the future.

From this conversation, we drove up the road to the historic home of Ron and Sandy Frillman. What a delight, sitting out on their back patio, sharing a drink and stories. Ron’s journey through various start-up companies to settling down in Quincy, becoming a city alderman, eventually heading up the Veteran’s Home there in town, not to mention raising two sons in Quincy as well. They have have made it their home. Now Ron has moved into teaching, and has intersected with the prison system in his teaching, doing amazing and transformative work, again another story that needs more space to be told. Wait for it, and it will come.

The ordinary people we meet, with extraordinary purpose and drive in their lives. All along the Mississippi River. All along the The Great River Road.