DAY 62 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8


CHESTER TO WARE/ANNA

Thunderstorm advisory and 90% chance of rain until noon. Two fronts moving through with frequent lightning strikes, but it looks like it’s tracking north . . . let’s go!

It’s tracking south.

We watched the weather as we gathered in the kitchen with our generous hosts, Bob and Pat Koenegstein for coffee and a parting conversation.

Bob was on his way to the Popeye Pedal bike ride and we were heading downriver. Heavy thunderstorms were in the forecast and we were all checking our weather apps as we talked.

Victoria mounted her bike to begin our 50-mile journey, only to dismount about a half mile later as the storm hit. Wind and rain. Thunder and lightning.

We circled back to the Ol’ Farmhouse on State Street. Eggs and toast. Bacon and pancakes.

We finally found a break in the weather and set off downriver. We rode the whole day – eating up as many miles of Illinois Highway 3 as we could on a Sunday. This road was not friendly to runners and bikers today and will be even worse tomorrow. There is a high traffic volume, lots of trucks, no shoulder—we’re in the lane, not to mention a strong headwind . . .

We intended to land in Grand Tower this day, but that community was still struggling with the 2019 Mississippi River flood.

The Devil’s Background campground – our lodging for the night – was out of service and our community partners were occupied with the daunting work of flood recovery.

Instead we pushed on to Ware, Illinois, which positioned us for a shorter run to Cape Girardeau the next day. Along the way we saw our first armadillo and reflected on the mentions we’ve heard about cotton and rice farming in the “boot heel” of Missouri.

Things are changing . . .

Our lodging tonight was in nearby Anna, Illinois. Immediately upon arrival, we rewarded ourselves with a frozen margarita at El Jalapeno’s. This would be a day for catching up on work and reflecting on our journey.

We met our hosts for the evening, Lyle and Tammy Woodrum, owners of the Davie School Inn. It’s a great bed and breakfast in a wonderfully restored 1910 school house. A few miles off the The Great River Road tonight, but we’ll be right back on it tomorrow.