48.99 miles (Total: 1238.57) Avg Speed: 12.3mph Max Speed: 33mph
Leaving Carbondale we went off route and took a detour on highway 13, it looked obvious and turned out to be a good call saving us around 3 miles. It was looking like another day of 95+ heat so the sun block was lathered. Its still going to take me an eternity to get rid of this farmers tan. My hands are the funniest because of my gloves, my wrists are brown then it turns white up to my knuckles then brown again.
Terry had left early this morning to try and beat the heat. Me and Joe had an optional alternate route on the maps today to follow along the Mississippi levee, it was completely flat compared to the other route. Michael had told us last night the route might be closed because of flash flooding yesterday but we had an email from Cooper this morning who said it was great so we took it. The riding was the easiest yet with flood plains either side of us.
Just as we thought this route was perfect it took a turn for the worse. The last 11 miles to our destination, Chester (The home of Popeye) turned out to be a coal truck highway. There was no shoulder and we had huge 18 wheels flying past us and almost pulling us under. I must have had around 20 near death experiences in about half and hour. As we go to Chester things didn’t improve, they allow these trucks right into town cruising up and down main street. Its crazy. As I mentioned the town is the home of popeye who can be seen painted on just about every building. Me and Joe both agreed it was the worst place we had been to. We then met with some members of the ACA group, when of the women, Joyce had been clipped by one of the trucks and was really shook up, so much so that she had decided to quit the ride! The sheriff came to meet them as they reported the incident. Michael was contacting Adventure Cycling immediately to get the route changed.
Like always though the worst situations always seem to turn out good in the end. We made our way through town to the Fraternal Order of Eagles where we are allowed to camp for free. Its essentially the equivalent of a working mens club back home, they have a nice bar with a few pool tables and tv screens. We pitched our tents out back and went inside for food and beer whilst watching some world cup highlights. Not bad at all.