Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 60- july28-Golconda, Il

2 miles off route but well worth it. Good dinner at the Sweet Water
Saloon in town and guys in there suggested we camp at the town park
ünder the pavillion! Perfect! Showers under the faucet worked well and
with some pretty good hills today, sleeping on the concrete floor was
not a problem! I do get up earlier those mornings after because the
old hips get a bit achy! I went back to the saloon for coffee in the
morning to try and get caught up here but did my usual gabbing
instead! Folks want to know what craziness possessed us to do this
trip. I just tell them it was my boss' fault..."he asked for creative
ways to save our department operating costs!"...just kidding Fitz!
Mike usually chimes in beforehand anyhow and let's them know it is a
"female dominated" trip and "THEY came up with it!" with his thumb
pointing our way! I think some men want to say "man, how did you let
that happen?" from their expressions. Kids had fun in the city park
before bed. Good day!

Day 60- 19 miles for breakfast...

...missed breakfast but great lunch and free dessert for bicyclists!
Also nice washed apples for us as long as we posed for a picture for
the table décor! Great stop, real nice folks. We keep thinking we are
meeting the nicest people ever and keep getting surprised by more
southern hospitality! We are going for 60 today so better hit the road!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 60- July 28 and 60 miles today too!

Back on track for some of us and even with some rain it was a great
day! This was the biggest animal we've seen and that's no
was a beast!

Day 59- July 27

Nice relaxing day to try and regroup and get back on track. James,
mike and I had nice swims while Rebecca enjoyed some quiet reading
time in the hammock. Then James and I shared the hammock and some Huck
Finn until the hook on the hammock broke right in half...sheared right
in half! Scared us half to death when we both landed smack on the
ground! Poor James doesn't have as much padding as yours truly! After
that James and Mike went fishing while I actually made dinner for a
change! Chicken, rice and beans and not too hot for cooking. Rebecca
and I ate then The unlucky fisherman did and early to bed!

Day 59- July 27- Carbondale

We ended our "big" day in Little Grassy Lake Campground with a swim
and hammock rides! It was a nice spot and the water was warm..even
Mike thought so. They did their usual wrestling so they should be good
and sore tomorrow!

Now that's a rig!

Day 27

Carbondale. Met Eugene at bike store and he was interested in hearing
about the trip! Thanks and nice meeting you! Good luck in school at
Southern Illinois U.

Day 59- July 27

We made it to Murphysboro last night and are experiencing a bit of the
mid-trip blues. I think all of our bodies are tired and we had such a
nice visit with family that we are a bit homesick. Things will turn
around. We sensed disappointment high with the kids and made the
decision for motel and laundry last night! TV, clean clothes, and rest
helped a bit. We left early and had a short ride to Carbondale for
bike repairs and interview with Southern Illinoisan. Bikes got
repaired and we hung out for quite sometime, but did not hear back
from our contact at the paper. Thanks for the hard work back home to
make some media contacts for us. Maybe these towns we are going
through see so many of us riding through that the interest isn't
there. We met many folks just hanging here though!

Forgot some thanks!

Thanks to Tom & Pat Martin from St. Mary for their donation to the
cause and also advice on the route! Also Michael Crotts from NC who
was vacation and gave Mike a donation for the cause. Thank you to so
many folks who have given to the much needed research for this
disease! The generosity of people back home and on our trip has been
overwelming! We can make a difference! This money goes directly to
diabetes research so you can me assured it is not going to overhead
but directly to finding out more about this disease! Just an FYI...if
anyone wants to e-mail us aside from the blog contact, you can reach
us at! Thanks again!

Day 58- July 26

Mike really wanted to bike the Mississippi river for a trip so this
might have been one of his favorite trips.

Day58- July 26

Along the levee!

Day 58- July 26

Met a group of 5 headed west! Fun bunch!

Through the fertile land of the river

Day 58- July 26

Just up from the river, the trains are off loaded of their coal coming
from Montana, then conveyed to the large pile in the center of the
facility. Then through conveyors from the bottom of the pile, the coal
is delivered to the barges overhead through bridge systems supporting
the moving trough. Loved trying to figure out what the process was!

Up on the levee

Coal delivery

Day 58- July 26

Stopped along the Mississippi.

Day 58- July 26 along the river

Today we are taking the alternate route on the Mississippi river
levee. It was still full of hills but not as bad! Rebecca just
finished the Adventures of Huck Finn so she liked being along the
river. We saw the coal delivery process along the levee which was
interesting. Still a lot of farm country also.

James and I in our new Eagles shirts!

Day 58- July 26- to Carbondale

So we had a great dry sleep last night and came around to the front of
the building and met Otis and Doug, representing the Eagles and making
sure we liked our stay! We thanked them for their hospitality and let
them know that this was definitely a great stay and how much we
appreciated it! They suggested a breakfast buffet down the road and
off route a bit but well worth it! Well, just as we arrived at the
restaurant Otis and Doug pulled up and Otis gave us these nice shirts
with their logos! Great guys! We had a delicious breakfast and then
when I went to pay, they told us the FOE's picked up our check!!!
Wow!!! We should have been buying them breakfast for what they had
already done for us! Thanks so much for everything Otis! much
appreciated and very very kind of you!!!

FOE - day 57- July 25

Kristen and her mom Tammy at the Eagles. Tammy made us delicious pizza
and tuna salad on croissants with delicious garden tomatoes! So good!
Nice chatting with Kristen too who will be a sophmore in Chester this

FOA-Chester, Il

We were fortunate to find the Fraternal Order of Eagles club where
they put up bicyclists in their beautiful pavillion in the backyard
between a tiki hut and 2 volleyball courts. Clean restrooms and a
shower! We had dinner in their club which was pretty quiet for a
Saturday night. We had a nice conversation with Rick and Darla Shawgo
who were traveling on Harley's. I hope I have the right names here and
if not, PLEASE let me know! Things got a bit confusing the last couple
days since I have been delayed in blogging lately! They also donated
to the cause which is so appreciated! Nice meeting them!

Getting pictures!

End of the 57th. Day! Chester

Quick look around and pictures then we need to find home for the night!

Day 57- July 25

Entering Chester, Il via the bridge over the Mississippi! Chester is
where Popeye the sailor man lives. Hmmm, where's the ocean??? Where's
the spinach? A milestone going over the Mississippi!

Day 57- July 25

Almost to the Mississippi! Liking this flatland!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where did this one come from?!

I like the composition though!

Headed for the Mississippi!

Day 25- July 25- to Chester. After we went through vineyards today we
dropped right down into the flood plains of the Mississippi.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spin and guess a letter...

...And the bus is yours!

Day 57- July 25

Through vineyards and rolling hills today and really steep ones too!

Day 57-july25- to Illinois today

Lot of hills and big ones that we didn't expect!

We really wanted to drive it...

...what a great sag wagon it would be!

Larry and James

Can I climb it?

James by our home for last night...

...and viewing the height of the ladder!

8 stories high it goes!

Farmington's finast!

Larry pulled the truck out without words and James just observed with
a big smile and wide eyes! Then he was invited on the truck for a
great demonstration of how the ladder truck works! These guys were


Sleeping thru the morning storms!

Sleeping on the job!

This is how we slept in the Emergency Bus! AC was great bug free and

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rachel, James and Elsa

The firefighters life just kept getting better for James!

Sis and Bro catching up...nice!

Elsa, Shawn, Larry and Johny

She wanted to wear a hat...

Elsa got to wear the whole garb!

The whole clan

Farmington Fire Station!

At 6:00, after a great day of hanging out at park with family, and as
per grandma's great idea, we headed down the road another 18 miles or
so to Farmington while the van of family traveled ahead with the kids
gear with plans to meet at the fire station. Rebecca and James had a
good pace going and kept us going! We were greeted by 4 of the nicest
fireman and the family! Didn't realized what the accomodations were
here but soon found out! We were to stay in the emergency response bus
that went to Katrina, use the showers, hang in the fire station tv
room with them if we wanted, and made to feel very at home!

Where's grandpa?

Cardinals up.

Final score- 13...13!

Designated hitter!

Where in the U.S. are the O'Donnells?

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