Today started off with my little route mapping app getting us lost in the little town of Chester, IL. Once we finally found the bridge, we checked out the Popeye statue in the little IL welcome center right next to the bridge across the Mississippi.
The bridge wasnt anything fancy, but had an interesting story - the two middle spans had actually collapsed into the river in the 40's during a tornado. Luckily, there wasnt much wind as we crossed!
Just across the two lane bridge (luckily not that busy in the early morning), we found the Welcome to Missouri sign, near two gas stations and a fireworks stand. Exciting stuff guys.
Here, we saw a woman go into the convenience store at 9am, emerge with a tall can of beer and a fountain cup with ice in it, pour the beer in the cup, and get back in the car. At least she wasn't driving, and I guess it was the 4th...
The first part of our ride was flat, then we were hit with our first taste of the Missouri hills we have been hearing about. After a few more, it actually flattened out a bit, and it appeared that we were at the highest point around, we had a good view of everything else.
The rest of the day was full of roller coaster hills, including lots that we had to walk up. It was rather frustrating, but we muddled through. We were about 19 miles away from our destination for the evening, Farmington, and we came across a guy on a 4-wheeler with his Rottweiler on the back, offering us some shade and cool well water at his house, just down the road. We pedaled on, and stopped in to take this stranger up on his offer. We had a good chat, and loved on his therapy dog, Hope. He takes her once or twice a week to veterans hospitals or senior homes to cheer people up. He is also trying to get her set up as a reading dog, just like what Woofs and Books does! She ate up all the attention, and lifted our spirits during a tough day.
We were set to stay with an online friend's parents home in Farmington tonight (thanks again Mark! And Mr. And Mrs. C!), and we rolled up to their house around 6:30. After showering and starting some laundry, we helped Mrs. C cook dinner, and enjoyed a meal and conversation with them before passing out in their comfortable guest room. We also got to check out their neat house, built in the 1870's. It was such a great and comforting way to end the day!