St. Louis has been a great stop, and now it’s back to biking the TransAm route! Our hosts Brad and Doug were having a wine and cheese get-together in the afternoon, so Terry and I contributed a watermelon to their event. Then we took off about 10am, down south, to southern Missouri to resume biking the TransAm trail across the States. Thanks again to Brad and Doug for hosting us! Great guys!
I took Hwy B, then caught onto Hwy 51, crossed the Mississippi River into Chester, IL. It was somewhat dicey coming up the Mississippi River as you really have to time your ride up the hill and onto the bridge, and then actually cross the bridge, without encountering traffic. In this case it is more risky than just riding on a road, as on the road, if you need to bail from your bike, you can. But at the bridge there is no room to bail, so you are at the mercy of these truckers and cars on this two-way bridge — hoping they slow down for you. I looked behind and didn’t see any traffic as I approached the long hill up to the bridge, so I committed myself and sped up. I was on top of the bridge, going across when I looked back again and saw a truck coming. Looking ahead I saw there was traffic approaching from the other side. I decided to stop pedaling, get off my bike, and get up on an embankment, which was hugging the side rail to the bridge. I’m guessing it wasn’t legal, but safety was foremost on my mind at that point. It worked, as traffic cleared in both directions. I noticed the nice view of the Mississippi River, so before putting my back on the bridge to continue racing to the other side into Illinois — I took a few pics (Hey, why not? 🙂 ).
I entered Chester and went to a hostel-like place in this small town called the Fraternity of Eagles. They had a small cottage with about nine bunkbeds, and… there was air conditioning! I saw a few other touring bikes parked near the cottage, and met up with some other TransAm riders. Merrill, an older solo bicyclist, had already biked around the world, and had many stories to share about his adventures. Another guy, Barry, was going eastward across the TransAm, same as me. Barry was a laid back guy, probably in his late 40’s. He was so laid back that I was surprised after talking with him — that he would take on such a long ride and exert himself at such a high level. I would imagine him being more in his element listening to some mellow classic rock, and smoking a “cigarette”. There was a pub nearby and I went there to find Terry. Not only did I see Terry, but also ran into the Dutch couple, Jlsa and Peter, AGAIN! They had arrived about an hour earlier and were relaxing with drinks (Jlsa’s favorite is a margarita :). We hit it off immediately and shared our stories about biking, since the last time we saw each other.
Terry and I looked over some film from our previous three days and made some decisions about how to proceed with editing. It can be painstaking, as there is so much filming done at each brewpub/brewery, and the challenge is to drill it down to about 4-5 minutes of really key footage to upload onto YouTube. Then I began writing a few more blogs and listings, which included editing some pics for the website. As I’ve mentioned before, there is so much work for this project… alot to account for and keep up with. Peter, Jlsa and I ate dinner together — tasty hamburgers for everyone! Oh yes, a beer accompanied our meals (but of course).
I met a few locals at the pub who were wondering what I was doing, as I sat near the bar, diligently working with my laptop computer. One of them, a farmer named Al, thought it was cool and donated $20 to the project. He was really excited about what I was doing, and when one of his favorite country songs played on the jukebox, he would come over to me, give a big high-five and a “Wohoo!”. Thanks Al, you da man. I hit the sack in the air-conditioned cottage later in the evening, and glad that the air conditioning unit was loud as it provided some good white noise to cover my snoring roommates (can’t keep me up this time!).