Saturday, June 13th – Dixon, KY to Vienna, IL
Today was our most interesting day so far, I think. It started out fine and we had no problems – just warming up and were 18 miles in when the first issue came about. I heard a funny sound with George’s chain and just as I heard it I thought, “I hope he doesn’t break another chain because it’s at least 115 miles till Carbondale where we can get to a bike shop, and we need to all get replacement powerlinks to fix broken chains.” Not even two seconds after this thought and snap, his chain broke. We stopped at this intersection in the middle of nowhere (somewhere between Clay, KY and Marion, KY) at Rt 139 and 120 or something, I think. We tried to see about fixing the chain with some parts George bought that came with a chain tool from Walmart. They wouldn’t work, so we were now stranded without a chain, or parts to fix his chain.
One car stopped to ask if we needed help – but wasn’t really able to help us as they were on to a family function of sorts, but said if we were still stranded in 2-3 hours they’d come back with a trailer to pick us up and our bikes/gear and drive us to Princeton, KY where there was a Walmart to see about buying a new chain. Bicycle shops are few in this area – so Walmart was our best bet. A few minutes later, after being on hold with Walmart to ask if they had a chain for George’s bike (they never came back), I hung up and then flagged down a pick-up truck and asked if they were heading towards Princeton. They said they were and I asked if we could throw our bikes in the back and get a ride as we were stranded. The couple (Stan and Brenda) were very friendly and just out for a Saturday drive. They were from Indiana and said they could give us a ride and off we went. It was about 18 miles or so to Walmart in Princeton. George and I went in to check on chains, but they didn’t have one long enough. Stan and Brenda waited to find out if we were still stranded – we were. The lady at Walmart called a local hardware store to see if they had something; she thought they did and they thought they did. Needless to say, we got there and it was the same piece Walmart sold that George had already bought and didn’t work. Our next idea was to have Stan and Brenda drop us near the interstate to try to find a truck that was going towards Carbondale (where we knew they had 4 bike shops) – but Brenda and Stan decided to drive us further, towrads Paducah, KY where I called ahead to a bike shop to see if they had the chain and powerlinks. They did, so off we went. We arrived just after 1pm at Bike World in Paducah and George got his chain fixed and we then went to grab Mexican food since it was about 2pm and we hadn’t eaten. The chain first broke at 11am, so we were on the go hitching it for 2 hours to the bike shop. Thanks to Brenda and Stan though – otherwise, I have no idea what we would have done.
After eating lunch, we went back to Bike World, because one of the guys there said he’d drive us over the bridge to Illinois (it was a bad bridge to bike on and it was either that or biking on the interstate bridge, which is illegal). So he drove us about 8 miles from the shop and into Illinois and dropped us at this intersection with a gas station (no longer in service) and a small restaurant of sorts. We did a quick pit stop, came out and started chatting with a few motorcylists and before we knew it, we had an invitation to camp out at their place just outside of Vienna, Illinois (which was right on the route from Metropolis to Carbondale). They told us they had a lake with diving board, and that pretty much sold it – plus it was about 20 miles from where we were dropped off. It was already 4pm in the afternoon and Carbondale was about 70 miles or so away, so we had plenty of time to get there. We figured, why not – it’s not every day someone invites you to camp at their place and swim in their lake!
But first, after leaving our drop-off and the motorcyclists Tracy and Kerri, they said we had to go check out the giant Superman statue – so we did, but only after celebrating our first 1,000 miles with an ice cream from Sonic (the drive-in fast-food place). It was tasty and well deserved especially after the day we’d had. After that, we went and saw the Superman statue and come to find out it was the 31st annual Superman celebration! What are the chances that we wind up in Metropolis, IL on the weekend of the annual Superman celebration? And then to finish our evening arriving at Tracy and Kerri’s for grilled out steaks/hamburgers, baked potatoes, and the boys got to swim and play in the lake! It has definitely been a great day from what seemed like a crappy one with bad luck and no bike shops nearby. It was fun and adventurous and these are the things that I know I’ll remember from this trip.
So we traveled the furthest in distance today, but had our shortest biking day!
GPS Stats: (including the route which was driven by car)
05:02 moving time
23.9 avg speed
82.3 max speed
3:21:43 moving time
12.6 avg speed
31.5 max speed
Snake count: 0 today
Dog chases: 0 today
- Repair #5 today
- Hitch-hiking with bikes 70+ miles – very nice people (Stan and Brenda) from Indiana gave us a ride
- Invitation to swim and camp at lake near Vienna, IL – met some awesome folks, Carrie and Tracy
- Got out of Kentucky and into Illinois! 3rd state now!
- Saw the Superman statue in Metropolis, IL
- Going to Carbondale, IL tomorrow – about 40-45 miles away, then relaxing a bit, seeing a movie perhaps, getting bike tune-ups and doing laundry on Monday!
Aches/pains: none really, just some very minor back aches at the end of the day – probably from too much car riding and not enough biking, right? Haha! The last four days have been pretty good though – no real back pain at all, so I’m just going to continue taking MSM and fish oil and doing my stretches and hope that continues to improve things!