Day 64: (53 miles) Sharon had made oatmeal for breakfast. Originally Jon was supposed to have to be at work by 8, but his schedule was pushed back so we all got to enjoy each others’ company a while longer. Well rested and fueled, we headed out. Jon was helpful in giving us directions that would reconnect us with the Trans America route. Illinois made up for what it didn’t show us yesterday in hills. It was a trying morning, but Sharon had shared that there was a chocolate factory on the route and that motivated us. We arrived around 11 and got some ice cream. The chocolate shop had everything you could think of and all types of chocolate molds, tools, shoes, animals, food, even chocolate deviled eggs. We wished it wasn’t 90+ degrees so we could have bought some to enjoy a little later. We continued to bike through the hills and the swampy Cyprus tress until we reached Golconda where we stopped at the local Dairy-Barr for lunch. Long after lunch we met another cyclist on the road, Brad. He was headed west and was impressively streamlined in his home made set up. We informed him about the bridge closure in Chester and that he may need to reroute. He thanked us for the heads up and on we went. The humidity has been exhausting and disgusting. We’re constantly drenched in sweat. We stopped again in Elizabethtown to refill water and steal AC which gave us the oomph we needed to make it to Cave-In-Rock. Although the map said there was a convenient store- none was to be found. This was pretty heart breaking for Chris who had been envisioning a frothy beer for hours. We made it to the state park, paid $10 to camp, and were directed to the sites. As soon as we got up there we looked at the weather report to find forecasted thunderstorms all day tomorrow. Knowing, we had to take a ferry across the Ohio river, and that there wasn’t even a gas station here- we certainly did not want to get stuck. So we reluctantly decided to pedal on. However, they would not refund us the $10 and the host said the ferry runs through lightening and the river wasn’t high enough to shut it down. Having lived here the majority of her life, we took her word and decided to stay after all. We set up our tent under a pavilion, showered and fell asleep after a long hot day.
Day 65: (63 miles) We decided to get back on the early morning train to try and avoid the peak heat and humidity so the alarm went off at 5:30am. We packed up and crossed our fingers that we would have no trouble getting across the river on the ferry- and we didn’t the free ferry transported us from Illinois to Kentucky. Once on the other side of the Ohio, Kentucky’s hills reminded us how exhausted our legs were from the last seven days of pedaling. Both of us were looking forward to making it to our comfy bed in Henderson where we could give our aching bodies a good rest. Although, we got on the road early to beat the heat, the humidity still left us sticky. Towards the end of our hilly section we pulled into a gas station in Morgansfield to grab a couple cold brew coffees to have with our standard lunch. While we were eating, dark clouds were moving in and before we had our bikes packed back up, the rain had started. We threw on our rain coats and expected the last 25 miles of our ride to be wet. To our surprise, we didn’t get more than 5 miles down the road and the rain had stopped. To make matters even better, so too had the hills. Our last 20 miles flew by and we rode into Henderson tired from the long week, but dry and looking forward to a hearty meal of Applebee’s 2 for $20 menu and a warm shower.
Day 66: (0 miles) Rest days always go too fast. We spent the morning catching up on journaling, photos, and trying to get our blog updated, but the internet connection kept going in and out so it was a struggle. We restocked supplies, did laundry, and treated ourselves to Cracker Barrel & Sonic. Rest day was complete.
Day 67: (87 miles) Knowing it would be mostly flat and preferring not to have to get a motel again, we hit the road with a heavy goal to make it over 70 miles. With mostly sunny skies and highs in the 70’s the day was shaping up to be ideal. Other than having to cross a couple of busy streets in Henderson most of the morning was spent on quiet side roads passing farmland and country suburbs. Around mid-day we hit the outskirts of Owensboro, a city of over 57,000 people. Had it not been for a substantial network of bike paths, it surely would have been hectic to navigate. Conveniently around 1:00 pm the path took us by a Kroger’s where we stopped to use the rest room and picked up some protein bars for lunch. Back on the trail, we pedaled another five miles or so before finding a bench in the shade near a pond where some high school boys were fishing. It seemed the perfect spot to give our bodies a little more fuel. Now more substantially nourished, we headed out of Owensboro and back to the country. Enjoying the quiet roads and small community streets we eventually encountered a road that was closed for a bridge being rebuilt. We tactically maneuvered our way across and continued enjoying the beautiful homes, expansive farmlands, and the Ohio River. Upon reaching Hawesville we stopped at the gas station to buy some beers to celebrate our high mileage day, but learned we had pedaled into a “dry county” so we headed towards Vastwood Park Campground empty handed. The campground is inside a county park which was also the location of Galaxy Pizza where we celebrated instead with a hamboli and a big tossed salad before calling it a night.