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50 States, Day 91, 25% Complete

Day 91, Quincy to Rock Island, Il   218 miles
 
"Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
Today marks one fourth of our trip completed. In one respect, it feels like a flash and another, seems like a lifetime. But now when people see our (PP!) Sharpie marking of the route on the side of the bike, they are impressed. Not like Colorado, where people would laugh when we told them we were on state two. The city of Quincy must have more churches per capita than any other town. Catholic, Presbyterian, Evangelical and Baptist, each church vies for souls while each building wrestles for aesthetic supremacy. Steeples pierce the air, some simple yet sharp, others wide and massive. The marvelous things people accomplish with brick, block and mortar. I hope their lives glorify God as much as their buildings.


Quincy teems with history. Awesome for us Las Vegans, as we implode our history. The elders of town named it after John Quincy Adams (with John's park, in Adams County). It was home to Stephen Douglas, who ran against Lincoln for a senate seat and beat him. The Lincoln Douglas Debates were huge moments in history.  A little more history. Did you know John Wilkes Booth was one of a conspiracy to kill the president, vice-president and secretary of state and raise up the confederacy? Seven people planned the attack. The guy to kill the vice-president chickened out and the man responsible for the secretary of state botched it. And actually, the Confederates weren't too wild about Booth. Thought he was a nut case zealot.


Amy, who led us on a tour of the John Wood mansion, gave us a fabulous tour and wove in some fascinating history. She represented the Historical Society of Adams County. www.seequincy.com. I should have paid attention in school. I
apologize to all my teachers.


Back on the scooter, and today was the perfect day to ride. Temps in the low 80s, calm and clear. Beautiful scenery including farms, forests and the Mississippi River, the shorelines laden with lily pads. We rode easy, taking the Great River Road. The lanes meander in a similar fashion to the shore of the mighty river, and small towns slow us down for a good look at them. We've seen that the more East we travel, the better and more colorful the history, as the settlers began East and headed West.


Nauvoo became a city of refuge for the Mormons, as they moved West from persecution. That didn't work out too well, as they clashed with the locals who resented their moving in to government positions and rendering civil and social mores. When the Mormons destroyed an anti Mormon newspaper, the locals had enough and killed Joseph Smith and his brother. Off they went to land in Salt Lake. Oops. I took another left turn into a history lesson.
A bit of rain today, but not even enough to don rain gear. We carried onward and landed in a (PP!) KOA at Rock Island. Funny, today the bike sits along an entry road, so it attracts much attention.
The sun has set, leaving a fuchsia hue to the clouds. The cicadas, crickets and birds raise a ruckus. Because of the dry conditions, few mosquitoes hang about. A nice day to ride and a nice night to stop. All good.
Church Surch tomorrow.

 
And now...
THE STUPID DRIVER OF THE WEEK
 
This week, a couple of bicyclists receive the award. We're on a two lane road, people. There are no shoulders. You’re riding side by side at oh, eleven miles an hour. The car approaching from behind you is zipping along at fifty, the speed limit. I'm headed the other way, same speed. So, a closing speed of a hundred and you're riding side by side. Hello? Draft your buddy.
 
RANTS, RAVES, MUTTERINGS AND MUSINGS
 
I'm getting more sympathetic to spending money and restoring historic relics. Must be the distance from Las Vegas.
Motels should train their maids to check the clock radio alarms and make sure they are turned off.
Who would have thought that the drought would cause other product cost increases? Because the river is so low, barges are running three-fourths full.
Costs more for asphalt, diesel fuel, grain...
And the drought will ease beef prices. Yep. Because there are no decent pastures, ranchers can't afford to feed them silage and grain all year, so they will dump them.    
More supply, easing pricing. But corn will escalate. I'm buying 20 boxes of Corn Flakes before the hoarders get them.
For the first time, I realized I didn't have to stick to the plan. The universe won't collapse in on itself if I don't get to Michigan by Monday. And what if the trip ran two months over?
I have some crazy friends. If you are one of them, I'm considering a run to Reno and back in one day, a thousand miles. Check out www.ironbutt.com. When we get back, I'd like a bunch of us to do that. You document it and get a license plate frame. Sounds like stupid fun. I have another idea too that's even stupider and funner. Okay, more fun. I may tell you later.
Happy birthday to Tim, my middle son. 31 today.
 
THE NUMBERS
 
15,194       Miles so far
25             Percent complete, by weeks and days
14             States so far
117           Feet high, Lincoln's tomb's granite obelisk
800,000   Cubic yards of concrete in Mel Price Lock and Dam
1              Billion dollars to construct it
15            Years to complete it
620,000   Lives lost in the Civil War
750,000   Casualties, which includes deaths, injuries and missing
 
And now, back by popular demand... for your viewing pleasure...
Quilter Girl!
 
You really do meet the nicest people on a Honda!  Kevin reminded me of that slogan from the 60's.  The wrap attracts attention so we get to talk to lots of different people from all over.  From the Italian couple that we talked to sweating in the parking lot in Amana to the nutty guy in an electric wheelchair in Quincy who informed us that we could bring as much alcohol to the park as we wanted.  Tonight, we met Karen, her daughter and son in law at the campground. They just finished a bicycle ride across Iowa that they do every year, 50 to 100 miles a day for seven days.  Wow and she was impressed with us!  The heat has been intense and all three of them pedaled across Iowa, amazing.  
 
We have found some interesting places to eat this week.  Since the heat has made it mostly a motel week, it has also been a restaurant week.  Kevin and I both like to walk to dinner rather than get back on the bike so that limits our choices sometimes.  The most memorable restaurant was in Alton.  It was the only choice we had so I wasn't expecting much, but it was delightful.  I had my usual cheese enchiladas, but they spiced it up a bit with some pork and ranchero sauce.  Kevin had seafood enchiladas which he loved also.  The best part was Roberto, a waiter who stopped to ask us how we liked the food and what brought us to the restaurant.  He was an amazing listener and we had a very nice conversation.  He assured us that we could stay as long as we liked and even offered wifi and a computer!  Is that service or what?  Tonight's meal was in a small local cafe that had great food and some wrought iron candle things I could have taken home.  We are both having a great time!  Now I just need a quilt store in Illinois.

 
The John Wood Mansion has some very pretty quilts that made me long to get Ethel out of the basement for a good sewing session.  We missed our day off last week and I am feeling it.  Tomorrow will be a sewing day for me, a day to do laundry, read a little and work on Colleen's quilt.  I can hardly wait!
 
Thanks QG!
 
Sorry about the photos this week. Looks like I may have it figured out.
 
 
 

4 comments:

ofer nurkin said...

kevin ironbutt. am in. we where talking about doing that last month.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

What if we got a hundred guys and set some Guiness record? Maybe make it a fundraiser for some cause too.

ofer nurkin said...

i love it lets do it. am sure i can find some people too.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Love it! May or June next year. Also, I'd like to do another Iron Butt with you. Check the website. Lower 48 in 10 days. I heard a guy did it in seven.