Day 16: Pittsfield to Quincy

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Pittsfield, IL to Quincy, IL (~45 mi / 72 km)

We got up from Nathan’s house bright and early, but still we didn’t get on the road until 6:45.

A theme for us is getting up early and having something need adjusting. Then having to take everything off the bike, fix it then repack. Another major theme is smelling bad. Mostly us smelling bad.

We made pretty good time and got into Quincy without too much incident. The ride is just amazing with corn in every direction. Sometimes the air smells like sweet corn; other times like stinky farm.

It was a pretty flat ride. As you come into Quincy there are these huge industrial caves into the limestone. Fifty degree air is blasting out from within. It felt amazing.

On the first big hill in Quincy Nate broke a spoke on his new wheel. Apparently it wasn’t strong enough to hold all that weight.

A lady stopped and told us that we should go to the Quincy visitors center, which was in a castle and just up the road. So we went. The “castle” is styled in a Moorish style like in Spain. We went in to get out of the heat and met a nice older lady who told us about the castle. Apparently some rich guy about a hundred years ago wanted to impress some girl, so he built it for her. She never came and over time it became run down and recently the historical society has taken it over.

So we went to the bike shop and got a new spoke for Nathan’s bike. When we were on the road he couldn’t fix it because it was on the cassette side and he didn’t have the right tools (this will be important later).

We hung out at the bike shop for a while with Ody, who has worked at the shop for 60 years and his dog, and a younger guy Ryan who gave us a lot of help with our bikes.

We were still in search of a replacement Camelbak and thought about getting a small backpack one for Nate. There are none in town.

We had heard about this famous Quincy restaurant called Maid Rite, they have spiced ground beef sandwiches with a recipe that they carefully guard. You are not allowed to tip. We got two huge sandwiches and a couple of drinks. Service was not really there. I guess that’s why we don’t tip. We asked for glasses of water and were brought out 6 ounce cups (think half a can of soda). We then asked for a pitcher, but that’s against the rules. All in all it filled our stomachs and filled our salt quota for the next few years.

It is in the late afternoon and hot and we’ve been riding for many hours. We stop and get cash and stop in an old school outdoors shop. This cool older couple has run the place for forever. We bought a few more freeze dried meals, another canester of fuel, and still no Camelbak replacement. As we’re paying the owner asks if we have a can opener. We do, but he gives us this military issue canopener that is very small and also can serve as a flat head screwdriver. I love products that show ingenuity.

We head to our campsite and are super excited that they have a pool. But, of course, it is out of order. We settle for cold showers and reading in the shade.

We had picked up another freeze dried meal and decided on turkey tetrizini and it was good. We were worried that it was supposed to rain, so we set of the tent with the rain fly half on. There were some loud campers who really liked the f-word, but they quieted down by about 10. We were planning on getting up at 5 to ride. Pretty good day.

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