Monday, June 29th, 2009
Illinois City, IL (0 mi / 0 km)
We’ve got some better pictures on our camera of Bret and Paulette’s farmhouse, which we’ll add to this post later. We had a very relaxing day at the house. It was another very windy day, but instead of having to bike into and across the wind, we just got to enjoy sitting on the porch, in the hammock, enjoying coffee, catching up on laundry, and blog posts.
Bret and Paulette were very generous with their food and we made some nice bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch. We both took naps. As often happens, my nap was shorter than Amy’s, and I took the opportunity to go walk around the property a little bit. I visited the barn cats and Bret’s calves, and enjoyed the views of rolling fields and forests on their quiet property at the end of a private gravel road.
When Bret got home from work, he relaxed with us on the deck, and I read a chapter from our current read, A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz. A little while later, Paulette got home from work, and Bret determined that the wind had died down enough for us to have a bonfire and roast hot dogs for dinner. He rolled out an old tractor tire hub with the names of friends and family engraved in it, that they use for their fire ring, and got the fire started. Paulette made an amazing potato salad, and when the fire was ready we all carried out the food and a picnic table and enjoyed a delicious dinner outside on one of the most beautiful nights ever! The lightning bugs and then the stars came out, and the fire kept us warm as the temperature outside fell.
At some point we had gone over our maps with our hosts, and were warned against following the Mississippi up to the Northeastern quadrant of Iowa, where the receding glaciers had neglected to shave down the very hilly terrain around Dubuque. We determined a better route would be up through central Iowa, and a great first day would be taking a bike trail ~70 miles from Cedar Rapids to Cedar Falls. We would get up early tomorrow and Bret would drive us to Cedar Rapids before work – about an hour and a half drive! We’re never against getting a ride somewhere and went to bed looking forward to a good head start on our way through the rest of Iowa.