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Day 19: Dry at last!

Day 19: Dry at Last!

Friday, June 23

Harrisburg, IL ->Mt Vernon, IL

64.69 miles, 1364 ft elevation gain

Total mileage: 1,019 (passes 1000 today!!!)

Today was intended to be an easy day for the team—a relatively flat, relatively short ride after our big

90 mile push across state borders on Thursday. It ended up being an incredibly tough day. The bikers (of which I was not one since it was my drive day) encountered headwinds, heat in the upper 80’s, highways,

and—look away moms and dads—a couple falls. All bikers did arrive safely at our wonderful hosts, the

Mount Vernon Church of Christ, but some had a few more bumps and bruises than when they left. I

leave those tales for them to tell.

Today was also the day that our French friend left us. He’s mostly following bike route 76 with some

detours, so he split off for Shawnee national forest while we carry on toward St Louis. It was great riding

with you Loïc! He leaves us a better cycling team than he found. When joining us on our big Thursday

ride, he helped us practice formation riding, taught us some hand signals, and put us all to shame by

changing his own flat an order of magnitude faster than we did. Don’t worry, we took notes!


people is one of the highlights of this trip so far, and meeting other people crazy enough to power two

wheels across the country is even better.

I’m next going to talk about the thrilling task of drying camp gear. To set the mood, I want to help all our

readers understand what it means when we say we got rained on. Let’s just say it was wet at Mammoth

Cave National Park, like WET WET. Below is an audio recording of the thunderstorm arriving that I took

while bundled up in my tent. You might want head phones since the audio isn't great but it conveys the idea.

Listen to the wind pick up and the birds cut off. Imagine the temperature

plummeting as the storm front arrives and the wind, rain, and thunder crescendo into a fully developed


Get the picture? Ok great, let’s talk about what comes next.

As the camp-supplies-supplier, I’m frequently fretting over the condition of our sleeping bags, pads, and

tents, and my eternal enemy is moisture. Wetness means dank, smelly, less-effective sleeping gear and

that’s no good. Sadly, after our huge thunderstorm in Mammoth Cave national park on the 20th, we

haven’t been able to get everything completely dry. A mixture of humidity, not enough time to set things

out, and the constant battle of needing space but mostly having wet, dewy grass has meant that there

has still been some moisture lingering in the creases of all our gear. No more I say! If there’s one thing

80-degree weather and a big parking lot is good for, it’s drying things out! Since I arrived plenty early in

the car, I was able to get everything spread out and dry after several hours. The fresh air even decreased

the muskiness that had led some team members to request the sleeping bags be laundered. My war

with water will go on, and I’m sure we’ll be rained on again eventually. For now though, the day is won!

While camp supplies was drying, Kat, Audrey, and I took some time to explore Mount Vernon. We saw

the last still-functioning courthouse where Abraham Lincoln tried a case, the beautiful Cedarhurst art

museum and sculpture garden, and picked up some tasty turnovers for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Overall, it

was a lovely day (especially for me in the air-conditioned van) and we’re sad to see Illinois go by so



PS. If you're still hungry for more spokes content, check out these photos from our time in Mammoth cave national park!


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