• Mariela Perez-Cabarcas

Day 27: I am in Misery

June 27, 2022. 44 miles. 823 ft elevation gain.

Murphysboro, IL -> Perryville, MO

Hello readers, fear not, I am not actually in misery. The title is a reference to the hit Maroon 5 song "Misery" that Simone insisted we play as we crossed into the state of Missouri today.

This day started bright and early with a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage, and cinnamon rolls with our hosts, Terry and Linda. Before leaving, while we waited for the others to pack their snack bags and apply copious amounts of sunscreen, Franklin, Simone, and I did some cyclist's yoga to get loose and limber for the day's ride.

Before ending our brief stay in Illinois, we decided to take a lunch break in Chester, IL, the home of Popeye the Sailor Man at Segar Memorial Park. We took that time to:

  • Pose like Popeye with the greens that are fueling us across the country

  • Channel our inner Lewis and Clark

  • Climb trees

After our lunch break, we were ready to cross into our 4th state of the trip—Missouri! We queued up Maroon 5's Misery as we rode up to the bridge that would take us over the Mississippi River and into the Show-Me State, excitedly waiting for the light to turn green.

It finally did, and less than a mile later we found the quintessential "Welcome to [insert state here]" (or some variation of that) where we decided to stop for a quick photo shoot. Maxwell took some great individual shots of some of us, but getting a picture with all five of us (the other person being the driver who is not usually around when we are biking/stopping to take pictures) is a particular challenge that we've had to find creative solutions for. Usually, we find some sort of sturdy object, like a guard rail in today's case, to set the camera on, set a 10-second timer, and hope for the best. It usually turns out pretty well. Today when doing this, we unknowingly captured all 6 of us in the same photo. That's right, I said 6. At the exact moment that the camera timer went off, Robert happened to be driving by. He even managed to pose for the photo (you can make out a slightly blurry peace sign in one of the pictures below).

(You can see Robert driving into the gas station in the rightmost picture in our Blue Ford with the bike rack on the back)

(Here is one with Robert Leaving the gas station)

Here's one that we're all looking at the camera. Unfortunately, Robert is not in this one as far as we know.

Eventually, we made it to our hosts', Fraser and Elizabeth, house in Perryville where we showered and plopped down on whatever soft surfaces we could find and took a nap and watched some TV together. We also took some of the extra time we had (since 44 mi. is a relatively short ride for us) to do some much-needed bike maintenance (our chains were pretty grimy since the last time we had cleaned them was somewhere in Virginia).

Another thing we were able to do with our extra time was decorate our car! We used our neon chalk markers to give passersby an idea of what Spokes is all about.

As we wrapped up our artistry, Sophia came out of the house with some surprising news. The next day we were set to ride around 70 miles to St. Louis—or so we thought. It turned out that our host actually lived in a suburb of the city, adding around 27 miles to that journey. This would be our longest trip yet, just 3 miles short of a century ride. We rallied for the challenge and did not dwell on the 3K of elevation that would accompany the 97-mile ride.

At this point, it was time for dinner, where Fraser showed us the magic of an instant pot that could make vodka penne pasta with meatballs in around 20 minutes or so with very little prep time. After two rounds of that, it was time for S'mores. As Elizabeth and Fraser started the fire and brought out the S'mores supplies, we oohed and aahed as we realized that Hershey's milk chocolate isn't the only kind of chocolate you can use for S'mores. We experimented with Ghiradelli chocolate, Reese's cups, Dove dark chocolate, and even cookies and cream chocolate stuffed marshmallows for our S'mores creations.

After S'mores, Elizabeth showed us her collection of gem art and even let us pick some of our own to take with us and work on in our free time. As someone who loves sunsets, I picked ones that had beautiful sunset landscapes.

Once the actual sunset came, it was time for bed, so we readied our sleeping apparatuses and prepared for the almost century ride that awaited us the next morning.

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