i didn’t expect the ride from pere marquette to st. charles to be as long as it was. i also had stopped for groceries along the way, adding an additional 10 miles to my ride for the day.
from pere marquette state park, i rode along route 100 through the southern edge of illinois. it was great. grafton, elsah and alton are all nice little towns and it felt like i was on the eastern coast of lake michigan. there’s a nice wide bike lane that runs the entire length between grafton and alton, about twenty miles or so. it was a beautiful morning to take the ride along the river.
crossing the bridge after alton wasn’t an easy task. first, i was riding the suggested route along broadway, where the sidewalk and shoulder both disappear. for about a quarter mile, it was me in thin traffic, thankfully the town wasn’t big, or traffic would have been worse. finally getting onto the alton bridge, there was a bike lane. the bike lane was wide enough, and even had a three or four foot buffer between the lane and traffic. the biggest problem is trash. it seems that everyone driving across the bridge littered at some point and it all went into the bike lane and drains inside the bike lane. there was everything. shoes, clothes, fast food trash, just about everything. it made for a difficult ride. i thought about it when crossing the bridge and determined that since it was the border of illinois and missouri that neither state wanted to deal with cleaning it and so it’s just this purgatory of trash that nobody wants. seriously. these two states should work together and alternate weeks of bridge cleaning. it would make this bridge perfect.
after the bridge, riding southwest for a bit attempting to find the katy trail wasn’t as easy as i had hoped. the wind was directly from the west and i had to ride into it for a bit. winding roads for about eight miles led me to a dirt road that eventually paired up with the katy trail. the katy trail is a nice crushed limestone path that extends quite a bit around the st. louis area. i had to ride it for about twelve miles. for a small portion, less than a mile, the trail had water damage and was incredibly muddy. the mud made for a challenge. i had mud all over the tires, some on my shoes, and who knows where else.
my warmshower, kelly & eric live about a half mile from the katy trail. i left the trail a few blocks early so that i could see some of the beautiful and historic parts of st. charles. i was so distracted while riding my bike through the neighborhood i passed the street they lived on.
arriving at their home, i met kelly and we talked for a moment while i rinsed my bike and shoes with the hose. i showered and settled in and we discussed bikes, politics, weather, and just about everything else while preparing dinner. eric came home and started smoking some fresh bacon, an appetizer to the wonderful dinner. they both made me feel incredibly welcome, and i’d put them as the friendliest warmshower to date. sorry to the others, but hey, it happens. my favorite warmshowers are as follows:
fresh food: neil @ rapid city.
most helpful: kate @ spokane.
most relieving: john @ helena.
the view: frank @ devils tower.
friendliest: kelly & burt @ st. charles.
if you have a chance to stay with any one of those people, you’re a lucky person. everyone of them has a great quality that shows compassion for cyclists that really brings everyone together.
my ride today was about 52 miles. finished close to 12:30pm and relaxed for the afternoon. day 30 done. yes, i’ve been riding for 30 days now.