Today I rode from Troy to Effingham on a truck-scarce route. While Route 40 is a direct route to Effingham, it seemed more like a frontage road, as it paralleled the Highway 70. Today’s ride was flat, uneventful, long, humid, hot, car-sparse, shoulder-small, sign-starved, small-town-sprinkled, and road-kill-crammed (new record was set today!).
[Historical Note: Route 40 is also an historic road called “The National Road,” which served as a gateway to the West for thousands of settlers. It was one of the first major improved highways in the US to be built by the federal government. Construction began in Maryland in 1811 with intentions to continue through St. Louis, but funding ran out in 1838, so they stopped at Vandalia IL – a town I rode through today.]
I once cringed at the 4-hour drive from Chicago to Effingham, and now that seems like nothing compared to the 6 weeks I just rode to get here!
I am ahead of my original schedule. However, cognizant of the unpredictability of the rain, I decided to pocket some miles and push through the 78 miles to Effingham to see my brother. This also rewards us with two days off from the road (not sure how that will feel…). We will resume riding again on Friday morning.
As I’ve discovered over the past 6 weeks, each state is remarkably different than the last. And each landscape seems to dramatically change the moment I cross the border into a new state. True to form, the intense roller-coaster hills of Missouri abruptly ended about a mile before the border and were immediately replaced with an expanding horizon and flat corn fields – quintessential Illinois.
Meet my brother, Carson, a millwright for Total Grain Marketing. (Job Note: a millwright is a craftsman engaged with the construction and maintenance of machinery.) Essentially, Carson is responsible for ensuring that the 30 grain elevators work. What he loves about his job is that every day he is called in to solve problems that others could not solve. And he loves being great at his job. In addition, he loves that his boss allots him so much responsibility to be successful. (Here’s a picture of my brother with his son/my nephew, Parker.)
Day 45 miles: 78.87 miles
Total mileage: 2,902.48miles
Day 45 ascent: 1,342 ft of slower parts
Total interviews: 75
Road kill count: 1,004 (added 89 today; I thought that riding on a lighter-traffic road would make it a lighter road kill day, but jeez, I could have used an abacus to help count the onslaught of dead things I saw on the road today – a new record!)
Destination for Day 46: Wal-mart and Starbucks (a day off in Effingham!)