IMPORTANT CHANGE FOR ALL THOSE PLANNING TO RIDE IN WITH ME TOMORROW, JULY 14!!! WE HAVE MOVED THE START POINT FROM SANDWICH TO OSWEGO (MILEAGE ERROR). MEET AT THE OSWEGO HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT BETWEEN 1:00 AND 1:30 AND HOPEFULLY I'LL BE THERE BY THEN TO LEAVE WITH YOU. (Of course I'll be there. Would I let you down?)
KEEP READING: (I'm tellin' you, these high school kids today!). IF YOU NEED TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR BICYCLE AND YOURSELF, CALL MRS. GRAHAM NOW AT 717-8027 FOR INSTRUCTIONS.
TELL ANY OF YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS CHANGE. THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE THIS INFORMATION APPEARS.
AND FINALLY, I FORGOT TO MENTION THIS BEFORE - YOU MUST HAVE A HELMET FOR THIS RIDE. I REFUSE TO BE ONLY GEEK OUT THERE WEARING ONE. WE'LL ALL LOOK LIKE GEEKS TOGETHER!!! YES!
A special welcome today to the readers of the Ottumwa Courier (Southern Iowa's Best Newspaper). Route 99 is being featured in today's edition of that newspaper. We hope you get a good look at what high school students in America are REALLY like as you browse the web site.
A record-smashing day today. 124 miles, my all-time high. Weather conditions were ideal, there was no wind to speak of, and Iowa pretty much flattened out by the time I reached Ottumwa and crossed the Des Moines River. I'm guessing that I hit that part of the midwest that's been glaciated. Can someone tell me for sure?
Let me put that 124 miles in perspective: it's twice the daily average I planned before the trip. 70 miles of it was done after 3:30. I could have done more but ran out of daylight.
Of course, tonight at about 3:30 I'll probably wake up in the shape of a pretzel.
I left Ottumwa at about 3:30 and just began to make miles. When you're not in sync, you look down at the odometer about every 1/10th of a mile, and it hasn't moved. When you're IN sync, you don't care about the odometer, and when you look, three or four miles have peeled off.
That's the way the rest of the afternoon went. 70 miles, then 80, then 95 in Mt. Pleasant with some daylight left. I felt good. I can GET to Burlington.
One reason was a telephone call I had with Lois last night. Besides just feeling good all over after the call, she had told me to eat right - that it had sounded like I hadn't been. And she was right. Partly, it was just difficult finding good food farther west, but mostly I'd been letting myself slip.
So I got back on track today with a lot of help from the HyVee food stores located usually right on Rte. 34 in most of the decent-sized towns. First, they have good bananas, and I hadn't been buying bananas for more than a week. Mistake.
Second, they had either an in-store restaurant or at least a really good deli. Quick, cheap, nutritious variety. Excellent.
So I ate good food today, and I believe it really made a difference.
Side note on the past week or so. In general I've been following what is now the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe tracks. I've told you how I love to hear the sound of that diesel horn wailing across the fields, from near or far.
Whenever a freight comes within sight, I'll give the engineer the 'highball' sign, learned in my days working in the CNW yards at Proviso. (Of course, no train could highball in the yards, but we learned the signal for it.)
I think every engineer likes to see that signal (Sociology students, it's symbolic interaction, right??) for a couple of reasons: even if they can't go full throttle, they'd like to, and it tells them a fellow railroader is on the other end ot the signal.
And so I always get a good long blast on the whistle from them. I like the connection.
Tomorrow? Old Man River and the Land of Lincoln! I'm pretty excited to be reaching Illinois. I'll be home soon!!
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