I was pretty wiped last night after the 98 mile day, but it meant I had more flexibility today. Even though I grew up in Illinois, I had never been to Springfield. Checking Google maps, I set my sights on one of the historical locations associated with Lincoln. Go figure, it is the Land of Lincoln. After a stop at a drug store to replenish the large bandaids that protects my saddle sore, it was north to the Lincoln Home National site. I passed by the Illinois capitol dome, then a few blocks down was the place.
Fun fact: Like most candidates of the period, Lincoln did not attend the party convention in Chicago. He was asked to accept the nomination while at his home in Springfield, after a delegation from Chicago had made the trip down. In order to go into Lincoln’s home, you needed to get a ticket from the visitor center. The tickets were free, but you were grouped into specific time slots. My tour started at 10 AM.
When I was done with my tour, and by the time I made my way out of Springfield, it was getting past 11. Even though it was not another 98 mile day, I was still 58 miles from Monticello. I had lots of options for the route, but I wanted to pass through Mt. Pulaski, the hometown of my good friend, Neal Morehead.
The wind was at my back and the next 18 miles went by in a little over an hour. I had lunch at the Old Brickyard Pub and had a text conversation with Neal.
It was a long, 40 mile ride to Monticello. I was riding due east and the wind was out of the south southwest. There was at least a small component of tailwind. More importantly, there was no headwind.
It also helped keep me cool in the 83 degree heat and sun. Even though I had filled up with water before leaving Mt. Pulaski, one bottle was empty and the other half gone when I got to the halfway point. I still had a small spare in the panniers, but it was probably going to be warm. There was a town 2 miles north, but I didn’t want to add another 4 to the 20 in front of me. Once again, I was saved by the kindness of strangers. Just ahead of the intersection was a tractor business of some sort. I rode up to the office, left Hidalgo outside, and went in. I asked a lady working there if she could spare me some water. She led me to the water cooler and I filled both bottles and had a little/lot to drink as well. This gave me what I needed to finish the final 20 miles.
As has been the case, Google maps told me there was only one hotel in Monticello when I was looking this morning in Springfield. Once I had hit the edge of town, it was showing me two. I’d love to see the algorithm behind all this. At any rate, the original choice was $72 before taxes and the new discovery was only $62 before taxes. As you could probably guess, I went with the cheaper. Maybe it was because I was on a bike, but he gave me a clean room, with microwave, fridge, hair dryer, and HANGERS for $45, taxes included. Dinner and breakfast were a trip back 2 miles to the grocery store in town. My thighs were telling me it was time for a rest. Laundry is done, I’m stuffed and now am ready for Champaign, maybe Papa Dels pizza, and the push on to Indiana. If it doesn’t rain.
The Lone Rider