Today's Miles = 51.58
Average Speed = 10.1 mph
Maximum Speed = 33.4 mph
Total Miles = 1313.6
After spending yesterday laying over in Carbondale it was a little odd to leave the Robinsonís this morning. Rachel and Mark had put me so much at ease that it felt like I was finishing a visit of old friends, instead of people I had just met just two days prior. Nonetheless, the road ahead beckoned me and I wasn't going to get any closer to finishing by staying still.
My destination for the day was the town of Chester, which is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river. Between my maps and my guidebook I was presented with three alternative routes to ride and I naturally selected the least hilly of them. This route took me right alongside the Mississippi, which despite the recent high waters cooperated with me by not having covered my route.
In my journey so far I had yet to come to a public pool that was open for operation, despite being promised a place to swim over and over by my guidebook. Every pool I came to in May was closed until Memorial Day and those I had come to since were closed for other reasons. But as I turned into the Chester City Park I saw right away that the pool was open and I knew this is where I would be staying for the night. I stopped to check in with the park ranger, then went down to the pool to soak away the heat that the ninety-degree day had baked into my body.
As I was pitching my tent I saw another cyclist pull up to the pool area. I walked down to meet him and was introduced to Bob, a rider from England. Bob has been traveling and a tremendous pace, riding the first thousand miles of the trip in only twelve days, and had just finished an over one hundred mile day to make it to Chester. I filled him in on the details of the park I had learned from the ranger, then went back to finish preparing my camp.
After Bob was done with his swim he joined me at the campsite and we talked about our journeys so far. Bob had been a paratrooper in the British Army, and more recently a search and recovery diver for the police. It seemed to me that he had quite the "Type-A" personality, and was approaching this ride as if it were a race. Every person is free to take the trip they want to take, and Bob must have been experiencing the TransAm in a completely different way than I. At the pace he had been traveling he hadn't met nearly the people I had and hadn't stayed outside of a campground or motel once.
Despite the different paces we were traveling at, Bob and I agreed tentatively to ride the first fifty miles together the following day. After spending the evening hours learning about each other, we were both surprised when one of us glanced at our watch and saw that the time was pushing 11:00. It wasn't long before I crawled into my tent and was out like a light.