1984 Bike Tour: Day 22 – Just like cowboys after a cattle drive

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Sunday, June 3, 1984
Cave-in-Rock – Carbondale, Ill.
92 miles

Locater map

I’m reprinting the day-to-day journal entries of a cross-country bike tour my friend and I took in 1984 More about the TransAmerica Tour 1984

Gene’s Journal

After three weeks on the TransAmerica Route, we decided that we needed a break here in the hometown for Southern Illinois University.

A bike rider out for an afternoon spin hooked up with us outside of town and guided us along a shortcut to his favorite bike shop. We found a room at the Uptown Motel, took our first showers in about three days, and began to celebrate like cowboys coming off a dusty cattle drive.

We stopped at a tavern called Booby’s (it might have been Bobby’s, but I wrote double o’s in my journal… it’s a college town; probably was Booby’s) for a pitcher of beer, ate some greaseburgers at Wendy’s, watched the just-released, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” and then stopped at a bar for another pitcher. We had landed in dry counties every night since Wytheville, Va., so we had some catching up to do.

That morning, we quickly broke camp as we swatted at mosquitoes, grabbed a quick bite in Cave-in-Rock, and sped out of town. We covered about 35 miles before we stopped in Eddyville — the easier terrain required fewer snack stops — and talked to the guy about his display of prehistoric Native American artifacts and habitations in Illinois. We climbed one hill, then sailed into Goreville, where we ate lunch and heard that a movie was being shot. (I never did figure out the name of the movie, here’s a list from the Illinois film office. The Goreville, USA documentary was shot later, in the ’90s.)

We had done a lot of riding through the Shawnee National Forest during the day, and in the afternoon it warmed up and I stopped for a dip at Devil’s Kitchen Lake. Bruce rode ahead slowly, and when I caught up he was riding with our new friend from Carbondale.

Headline: June 3, 1984
La Cage aux Folles wins Tony Awards for best musical, best actor (George Hearn), best score,
book, costume design,  director and score…

Bruce’s Journal

Arrived in Carbondale, at around 4:30, making over 90 miles in incredible time. We picked up a cyclist on the road, who turned out to be a reporter for the local paper. He showed us around town and found us an open bike shop, which was invaluable.

The bike surgeon repairman, Steve, was able to get my front brake in working order so that I won’t have to replace it. And he sold me a new water bottle for $1. The repair was free.

We got a room outside of town at the Uptown Motel, and the next thing we looked for was beer. Which we eventually found next to the theater, where we saw “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” We were like the backwater boys hitting the big city. We got drunk and saw a movie, then got drunk some more.

In all ways, this is the most comfortable we’ve been in quite a while: a big soft bed, air conditioning, tremendous shower and all the other amenities of city life. This morning we both had hangovers and didn’t get out of bed until 7:30. I took another shower and two aspirin and I’m feeling better now.

Doing laundry right now. Then we will hit the post office (to mail home some film), another bike shop [that opens] at 10 a.m. (for a pedal), a store to get film, batteries and a resupply of Kahlua for our after-dinner coffees.

What a great feeling to ride into town, hot and sweaty from three days of accumulated grit, mosquito bites and other road-related irritations, and know that you can get back to a more enjoyable state. It’s true what they say about the small pleasures. Psychologically, this R&R was a real lift to both Bis and me. It had been three weeks since we had bellied up to the bar for a pitcher of beer and some loose talk. I know it did me a world of good.

The movie was also a great escape. Action-packed, with all the right moves, it made for a fun evening. Still, I liked “Raiders” better. Our next flick to catch will be “Star Trek III.” I’m not sure how many hundreds of miles we will have to go to see that one.

We probably won’t get out of here until 11 or so, and still have 65 miles to St. Genevieve. But we should make it with little problem. The terrain has been good.

It looks like another hot one–in the 80s with humidity. Better than rain, though.


Day 23 — “Rest and repair”

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