Taking the advice of the locals from yesterday, we opted to go on Historic Route 66.
Route 66 is the original cross country highway. It's a cement road as opposed to today's asphalt. It used to be a 4 lane divided highway (2 lanes each way, grass in the middle). Today, only one of the 2 lanes is maintained - does that make sense? Now, it's a 2 lane highway (1 lane each way). Then, there's a patch of grass. Lastly, the other 2 lanes is deteriorating. It's very neat to be riding on such a historic road. Here's a picture of the deteriorating/un-used Route 66.
Here's my shadow on the Route 66 that we are able to ride on. As you can see, there doesn't really exist a shoulder that we were able to ride on - it's all gravel.
This morning (and yesterday), I felt my left thigh muscle hurting a bit. I would try to massage it while riding. I think what's going on I have so much muscle that it's bulging out of my body! I have no other explanation for this inconvenient pain.
While riding, we were dreaming how they should just re-pave the unused Route 66 and make that into a bike route. How amazing would that be to have a nicely paved bike route on the original Route 66? Well, our wish came true (for a bit - for 2.2 miles to be exact). Some family donated money to repave parts of Route 66. I wish more people or the government would do the same so it gets the cyclists off the main road and on a safer path - cars are happy, not to mention cyclists.
On one of our hydration breaks, we opted for ice cream sandwiches instead of Gatorade. Yum!
Here I am signing the Route 66 registry. It's official - it's been documented that I've been on Route 66.
All these pictures are along the little stretch of Route 66 that's museum-ish. Here's the map of Illinois' portion of Route 66.
This is the a portion of Route 66 through the states. Not pictured, there's a bit of Route 66 in Washington DC. Is this the Route/Highway 66 just that runs into DC that I am familiar with? All this time growing up in DC, I didn't know this (assuming this is correct).
Not sure why they had a sign about me on Route 66.
It was burning hot today. Unbelievably hot! Hoos Hot? I'm hot. We went through the city of Bloomington where we immediately seeked refuge in a Kroger grocery store. We had watermelon and yogurt as we bogarted the air conditioning and a porch swing!
Next, I went to the library (while Dave went around town trying to find a T-Mobile store for a SIM card replacement) in search of the Internet. I was completely bummed when I got there. A sign said, "no computer access from July 31-August 14". Crap - I came a day too late. They were remodeling the upstairs so all computer access was shut down. How bummed was I? The librarian told me the other university libraries that I could go to but it was so f'in hot and the libraries were in the reverse direction that I needed to be that I opted for no Internet. It was that hot that I couldn't bear to pedal a mile out of my way for Internet. While waiting for Dave, I tried to read some of my very thick book that I am carrying with me, The Other Boleyn Girl, as well as catch some Zzzz's.
When Dave arrived at the library, I shared with him the bad news about the Interent. We left and got lunch at an Italian restaurant. We two very good and big plates of pasta. The lunch tab came out to only $11 before tip. How amazing that 2 cyclists can contently eat for a huge lunch for only $11 total? Amazing. At 5pm, we finally left the restaurant and headed back out into the fire pit. Man, it was so hot today.
During this stretch of Route 66, Amtrak was to our left and Interstate 55 was to our right. It was cute - 18-wheelers were honking (friendly honking) at us from the Interstate. And, at one point, I could see the Amtrak conductor so I waved at him and he gave me a friendly honk in return. The little things that add exciting to riding in this heat. But seriously, it's nice when other drivers of much larger vehicles acknowledge your existence in a friendly way.
Here we are at another hydrating/escape the heat break. This is a reenactment of Dave and me opening the refrigerator door and absorbing as much cold air as possible while picking out our Gatorade.
As if I needed to ride any more today, Route 66 took us into a small town where we wanted to stop for the night. Unable to find the motel in the small town, Atlanta, we got back on Route 66. After a while, we realized that had we not exited into the small town, the motel would have been right there off the highway. Dammit. So, we had to pedal to the next town, which thankfully was only 7 miles away. It was no question of where we were sleeping tonight (motel vs camping) given the heat. I am not camping in 100 degree heat anymore.
For dinner, I made the best pasta medley ever. Our packaged spinach had wilted in the heat so instead of eating a wilted spinach salad, I just wilted it some more in the camping stove with salt and pepper. Then, I put that on top of pasta, some tuna (in a packet) and the cherry tomatoes we got from that woman at the convenience store from yesterday. It was so good - it's a recipe I can actually make at home in the future.