Finally back on the road. Squeak is gone from the bike, new gloves work super, even the wind is in my favor today. The first dozen or more miles were not particularly interesting and I was glad for the tailwind. It was all highway with varying amounts of shoulder and no view of the river. I was over an hour into the ride before I was routed onto a more rural highway. This will give you an idea of the kind of view I had for much of the day.
This is one of the nicest tiny roadside parks I have seen. It also had great views.
After about 30 miles, I left the highway on Sugar Bottom Road. My nickname for this road now is "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".
The Good: Quiet, nearly no traffic and view of some nice homes with giant yards
The Bad: No views of the river and some occasional steep hills.
The Ugly: After a climb of about a mile and a half, my Garmin GPS showed me an elevation profile of a moderately steep descent of over two miles. I was all geared up for some fun but when I crested the hill the pavement stopped and I had to deal with the descent on hard earth and gravel. Instead of some fun I had to pick my way through a terrible road. When the pavement finally returned, it was just in time for a short steep hill with grades of 15% to 20%. Thank goodness it was paved there because I doubt I would have been able to make that climb on gravel.
Sugar Bottom eventually took me to the town of Ste. Genevieve, the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi. The Bolduc House, built in 1785 is regarded as one of the most authentically restored Creole houses in the nation.
From here I mostly had a tailwind cycling to our destination for the night. We said goodbye to Missouri for the last time when I crossed the bridge into Chester, IL, "The home of Popeye".
Elzie Segar, Popey's creator was born and raised here. The town has an annual Popeye festival and you can walk a "Popeye Trail" and see statues of many of the Popeye characters who Segar supposedly modeled after people he knew here.
The best surprise came at the end of the day when we found that our friends Miles and Leslie had not only decided to end their day in Chester but were in the same hotel in the room across the hall. We shared dinner and a beer together before calling it a night. This may be the last we see of them because they are adding the Nachez Trace to their itinerary which will add three or four days cycling before returning to the MRT.