We awoke to weather straight out of a Disney movie, little bird squawking on our window sill to cerulean skies dotted with puffs of white. It was also five AM so I shut the window on the little bigger, closed the blinds, and went back sleep for a few hours.
Steve made us giant, thick pancakes with fresh fruit, syrup (yes Log Cabin and yes I do still love it's divinely manufactured sweetness), and a side of farm fresh eggs. Our bikes stayed at the shop last night so we hopped in the truck to go pick'em up (this ain't no walk for science after all).
Steve loaded us up with some free hats, socks and shorts, so freshly attired, we set off for.. somewhere between the Mississippi and the Indiana state border.
Of course, a blue-sky day would be replete without a vigorous headwind and bike trails literally flooded by a river. (Illinois please ship some of this H2O to your brethren out west, thank you). After the Cedar River Trail, we had been looking forward to the Grand Illinois Trail as respite from the traffic and pavement, but the record rains pretty much assured we'd be slogging through mud and gravel. So we hung out on hwy 6, the forever uphill of westerly winds leaving me high and dry. After two nights of minimal sleep and with our detour making the route longer than planned, I had to call it - no way was I going to make it 85 some miles to Peru. We decided to end our day 10 miles early at the Myer Woods Nature Preserve, which was a good call I think given it was already dusk when we got there.
Wait got where? The nature preserve was just that - all nature, no trails or even cut brush to allow us to pull out bikes in and set up camp. Luckily, a guy named Brian was cleaning his pool out, his the only home within 2 miles of us at that point. He offered to let us camp in his yard, and introduced us to his wife and two kids. We're really lucky, and really, really thankful. (Turns out there is another Myers Park down the road where camping is allowed, so when I'd googled places we could stay, info about that one came up. Woops.)
We made curry and actually saw some stars (!! for the second or third time on this trip? We're getting aced by the weather, always cloudy with rain on the horizon. Rain was on the horizon but we were forgiven for an hour or so). My sleeping pad is kaputt but this family had the best grass I've ever slept on, and I turned in before Rachel, and dozed.