Lest you believe that this trip is by or about the cyclist, let me tell you a little bit about what the support team does. After five weeks of loading and unloading, dust, gravel, ditches, roadkill exposure, and incessant dropping of ice cubes on the carpet, the Prius support vehicle had developed, shall we say, a bit of an odor. Following a full day of sightseeing in St Charles, an improvised escape ride that ended at 7 PM, and dinner at Mother-in-Laws, Connie, Susie, and I were all beat. I still had blogs to write and records to keep and Connie and Susie sent me to my room to GET THEM DONE. Really they wanted to get me out of the way so they could go to work on the Prius. They emptied the entire car, reorganized all the contents, threw out what needed to go, and took the car to a car wash. Connie vacuumed probably a gallon of water from the carpet and the gals decided that mildew on the carpet was the source of the odor, so they dried and dried it. With the worst of the chaos and smell reigned in, they then went to work affixing lettering we had ordered a few weeks earlier when one of our magnetic “support vehicle” signs flew off. In short, they gave the support car a total makeover. By the way, Susie’s sister says “sag” stands for “special adventure guide.” I second that.
The car makeover was a small part of the answer the support crew came up with when I made a special request. “Please help this crossing of the Mississippi River be the polar opposite of my last bike crossing of the Mississippi River.” Last fall, I crossed the river under duress. My father was dying and I wanted to get to Florida to see him before he passed. On October 28, following a 100-mile bike ride with the Ride to Awareness team, I continued on an additional 31 miles into Baton Rouge at night with two of my co-riders, Casey and Ryan, to catch a flight to Florida. The story is too long to tell in full here, but Emergency Exit is the blog I wrote about it. A police car, a flat tire, rumble strips across the entire shoulder, the drama of whether I’d make it to my dad’s bedside in time — all were things I did not want for today’s crossing of the Mississippi. So what did Susie and Connie do? After we finished yesterday’s escape ride, we drove across the bridge so I could see what it would be like. That was a drama-smashing move, exactly what I needed. And here is a video of today’s extremely calm, drama-free river crossing along with a few photos.
The ride continued free of drama except for one sweet thing. I finally got to ride in the rain. It wasn’t a cold or driving rain, there was no lightning, I got my raincoat on in time to avoid getting too wet, and it didn’t last long.
We got todays’ ride done nearly an hour earlier than expected and had time for a nice lunch in Greenville in Illinois, my seventh state on this trip. Then it was time to say goodbye to Connie. She and I had bonded. It took Connie to find the answer to the question I get asked a lot, “Why are you doing this?”
If only every girl, or every human, got this message at the right time, I think the world would be a different place.
Start location: West Alton MO
End location: Greenville IL
Distance: 48.6 miles
Cumulative distance: 2111.1 miles
Elevation gain: 1046.6 feet
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/732379394
Special features: Mississippi River crossing and entrance into my seventh state of the ride, Illinois