Day 19: Cape Girardeau (Missouri) to Karnak (Illinois)
Total Miles: 874
MyZone MEPs: 630
This was the Easiest Day of Riding!
Mostly flat, strong side/tail wind, great roads, and little traffic. We left the hotel at 7:40am and were at the campground by noon!
Up at 5:50am, pack up and take bikes out of our room and Lock them up outside. Go back to the little hotel bar/cafe to get oatmeal and a breakfast sandwich. Our coffee takes a long time (almost done with breakfast) when finally the cook brings it over muttering something about making us an Americano because the other coffee wasn’t brewed.
The Courtyard Marriott is only a few years old in this refurbished building from the early 1900’s. Beautifully done! Here’s part of the lobby...
And the woodwork by our room...
After that, we pedal off at 7:40 across the Mississippi River on the Bill Emerson Bridge with a wide bike lane.
Half way across, we enter Illinois!
And we have a great view of the barges along the Missouri side.
We have a few miles of FLAT road. Oh Joy! And another official welcome to the state. Thanks Illinois!
We turn north on highway 3 - but still have a great bike lane, then turn on “Grapevine Road” probably named for its serpentine route. Some steady, reasonable climbs (4-6%).
We stop at the junction with Olive road for some shade, banana, and Gatorade at a church.
Then through Tamms (a good place to live, except that it doesn’t have a grocery store.)
and then north on 127 - flat with a tailwind! We are cruising at 16-18 mph (that’s fast for a loaded bike).
In Ullin, there is a convenience store where we get a cold Powerade to share while we eat our bread and turkey outside in the shade. The store really had nothing else for us- but cool old photos of the area. Check out the flood level!
Then we turn on Shawnee College Road which was straight shot of 9 miles. Easy pedaling! This is so nice...
At the turn off for Karnak, we look for dinner for tonight and only buy 2 cans of Dinty Moore Stew at the convenience store (there is not much else) we are afraid that Karnak will not have any services (and we were right).
3 miles to Karnak (population 500) and we are here! The Main Brothers campground at the site of the old Main Brothers mill. It’s also the terminus of the Tunnel Hill State Trail - a 45 mile hike/bike trail that unfortunately does not go the right way for us.
I leave Doug in the campground to set up camp and I ride back to a sandwich/pizza store at the turnoff (3 miles) to get us sandwiches for lunch. A nice surprise that they had a gluten free bun option for me.
We are going to have a lazy afternoon of reading, journaling, playing cards, possibly a nap, and an early night so we can get an early start tomorrow morning.
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