We’re getting a lift back to Peru, IL this morning from our rest-day hosts, Nate’s super-awesome Uncle Rigo and Aunt Linda.

We had a wonderful time with them in Bloomington-Normal–enjoying good conversation, a night out at a local tap room, a day off the bikes (although Nate took a short ride to replace his saddle), eating a ton of food, and getting good nights’ sleep. We can’t thank Rigo and Linda enough.

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We’ll resume the tour about where we left off Thursday. Today’s route is expected to be almost entirely on another paved* or hard-packed bike path, all the way to our campsite just east of Davenport, Iowa.

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Update (4:00 p.m.): We arrived in Geneseo, IL. Look for a full update a bit later.

Update  (7:00 p.m.): Today was an excellent day of cycling on the Hennepin Canal Trail across Illinois. The trail surface was mixed: Old pavement, crushed stone, hard-packed dirt, sand, and limestone–or a combination of any of these. Most of the way it was spotted with weeds, or layered with cut grass and hay. Still, it was rideable for the entire distance, so we didn’t cycle any roads today!

 

We passed over or under more than 25 bridges and alongside some 23 locks–as well as two draw bridges built in 1906!

We also stopped at a state park headquarters, and found it closed, but still refilled our water bottles from the building’s spigot.

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Western Illinois farmlands along the Hennepin Canal.

Michael got his first flat (cause: undetermined), and experienced his first clip-out fail, dumping his bike on its side (cause: user error). Nate jumped in quickly to help install a fresh tube.

Some underpasses (with abundant clearance) were signed, “Walk bike through underpass,” which we found ridiculous, and thus ignored.

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All in all, today’s ride was just right for getting back on the bikes after a rest day.

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This turtle was laying eggs, obviously startled by us passing by but seemingly unimpressed by our journey.

We got to our campground mid-afternoon and immediately setup our campsite, then showered and changed.

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The charming village of Geneseo, IL (pop. 6500), is about 2 miles from camp so we rode our bikes to the center of town and had dinner at Geneseo Brewing Company. The food and beer were good, and we were both hungry having skipped an earlier lunch. We were directly in front of the TV at the bar, and caught the running of the Belmont Stakes, not that either of us follows horse racing. (Nonetheless, Michael’s horse, Patch, finished 3rd.)

We rode another mile to Culver’s for dessert, both choosing the Andes mint + Oreo Concrete Mixer. Nomnom.

Then, Nate’s “Dark Skies” app alerted him that a storm would be starting in 25 minutes. So we made a dash for the bikes and rushed back to camp; We beat the storm, just barely…

Within minutes the sirens sounded indicating a tornado warning (watch?) for the area. The rain steadily increased. Thunder followed flashes of lightning. Then more sirens. And harder rain. Within 10 minutes, though, the storm had passed.

See the Relive video.

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