Day 19 – Ride Across America for GTG. Kirksville, MO to Quincy,IL

The Health Partners Bike Club are all behind Growing Through Grief and wishing Jeff a serious tailwind! Yep, they wish they were out there too.


We have been biking eleven days since our last rest day and the toil on our bodies is evident. In fact, none of us has ridden these long miles on more than 5 days in a row before this trip. Sunburns, rashes, sore wrists, painful contact with the saddle, muscle cramps and irritation, irritated coughs, headaches, sore backs and shoulders are some of the symptoms. Riders remain pleasant even jovial, but a level of frustration with the hills and the headwinds is contributing to a focus on getting through the next two days to reach Saturday, our next rest day. So, I decided to look more closely at the scenery and take a few more pictures along the way. See video below.

Today started out with more hills, some headwinds and 63 degrees. We past Truman University in Kirksville, a lovely campus and medical center. Leaving the town, I had to take the NEMO sign picture for my friends who have watched Nemo and related films multiple times with their children. We saw farmlands along Hwy 15 to our sag across from the IDK cafe in Baring. (we will be featured on their website.) Most of the farm homes are newer, attractive buildings, but always, there are some abandoned and in decay. Lunch was at mile 58 in Monticello – and also our 2,000 mile mark since April, 28th! ( see photo). We needed the rest and lunch lasted longer than usual. Naturally, bikers and other interested in biking would gather around to ask about us and ABB. By then, headwinds of up to 25 miles an hour had formed. In fact, 15 miles down the road, we heard thunder and saw rain falling in front of us. With an intermittent strong wind from the side, I leaned my bike into the wind and sit upright to maintain balance.. But our East, SouthEast route frequently brought us into the headwind. As the temperature rose into the low 80s, we felt a little “baked” and we welcomed the clouds to block the sunlight when ever they came. In fact, I had to stop 5 times to wash the sweat salt out of my eyes – very irritating!

Our lowest altitude of riding was between mile 70 and 85. See video for photos and the flood maker. Fortunately, our last 20 miles was mostly with the wind and we were reaching 22-23 mph. How happy we were to cross the Mississippi and enter IL, knowing that the hotel was only 6 miles down the road. ( the bridge was too busy to take planned photos). Riding up from the river past industrial buildings, we started to see parks and historic buildings. Further on, Main street with its beautiful homes is reminiscent of Summit Ave in St. Paul. With 40,000 people in Quincy by census in 2000, the home prices are significantly lower than in St. Paul – especially for the homes advertised for sale.

This evening, after Rap, we had new chains put on our bikes. After 2000 miles upon exam, the chain had stretched and it can damage my cassette (gears) if not replaced.

Tomorrow, we bike to Springfield, 106 miles down the road. It will be 70 degrees when we start and mid 80s when we finish. Very warm for bike riding.

(Correction- yesterday we climbed 6,800 feet on MO hills – a few of the other riders want to be accurate!)

Please watch video below.