Another week on the bicycle! Another push for the Canadian Border!!
Since we returned home almost a month ago, June 24, 2014, from spending 7 weeks in Australia and New Zealand, we have been in catch-up mode, which at some point switched to preparation mode. Most of the items on the catch-up list were things we would have normally done during early summer, plus while we were gone Iowa had a fair amount of rain, so the weeds had a real hay-day growing where they pleased. Several of our shrubs had more than normal winter-kill so replacement was in order, and several of the ornamental grasses need to be divided. Every year we put fresh mulch on the flower beds after the shrubs had been trimmed. All of this has been staring us in the face since we returned home. I can say after this week that things look great, new planting are in, and the flowers are blooming. We will need to continue watering the new plantings if we do not have sufficient rain.
Due to our summer schedule we decided Cal needed to ride his bike from where he left off last summer, Carlyle, Illinois to Mt Pleasant sometime during the month of July. Later in the summer (Sept) he will continue to ride north from Mt Pleasant, but he needed to ride home first. For those just joining our blog, last summer Cal rode a 1000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Carlyle, Illinois. At that point we drove home, due to other commitments. So we have now returned to Carlyle to resume where he stopped last summer. The Canadian Border is our final goal!!!
Sunday morning, July 20, when RAGBRAI’ers were heading west in Iowa, we finished packing and began our drive south. We actually were also scouting out the route we would ride north, as while riding in southern Illinois last summer; we had several issues finding ride able roads. We know that while riding we will actually be retracing our drive today, but it will be at a much slower pace.
We had a good Illinois bike map, indicating the traffic flow on roads. This map was extremely useful, as we want paved roads, but lightly traveled roads.