Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rode the hills of southern Illinois this weekend.  And, yes it was quite windy.  Hilly terrain combined with the wind made the two rides quite adventureous.  Day one was a forty miler to Anna and back along highway 51.  This is a good road with shoulders wide enough so motor traffic would not be narrowly missing me.  After reaching the half way point, with the wind at my back, it was time to turn around.  By this time it had reached the 20 mph mark and was gusting to 25 mph.  Now, coming back was quite another matter .  While not as brutal as the Delhart ride it was tough nevertheless.  I'm still not a great climber but I confess I was too proud to drop into "granny gear" on the climbs. 
   The second ride of the weekend turned out to be quite an adverture.  It reminded me of the times I got lost following the route sheet in the cross country and eastern shore rides.  I had plotted my route using Google Earth and Freetrip.  It was to be a forty miler from Carbondale to Moscow, Il.  Now you might ask "Where in the world is Moscow Il?"  Believe me I found it on the map.  That would be my destination and my wife and the boys would pick me up.  Our plan then was to have an enjoyable post ride refreshment at one of the local wineries.  After leaving route 51 heading east on 146 the road was more of the county variety; hilly and no shoulder!!  The fortunate thing was I had the wind blowing at a brisk 20-25 gusting to 30 mph behind me so it assisted me up the 12% grades.  Thirty miles later with ten miles left on this road, according to my calculations I expected to find a sign indicating Moscow.  But, after 12 miles not seeing any signs for Moscow, I looked for someone to ask for directions.  Another mile later I saw an old farmer on his tractor hauling a role of hay.  I stopped him and asked where I might find Moscow road.  He laughed and said it was 3 miles back the other way.  Apparently I missed the sign.  Yikes!! now instead of having the wind at my back, I had to do these hills into that nasty wind.  When I finally came to the road I realized how I missed it.  There were no big signs pointing to Moscow, rather a small one on a post.  I then called my wife to let her know where I was thinking she would already be in Moscow.  Unfortunately, the instructions I left had the wrong route so she and the boys were driving around trying to find me.   When they finally picked me up I was determined to find Moscow.  We drove several miles along Moscow Road and, indeed, there was no town or anything else.  Moscow Illinois does not exist, yet it is on the Google Earth and Freetrip.  How odd!!   Ahhh...the good news is the adventure ended at Rustle Winery with our group sloshing down Sangria and eating cheese and crackers.  Alls well that ends well!!

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