Ok, so I might have spoken too quickly and harshly about Missouri. It is no longer my least favorite state.
We ended up staying in Farmington three nights ago, and it was incredible. There was a cyclist hostel that had internet, a computer, TV, full kitchen and three rooms full of bunk beds. It was very clean and had a wonderful home feel to it. Ale and I road to the nearest Walmart and got groceries to make a huge breakfast to take advantage of the kitchen.
The next morning I got up early and started on the preparations. I made us a huge scramble (6 eggs) with spinach, tomatoes, and avocado. Then we finished it off with those Pillsbury doughboy rolls of dough (that you are supposed to bake). Since there wasn’t an oven, I decided to fry the dough. It was a decision I will never regret. They were fricken delicious!!!! Unfortunately we were still a bit hungry, so we drank these protein chai drinks that really fill you up.
The ride that day was beautiful and much more enjoyable. We even crossed the Mississippi River and the state line into Illinois. We stayed in cyclist lodging again that night, but this time in a much more run down room. The room was tiny and had wooden bunk beds with spider webs on each sleeping space. But, it was free, so we went up to the bar near our home for the night, got some more fried food and passed out.
The next day Ale and I coordinated with Cathy Foy (friend from Los Gatos, who was visiting her family in St. Louis), to see if we could meet up for dinner. I had lost track of how far we were from St. Louis, and we ended up making Cathy drive over a hundred miles to come see us. Whats even worse, I told Cathy to meet us in a town and then when we got there nothing was open, so I asked if we could meet in the next town (10 miles east). To top things off, Cathy beat us there, so she had to wait for us. Good thing Cathy is incredibly nice and patient because i think any other human being would have been slightly annoyed. Ale and I felt really bad about making her wait, so we went as fast as we could over potholed and bumpy back roads. It was actually kind of fun to feel like we were racing for something important. I put on some Eminem and made it an intense workout. haha, Ale was behind me probably cursing at me.
When we finally got to Carbondale, Illinois, and we met up with Cathy who was all smiles. I was so happy to see a familiar face and we ended up having a wonderful night. We found a motel, dropped our stuff off and headed out to dinner. I have known Cathy for several years, but I have never really spent that much one on one time with her. I was thrilled to find out that Cathy is even more awesome than I imagined.
We went to an Italian restaurant and Ale and I ordered a large deep dish pizza. We laughed about our adventures and talked about cycling (Cathy is an absolutely incredible cyclist), while we waited for the huge pizza to come out. We were definitely over confident and thought we would be able to handle the whole pizza to ourselves, but when the 20lb pizza came out, Ale and I looked at each other and were like, “uhhhh… Cathy, you want any?” Cathy (intelligently) stayed clear of the massive centerpiece, so Ale and I attempted to conquer it on our own. We ate about half, which the waitress was impressed with. Meanwhile, we got to know more about Cathy, and it was so so so nice to have a fun lively conversation with someone new (not the Ale and I don’t enjoy each others company after hanging out 24/7 for two and a half months:).
When we finished at the restaurant, Cathy took us to the nearest grocery store for some pints. Something amazing happened at Krogers (the grocery store). I found an ice cream brand called “Graeter’s.” This is possibly the best ice cream I have ever had. Luckily, I knew about the ice cream from a teammate who introduced us to the delicacy on a road trip. Finding this ice cream meant two things: 1. we were close enough to the east coast, that the grocery stores sold Graeters 2. I was about to enjoy a pint of my favorite ice cream. It was all good.
Cathy ended up buying us not only the ice cream but some other items we had excitedly picked up. We haven’t been able to find bars for some time, so Ale and I each grabbed as many Cliff and Luna bars as we could carry. Cathy sneakily paid for everything. It was extremely nice of her.
Cathy drove us back to the motel and then headed back to St. Louis. Ale and I finished the night off eating our pints while watching “Parks and Recreation” (our favorite show). Amy Pollen is a genius. Anyways, we were so so so grateful for Cathy’s visit, and after she left Ale was like, “your mom seriously has the best friends! They must really like her / they all have very conveniently planned trips.” haha, my mom also provided the Mike and Liz Dillon connection, so her friendships have greatly enhanced our bike trip. thanks mom 🙂