Day 15: Olney, IL -> Carlyle, IL (77 mi)
8:30am - I left Olney for Carlyle early the next morning after a restful nights sleep in a queen size bed. I had to be in St. Louis by Thursday night, day after tomorrow, to fly out Friday to CLE for a friend’s wedding. Getting to Carlyle tonight would put me a day ahead of schedule, and as I would be staying with old family friends just outside St Louis, I was excited at the possibility to get in some extra facetime.
The route to Carlyle was a continuation of yesterday’s ride down State Rt. 50, flat-as-a-pancake with a wide shoulder.
I was helped along by mostly sunny skies the first half of the way, before stopping for a quick lunch at an ice cream parlor in Salem. When I sat down to eat my taco salad under their awning, it began to rain, but by the time I’d finished eating, the sun resumed its watchful post amongst the clouds.
I made it to Carlyle around 5pm, and by the time I rolled onto Main Street I was ravenous. I found a spot that looked reasonable (my standards include selling beer and having a place to sit and drink said beer - food is a bonus), walked inside, and ordered a Fat Tire - one of my fave's.
Schleicher’s bar and grill it was called. I was the only one in there when I sat down, and the two staff, incidentally the co-owners, Larry and Melissa, inquired about my unusual apparel. I ordered the German Burger and filled them in. When it was time to pay, they told me it was on the house. Unreal!
I didn’t want to motel again tonight, so I asked about possible places to camp in town. Larry recommended some spots down by the lake, but they were all 5-10 miles away, and having already downed a few beers, I decided to try my luck at the fire station before heading out of town.
When I knocked on the door of the Carlyle Volunteer Fire Department, no one answered. I figured they were all likely home for the evening and I’d probably be all right posting up behind the station.
There was, to my delight, an entrenched sort of hallway behind the building that would provide extra cover for the rain, so I decided to set up there.
There was a gas station right next door that I decided to grab some evening snacks from, and would plan to stop there for a quick breakfast the next morning.
I spent the rest of the evening nestled up on my sleeping pad behind the station, drinking a Miller lite and watching some Inspired to Ride, a documentary about the inaugural TransAmerica Bike Race, which my friend Simone was incidentally competing in this year. Pretty inspiring stuff for sure, the physical challenge all those folks undertake.
I passed out soon after finishing the movie, ready to finish off the trek to St. Louis tomorrow where close friends and a real bed awaited.