Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goodbye Illinois, Hello Missouri

The problem with having a rest day is it always comes to an end. Even worse, when family shows up for the rest day, they have to leave when the rest day ends. Saying goodbye a second time was no easier than saying goodbye the first time. Part of me thinks it was more difficult the second time around because I was so darn close to home. The tug of home was strong. All I could think about was my kitchen, my garden, my bed, and being with my family every day, all day. Then Hubby made a good point: if I was home, the kids would be ensconced in their room, headphones on, eyes glued to the computer screen or to the TV screen, playing XBox. They wouldn't even know I'm home. Beautiful Lovely Daughter would be working, hanging out with her friends that she hasn't seen since early March, and probably staying with her friends more than she would actually be home. Continuing the ride would be way more exciting than being home. When put like that, the pull to go home became less. But I still felt sad to say goodbye to my boys.

Today's ride of 55 miles was mostly flat, very similar to the roads I ride around home. The flats made me happy. The corn on both sides of the roads made me happy. The farm houses made me happy. I am most definitely a Midwesterner, specifically from Illinois. I love how I can see for miles and how the roads are mapped out in a grid system. I love how I can see a small town in the distance by the grain elevators rising out of the fields of soy beans and corn. I love the creeks that flow through the fields, giving Great Blue Herons a place to stand by the edge and take off in flight when I ride over the bridge. I love the killdeer that runs in the middle of the road, one wing spread out as if in distress, trying to lure me away from its nest, its babies.

It's been good to be home, even if only for a couple of days. I look forward to cycling into Missouri, though I'm scared to the bone of the hills after hearing the stories from cyclists going east and already having had ridden those hills. They're monsters. Steep, grueling monsters. Hearing the horror stories has made me dread moving into Missouri, put a lead cannonball in the pit of my stomach. I'm being totally psyched out by the Missouri hill stories.

I'll ride those hills, slowly, which is part of my new game plan anyway. I am going to slow down. I am going to take more pictures. I am going to take more notes along the way. I want to soak it all in, and I can't do that if I don't slow down. The likelihood of doing anything like this ever again is incredibly slim. I don't want to miss a thing.

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