1 May 2008

So long Illinois

I had a good rest yesterday and Chris at Bike Surgeon fixed my rear derrailleur which must have got a bit bashed on the flight and was making my gears skip. After carb loading at breakfast I hit the state highway to Murphysboro before getting a choice of routes on the maps. With the chance to take a less hilly route along the Mississippi Levee I opted for that and it was a great choice.

Over 30 miles I must have had 10 cars go by at the most so I could relax and take in the scenery - lots of oxbow lakes and river features that I don't know the names for! One house was actually cut off from the road by the risen river and so they had parked up on the edge of the flooded area and I guess boater it home. I stopped at a little place called "Bottoms Up" which sadly wasn't a botty bar but was an inhospitable diner with poor service and manky food. Onwards along the side of the Mississippi led me back to the main route to the town of Chester.

Chester is the home of cartoon star Popeye and the town is almost a shrine to him and fellow cartoon cast members. Interestingly enough I found out that Olive Oyl was around before Popeye as a stand alone character with a different boyfriend as well. In town I bumped into Larry and Julie who I last saw in Utica which was nice so we swapped stories over a second lunch (salad and ice cream this time). We headed down the hill out of town together stopping for some snaps at a Popeye statue then had a scary as hell ride across the huge bridge over the Mississippi to the Missouri border. A storm was kicking in as we rode along, doing about 8mph into a roaring head wind. A series of hills in the rain led to our stop for the night - random cruddy hotel but at least it was dry inside!

Out of interest, it is remarkable to see the ownership demographics of hotels in the US. So far about 80% of owners have been Indian (Asian not Native American). No real point to make but it contrasts heavily with England where the hotels are normally owned by white people and the shops/convenience stores are Asian (Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Bengali etc) whereas American shops seem to be almost exclusively
white run.
I'd be keen to hear any reasoning from any 'mericans.


Lorna said...

Hi Andy,
Not American, but you are right. Asians own and run over 50% of economy hotels in the USA. When they came here the hospitality industry was very appealing as it offered immediate housing and cash flow. They have been extremely successful.
By the way, another bit of information: fire departments in the USA are mainly volunteer, not because of poverty, but because it has always been that way.
Keep on trucking,

tommiann said...

It depends on the area of the country. In otherwords, in cities you might get a different perspective. Cities are not volunteer fireman, but in rural towns.. will have volunteers. The cities have more of a mixture of immigrants. You are biking through rural areas of the country..the more you travel towards the west, you will have/see a different perspective.
I am originally from Sacramento, CA and currently live in NC..not far from where you began your trip.
Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

This constant referencing to your (probably unprotected) "swinging" is depraved. This blog should come with an over 21 warning. After the late night caravan session with the elderly couple, now I see there are further degrading revelations. I will be going down to my kids' cell and turning off their internet access immediately!
Yours, Hans, Austria.