Day 36 – Farmington to Murphysboro

Sun 11th July 2010

The accommodation at Farmington last night was excellent and such a good facility for cyclists on the Transamerica Trail. As we had our breakfast we heard heavy rain on the roof and on looking outside were surprised to see that a thunder storm was passing over. So we put on our rain gear again and put everything safely away in the panniers ready for another wet day. We set off in the rain but within 5 miles the storm had passed and the sky was blue. And that’s how it remained for the rest of the day. It was hot and humid.


Thinking he's an English gent, Chris has taken to wearing a cravat while cycling.

Egar to keep the extra miles we’ve gained we decided to go past our planned destination of Chester to Murphysboro another 40 miles down the road.

The first half of our ride to Chester was very similar to the last few days as we cycled the last hills of the Ozarks. The hills were still steep and plentiful right until we dropped down onto a flat area in the Mississippi valley. We crossed the Mississippi River at Chester and it really is a huge river and fast flowing.  The only vessels on the river were these massive barges struggling to make headway against the flow.

Mississippi bridge at Chester

Our route over the Mississippi

Mississippi River

Crossing the Mississippi

We then cycled into Chester which is the home of Popeye and just about every sign has a picture of Popeye on it. The picture below is of a mural on the side of a building. As we crossed the river we also said goodbye to Missouri and entered Illinois, our 8th State (2 to go).

Popeye mural

Popeye mural in Chester

From Chester we took a route that allowed us to cycle along the Mississippi Levee. It was quite something to cycle along it and the area was very picturesque and peaceful. It was also very open and extremely hot and draining. Chris has not enjoyed the cycling today because of the heat and humidity whereas I don’t mind it so much. I suspect Chris won’t enjoy the next two weeks either because that’s the weather we must expect here (in between the thunderstorms that is).

Mississippi Levee

Cycling along the Levee

While cycling the Levee Chris ran out of drinking water but we were lucky to find a little restaurant at Neunert. I went inside to ask to fill our water bottles and the people inside were very friendly and wanted to drink beer with us and feed us as well. A beer then would have been great but we had to decline the offer and carry on our journey once we had our water bottles refilled.

Water Lillies

Giant lillies in a pond near the levee

We made pretty good time today and reached Murphysboro by 4:00pm. By the time we had cycled to a shop and bought our food it was past 5:00pm before we found somewhere to stay. We are in a motel again tonight because of the weather. Heavy thunderstorms were forecast and these started soon after we arrived here.

As usual we had pasta and tuna for tea and cooked this in our room. Because we’re using an alcohol burner there always this fear that one day we’ll set off the fire alarm but so far we’ve been okay.

Daily Mileage -94.2 miles

Time in Saddle -7 hrs 55 mins

Total Climbing – 3,928 ft


  1. You’re doing great guys.
    Many thanks for the daily routine explanation.
    I hope you can relax a little and enjoy the countryside you are passing.

  2. Hey,guess what, it rained here this morning as well for about 20 minutes!! Think we will have a tuna pasta bake for tea, make us feel closer to you! Only 23 days (I think) nothing compared to what has already passed.

  3. Hope the hot and humid weather calms down a bit for you! I havent been liking it either..but thats just day to day 94 mile bike ride for me!

    Looks like you did a fair bit of climbing today too!

    God 2 states to go..thats amazing. Well done. You should be soooo proud of yourselves.

    love you lots

  4. It all looks very picturesque but i wouldn,t want to cycle in that heat, hope it cools down for you chris. well done!! fantastic achievement only two more states to go. Love you