Day 11, Tour 10 Flora to Centralia, IL

Centralia's Carillon
My bike is at the bottom of the image - this is a big Carillon!

Just like yesterday, I woke early planning to get an early start to minimize the time I would spend fighting the wind and the chance of getting caught by a thunderstorm. I looked out my window and saw that it was wet and gray outside ;-{. I cranked up my computer and checked the radar. The big storms that has gone through during the night - lots of thunder! - were now well to the east, but another, smaller. line of storms was just west of Salem, heading east. I didn't want to ride into those storms, so I waited till they reached Flora. while waiting I had breakfast in my room and got myself and my bike ready to go. I ended up leaving about 7:30 AM

It was cool and dreary when I left Flora, but bright, warm, and sunny when I reached Salem, 25 miles later

Riding was easy from Flora to Salem with a good to very good shoulder all the way and light to moderate traffic. I stopped after about 15 miles to take a break and have a snack. My knees were a little sore and my butt was more than a little sore, both from my faster riding on rougher shoulders yesterday,

I reached Salem a little before 10:30. I was just in time to get a second breakfast at McDs. They switched to lunch mode immediately after I got my order. I ate breakfast, read email, and did some browsing while resting my knees. I decided to route through Centralia. That was less than 15 miles away from Salem and would take me south on IL 51 which looked like a good road. If I continued south on that road, it would be another 45 miles till I reached another town with motel, or I could head further west and find a motel in about 30 miles

US 50 after Salem, not as bad as it looks

IL 51, nice road!

To reach Centralia, it took me a while cranking through the town of Central City. Since I'd checked things out with Google streetview, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. What I didn't expect was a huge Carillon Tower sticking up, far up, right in the middle of town. It was so neat that I immediately rode over to read the inscriptions on its base

The base of the tower
On the left is a list bell donors in bell weight order.There are some big bells up there!
On the right is a list of donors. Somebody raised a lot of money for this project!

It was only 12:30, but I decided my knees had had enough so, after stopping at a Dairy Queen for another Chili dog with onions and a pineapple milkshake, I rode back to The Bell Motel - a nice place just across the street for the Carillon.

Later, I walked down to a the bike shop I'd passed near the tower. I didn't need anything but I did want to see what they had. They had a LOT: about 500 bikes on the floor including two kinds recumbents (Easyracer and Sun) and several different recumbent trikes - both tadpole and delta. I visited with one of the guys that worked there and he said the folks who owned it had another store that had twice as many bikes and this bikeshop had been in business for over twenty years. Interestingly, the customers that were there, buying stuff as I watched, were not traditional bicyclists.

Centralia Illinois was certainly not what I expected.

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