Saturday, May 25th – Day 53 – Staunton to Springfield

Screenshot_20190525-183018_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:     Visiting Lincoln’s Home

Worst part of the day:  Couldn’t think of anything!

Distance: 69 miles         Riding Time: 5hrs 25min

Bed count: 33                  Sleeping Bag count: 20

It was nice morning when we rose around 6. Favorable winds were going to allow us to do a longer ride today.

Yesterday, we had reached out to another Warm Showers hosting couple in Springfield and they graciously accepted our request to be their guest for not only tonight, but, tomorrow as well.

Once again we had the hotel’s breakfast, got packed up and on our way by 7:30 (one of the more earlier times we’ve managed to get going!). It was a mostly flat ride today riding first through the villages of Mt. Olive and Litchfield on Route 66.

A little history lesson here, Route 66 had slightly different roadways back in the days. We’ve seen signs like this for Route 66, for example for the years 1930-1940 and 1940-1977, on the same roadside pole, but, pointing in different directions! But, eventually the two roads would meet up further down!!20190525_085104

Our route brought us once again parallel with I-55 passing large, plowed farmlands. There was a mapped bike path near the village of Waggoner which we bypassed (ACA said in their updates that this path was not well-maintained). A very slight drizzle brought some cooling relief. We made a quick stop to put on our pannier rain covers to protect them, but, as the temperature was still warm, we didn’t feel the need to put on our rain jackets.

Took a Subway break at a truck stop at the village of Farmersville. Splitting a foot-long BMT sandwich refueled us. Back on the bike, we continued past more farms along both sides of I-55. Finally, we turned away from the interstate when we reached Divernon and deeper into farms of harvested corn fields.

Eventually, we reach the town of Chatham where we had thought of staying. Another break at a McDonald’s before heading out for the last 18 or so miles to Springfield. The first 8-9 miles were on the Interurban Bike Trail. It was a decent trail with only one interruption for a road crossing.

Back onto surface streets in southern Springfield, we came upon the Lincoln Home National Memorial. We had planned to stop there beforehand. It was a lot more than what we expected! 20190525_170544(The Abraham Lincoln family home.)

The Memorial is a four-block area of 1860s period restored homes. At the visitor center, we signed up for a tour of the home where Lincoln lived for 17 years! It was a fairly small, two-story home where the National Park Service rangers guided visitors inside. Going up the stairs to the 2nd floor, our ranger guide said that the handrail we used was the very same handrail used by Lincoln himself!! That was the only thing we could touch!! It was a fascinating look at their home.

20190525_16162620190525_16200420190525_16243520190525_162745(From a few rooms in the Lincoln houses. The bottom picture is of a writing desk where Lincoln received a letter from a little girl saying that if he wanted to be elected President, he ought to grow out his beard. Because women liked the whiskers and would get their husbands to vote for him!)

There were a couple other homes open for visitors to enter. The rest were various offices of businesses.

It was around 5 that we started for the home of our Warm Showers hosts, Karl and Christine, about 4 miles away. Christine was outside when we arrived and warmly greeted us. We moved our bikes inside their garage and grabbed our needed items. Then out came Beau, their 6-year-old, golden Lab. A real sweetheart of a dog!! Christine showed us to our bedroom which was downstairs. Their downstairs also was a large, entertainment spot with a full bathroom!

Karl arrived home soon after and we made our introductions. After getting showered, we joined them upstairs to get to know them more. They both rode bikes, but, Christine’s riding was not as extensive as Karl’s. He had ridden the Southern Tier back in 2011 in two separate segments. In early ’11 with Christine driving and finding lodging spots and Karl cycling, they started in Texas and went to St. Augustine, FL. Then later that year, they drove to San Diego and did the same thing back out to Texas.

For dinner, they took us out to a place called Fulgenzi’s Pizza and Pasta. 20190525_192050(Outside of the Flugenzi’s restaurant.)

This place also had hamburgers and something call a “Horseshoe”. They said that the Horseshoe was a Springfield specialty. What it is is a couple of pieces of toast on the bottom, followed by a choice of meat (hamburger patty, ham, ribeye and a couple other possibilities), a mound of French fries then smothered in either a white or cheddar cheese sause!! (They have a smaller version called a “Ponyshoe”).20190525_194008(The “Ponyshoe” (l) and the “Horseshoe” at Flugenzi’s.)

Karl definitely recommended this! So, Rob had the Horseshoe and Fay the Ponyshoe. They were good and filling! We had soft-serve ice cream there for dessert!

It was a long day and we were glad to be taking a day off tomorrow after riding after 7 straight ride days and knowing that rain was in the forecasted for all day. Fay had been able to get a load of laundry done today, so it will be nice to have clean riding clothes, more than just our bike shorts, when we head out again on Monday!!

Until our next post….

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