This turned our to be quite an uneventful day of riding: flat, not much wind, lots of corn. This is actually an interesting point: we expected to see mostly farmland in the Midwest, but, as far as we have seen, it is ALL farmland. It is slightly disconcerting to realize that as far as the eye can see (several miles, usually) has been entirely cleared of its original growth. We have a hard time envisioning what was even here before the farms. This drives home a point that is often overlooked: factory farming is not just animal agriculture. It also includes the millions of acres of monoculture grown crops that we have been riding through for days.
In any case, we made a short detour through Rensselaer for Subway. The manager, Kevin, is an avid mountain biker and was kind enough to donate our lunch. Rensselaer must put something in their water because later we also met John, a retired teacher, who, after hearing about our story and making sure we were being safe on the roads, gave us a gift card. With thankful stomachs and well-wishes from John, we departed from Rensselaer. If it seems like we only write about food, that’s probably because it occupies 90% of our thoughts.
We finished the day in Iroquois, a small town just across the Illinois border. They were big enough to have a general store, and we treated ourselves to chips and salsa and played cards in the community park where we spent the night. The town of Iroquois is well aware that it is on a bike tour route, and, as such, they allow passing cyclists to stay in a warehouse in the park. With warm showers and a roof over our heads we fell quickly to sleep.