Day 16: Cornell, IL to Kewanee, IL (82.2 miles)

Other than the periodic getting chased by dogs and the windmills, the landscape of corn and barns rolled on all morning without break. Finally, near lunch time, we hit a massive downhill (breaking our previous maximum speed of 40 mph) and crossed over the Illinois River, which brought a brief change in landscape. However, before long we were back to corn and (mostly) flat roads.

What has stuck with us past the river valley is larger towns. Starting with Henry, IL just over the river, we began to see larger and larger towns, meaning our food and water supplies are not so scarce as they had been for the last week. This is good because it has also started to get quite a bit hotter.

When we got to Kewanee, our destination for the night, we had not yet managed to find either a Warm Showers host or a church that would take us in. We ate fries (if anyone wants to know, fries really spark creativity) and discussed our options. Our top pick was camping outside the Walmart in town, since, legend has it, they allow people to sleep in their parking lots. However, while discussing, we were interrupted by a group of women sitting next to us: if we talked to the local police, they would probably let us stay in the local park. That sounded good, so we set to finishing our fries.

The group of women soon left, so it was to our surprise that one of them, Donna, returned and gave us money to cover a hotel room for the night. We cannot thank her enough; her generosity towards three dirty, smelly guys in a McDonald’s is much appreciated and provided us a much needed restful night.

We woke fresh the next morning, polished off most of the continental breakfast, and headed out. We are glad that we made it through a night of not knowing where we were going to sleep; it’s that kind of flexibility to work under the conditions given that have been a necessary part of this trip, and we aren’t expecting that aspect to change or get easier as time goes on.