I rolled into Chester IL on the edge of the Mississippi River. Fun fact, Popeye the sailor is from Chester. A couple local fishermen going out for Catfish offered me stinky rotten cheese bait and advised I camp on an embankment next to the river. I voted yes, and so did the sheriff in the local jail when I asked his permission amidst the yelling of inmates. I slept to the quiet sound of barges rolling by, and the noisy sound of dogs barking at me and sniffing my presence.
Just as I was about to take off in the morning I saw a man canoeing down the river. Alan Palmer managed to hear me and came over for an hour long conversation. He had been canoeing from Montana since May and was headed towards New Orleans. Crazy to think, life on a canoe, with enough food an water in the boat for days at a time. Alan took off and so did I.
After crossing the river I met another couple travellers Naomi and Jaime of trashfreeway.com had been travelling the TransAmerica bike route for almost 40 days from Virginia. They flagged me down as I passed a gas station, we exchanged food and started biking together. A day filled with questions, giggles and breaks led us to Farmington Missouri where they were going to stay at a Bike Hostel. There I met the third member of their team, Rane, a professional saxaphonist and exotic fruit grower from Miami. The evening was fun filled as yet another biker joined us at the hostel. Connor was coming from Washington solo on his way to Maine. We ate, sang, and talked everything life on the road.