Illinois

June, 1, 2019- Jumer’s Casino, Castle Rocks, Illinois

Team Ronyx is up early and packing up to head south to Illinois. They drive from the campground to the main road of 1 South for Ron to start biking. He leaves at 9:20 am with Onyx and pedals 23 miles before he switches Onyx out and puts Phoenix in the trailer. At 24.5 miles, he stops to take pictures of the All Veterans Memorial site. It is 75 out and overcast. At 1:30 pm we get onto 38 South. At 41 miles, Ron switches Phoenix out of the trailer and puts Onyx in. While they are on the road, Meghan reaches out to the Rock Island news station to see if they want to do a story on Onyx’s Great Adventure. They quickly respond and let her know that a reporter will be in touch with them soon. When Team Ronxy meet at the intersection of 61, Ron has pedaled 45.5 miles and they decide he better put Fonyx in the trailer, as 61 is a 4 lane divided highway. We make the switch and Ron gets back to pedaling. Today’s ride is pretty long. Meghan connects with the reporter and they pick a time in the morning to do the interview. We end up exiting the highway at 56.2 miles and load up the bike and trailer. While we were loading we noticed a gentleman had pulled into the gas station we were at. He was driving an SUV pulling a utility trailer. When the man went to leave, his vehicle wouldn’t start. Ron walked over and assisted the man. It sounded like his fuel pump was not working very well. Ron bangs on the fuel tank a few times and it fires up! (We are getting good at these road repairs.) We head back out to the highway and it is getting busy with the evening traffic. Soon, we will be on the Interstate. At 65.6 miles we entered Illinois by going over the Mississipi River. We can see houses and cars under water. After we traveled 67 miles we arrived at the Casino. Once we arrive, we found the Carey’s at the back of the casino. Meghan and Juanita go to the casino after everybody is all settled in. They want to play a little and see if there is a cafe to grab the guys some food. Meghan only plays with $20. She ends up doubling it and then loses most of it. She ends up leaving with $10. Her and Juanita find the cafe and get some food for everybody. It’s getting close to bed time and they plan to set up Team Ronyx’s portable AC in the camper and run it off of Team Ronyx’s generator so that everybody can stay cool. When the ladies return, Ron and Harold had already set up the AC. They discuss tomorrow’s plans of interviewing in the morning and then heading off to their campground in Kawanee. That night, Everybody found a spot to sleep. Ron slept in the top bunk of the bunk beds, Meghan slept on the dinette turned into a bed and Harold and Juanita slept in the main bed of their camper. All four dogs sprawled out across the floor.

June, 2, 2019- Chief Keokuk Campground, Kewanee, IL

Team Ronyx is up before 7. They start packing up and organizing to prepare to go out to the front of the casino to meet Andrea from Quadcities News Channel 4. They head around to the front of the casino and talk with Andrea and record audio and video. A security guard from the casino came out to inquire what we were doing with a camera on site. We explain ed and he asked us to wrap it up. We were surprised but understand they had e their own rules so we finished up and headed out. We drove to 6 E and Ron started biking with Onyx in the trailer around 9:45 am. We are still seeing lots of flooding in the area. The one road we had to take to get to 6E was still covered with standing water that motorists had to drive through. Ron stopped at 17 miles and switched Onyx out and put Phoenix in. He pedals another 9 miles with Phoenix.We stopped 2/3s of the way to our destination in the town of Geneseo and ordered a pizza for lunch/dinner. Meghan sits and waits for the pizza as Ron continues on his way. He alternates the dogs and ends up riding 34 miles today to the town of Annawan where we take a detour to go down to Chief Keokuk Campground. We drive the 5 miles to the campground as it isn’t part of our route. The campground is part of a park and has tall pine trees all over as well as open grassy spots. Ron and Meghan choose a night shady spot back in the trees. When the Carey’s arrive, Ron takes the dogs for a walk in the woods and returns with a very large mushroom. We start a fire and Ron cook’s us steaks over the fire (he spoils us with his steak cooking). It is hard to spend much time outside as everybody is eaten alive by the bugs. Most of our sprays or repellents aren’t working very well. Juanita finds a way to sit outside with Meghan’s portable fan on her, that helps with the heat and the bugs.

June 3, 2019- Walmart Parking Lot, Ottawa, Illinois

Ron heads out with Onyx around 8 am from Chief Keokuk Campground. He travels North to 6E and heads towards Ottawa. We have a long journey today. 6E has limited shoulders and lots of truck traffic but he will making the best of it. Today we have lots of motorists pulling over and giving us donations after seeing us on the Quad Cities news. Ron also had a very nice gentleman assist him in getting though one lane constrution on a bridge. He waved Ron in front of him and escorted him through the construction when all of the other motorists were just zipping past him, no allowing him to get through the light. We stopped in Princeton around noon for quick break. Meghan has an important call to take at 12:30 so she hangs back while Ron pedals on. While she is waiting for her phone call, she explores the Lovejoy Homestead Historical Marker; it was very important part of the underground railroad. After Meghan receives her call, she heads down the highway to find Ron. Meghan’s phone is now on the fritz. It has gone into Safe Mode and will not allow Meghan to access any downloaded apps on her phone or turn Safe Monde off. She decides it is necessary to get a new phone today. Throughout the day, he switches Onyx and Phoenix until he has pedaled 44 miles; he is just outside the town of Peru. Ron puts Fonyx in to navigate through the heavy traffic and the town. Meghan finds a vets office and sticks brochures and business cards in their door about Onyx’s Great Adventure. After Ron goes another 14.5 miles, the traffic is too much. We load up to drive the last 4 miles to our turn off for Walmart. Once we get to Walmart, we find Juanita and Harold who arrived before us in the back corner. The spot they picked is really nice, we parallel park against the curb and we have a whole grassy area for the dogs to run and play as well as water for the dogs to swim in. Meghan is happy to see that there is an ATT store across from Walmart. She heads straight over as soon as they are parked. After Meghan’s phone is replaced, she and Juanita go in the store and grab stuff they need. That evening, we had fried chicken, fruit salad and tossed salad for dinner. We hooked up the portable AC unit in the Carey’s fifth wheel and found our spots for sleeping.

June 4 -5, 2019- Illini State Park, Marseilles, IL

Ron rides laps around Walmart and banks up 13 miles. Meghan and Juanita go back into Walmart for a few things. Meghan wants to find something to organize Team Ronyx’s food storage. They are currently using two small totes and it is starting to look very disorganized. She finds wide plastic drawers that she thinks will work perfectly. After she picks up a few more items she heads out to rearrange their setup. After loving in their small space for several months they are finding more ways to organize and arrange their things to fit their space better. The laundromat and post office are also on today’s lists of stops before they get to their campsite just 11 miles away. While they are at the laundromat, Juanita text’s Meghan to let her know that Harold found a bald spot on one of the tires that was on the other side of the axle that got damaged when they had their break down in Wyoming. They were going to go look for a place to get it repaired and then meet Team Ronyx at the campground. Meghan and Ron arrive at the Illini State Park first. They find a spot and wait for the Carey’s to arrive. As soon as Meghan gets out of the truck and makes her way to the back, she is bitten twice by mosquitos. Her skin starts welting up right away. Once the Carey’s arrive, Team Ronyx moves their tiny home over next to the Carey’s. They weren’t able to get their tire repaired today so they will have to go out tomorrow. We decide to camp at Illini State Park for 2 nights so that the Carey’s can get their tire replaced. Ron takes off with the dogs to go play in the woods and the river. Meghan follows a little while later and they walk over to CP’s Ice Cream in the park. They give each Onyx and Phoenix their own tiny dish of ice cream. It is hot and humid today.

The next morning, Ron heads out with Phoenix and rides around town, he hands out business cards for Onyx’s Great Adventure and talks with people who are curious about what he is doing. We are working harder and smarter on spreading the word, by leaving business cards everywhere and brochures wherever we can. We also wear our hoodies and t-shirts 95% of the time. The Carey’s have to move their camper as someone else has their spot reserved tonight. We help them get it moved over. Ron helps Harold take their bad tire off the trailer and Juanita and Harold head into town. Ron then takes Phoenix for a ride around town. That evening we met our camp neighbors who just pulled in. We ended up talking to them for awhile. Ron built a fire and cooked steaks while Meghan works on securing camp spots, planning their Indiana and Ohio routes. That evening Meghan talks with Sarah G. She is working hard to help Team Ronyx arrange an event in Indiana. She and Meghan discuss potential plans and a preferred date for the event which they will reveal once everything is confirmed. Tomorrow Team Ronyx and the Carey’s will be heading to Gilman; our final stop in Illinois before we head into our 7th state.

June 6, 2019- Pilot Travel Center, Gilman, Illinois

Ron is ready to ride this morning but he takes some time to help Meghan clean up camp before he heads out. Juanita is ready to go too. She plans to ride with him out of the park and then come back. Ron is taking Phoenix first today since he is the most willing. They leave a little after 9 am. Meghan stays behind and packs up their tiny home and works on finishing the latest blog she has been working on. She is getting behind on writing the blogs due to procrastinating, map adjustments and trying to coordinate different activities. She is determined to catch up on them as they leave their 6th state and prepare to enter the 7th. After 30 minutes, Juanita calls back to camp to see if Harold would pick her up if she rode 6 miles with Ron. Harold agreed and Meghan wrote directions down for him to follow when it was time to pick her up. Today is a long day of riding. We are supposed to travel 77 miles. Ron plans to ride as many miles as he can but we aren’t sure how the roads will be for bicycling. Meghan left the campground a little after 11 am to find Ron. She finds him along his route and checks up on him. He switches Phoenix out of the trailer and puts Onyx in and continues on. Meghan snaps a few pictures of the Ron with the windmills in the background. When Ron gets to the Intersection of 47 South he can tell it is going to be a difficult road to ride. There is heavy truck traffic and little to no shoulders. While Meghan waits along the road for Ron to ride a few miles down 47 S; she sees a red minivan go past her and then back up to look at their truck/tiny home. She gets out of the truck to go and talk to the woman driving. The woman is very excited to hear about what they are doing and promises to share it. Ron calls Meghan to tell her the traffic is too bad for him to ride with. He has ridden a mile or so down 47 S and 26 miles total so far. Meghan drives to where Ron is and they load up the gear and drive the remainder of the way. They have cars and trucks passing them, even though they are only going 5 miles under the speed limit. Ron knows he is going to have to make up the 51 miles they end up driving to their destination. When Meghan and Ron arrive at the Pilot Station it is very hot and humid. He and Meghan decide to take a walk to see if there is a place where Ron can ride to bank up his miles. They end up walking over a mile around the area but there really isn’t a good place for Ron to ride. He knows he will make up the miles somewhere especially since they added over 40 miles to their Illinois route in order to head to the south. That evening, after the Carey’s arrived, Team Ronyx brought their generator over and hooked up their portable AC unit in the Carey’s trailer again. It was too hot, not to have AC. Harold and Juanita went to dinner and Meghan worked on the blog and contacting news outlets and campgrounds in Indiana. That night, the truck stop was overflowing with trucks and more trucks continued to circle the lot to look for more spots. Everybody went to bed with the sound of diesel engines purring and the cold AC running. Tomorrow they will cross into another state!

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