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Great River Road Ride May 20, 2001

Five of us traveled to Alton Illinois in the early morning leaving Rolla at 7:00 with plans to meet five more in Alton. Mike Kling called on the cell phone to say his son had soccer games scheduled during the day and he would not be meeting us. My daughter and son-in-law called to say they were lost after following my "fabulous instructions" (how was I supposed to know there were TWO bridges on highway 67?). After resolving the travel problems, we all got started on the ride about 9:30. My daughter (Susie) was willing to drive the sag vehicle on the way from Alton to Pere Marquette State Park. It was a great day to ride and we had the wind (approximately 6-9 mph) to our back as we rode. The bike path is blacktopped and sometimes shares highway 100 (but has a designated bike lane). By the time we had traveled 4 miles, Dave and I (Dan) stopped at the first sag point and wondered what had happened to the rest or our group. I thought the first maintenance (mandatory for each ride)was needed since Dave's tires were low on air.(Another requirement was met at this first stop since it was equipped with restroom facilities that did not exist at the beginning of the ride). We soon discovered that we were not the first maintenance occurrence since the others lagged behind due to a flat tire on Dick's bike.








At this time we also found that Dick had brought his camera and the attached photo gives an idea of the view we had of Dick for the rest of the day. The next major stop was at the small town of Elsah. We were greeted by a goose family (representing many animals we saw duing the ride)


Elsah is a small town of many old stone buildings and short narrow.
Bill Good and his daughter and son-in-law turned around at this point to
complete their 20 mile ride.

The rest of us continued to the next town of Grafton. We had stopped by a visitor's
center on the way were we were told the path was underwater and we would have to take a detour of a few blocks. As we entered town Susie was there to meet us at the detour sign and wanted to know what we would do next. We told her to go ahead to the turn around point at Pere Marquette Park and we would take the detour.

Here is where the story gets "complicated". We started on the detour and
figured out fairly quickly that this wasn't what was described by the lady at the
visitor's center. We turned around and took another promising path that didn't
pan out either. Then we went back and followed hwy 100 until it disappeared
and there was a "local" detour that only took a few blocks of VERY rough rock
road. We continued on our way past Grafton and there were still a few places where the trail was a few feet under water..

We then moved into an area of relief with several hills that pleased Bud (I think he is a glutton for punishment) and finally arrived at Pere Marquette Park. The park is highly recommended by all riders as a very pretty
place. The only problem was that Susie wasn't there with the car. After several circuits around the parking areas we were convinced Susie was nowhere around. I tried to call her cell phone several times with no answer (this makes a parent apprehensive even when the "kid" is fully grown up). She showed up about 20 minutes
later. She wasn't lost

(according to her we were. When she took the "detour" it
took her WAY AROUND the flood and she had to go up above the Missouri river bluff. SO, she waited for us at the top since she thought we might be "dead" by the time we climbed the hills.She didn't know we found another way of getting around the flood waters, so she was traveling up and downthe hills thinking WE were lost.

We all got rehydrated and started the ride back.

Now (if you paying attention earlier when I said we had a nice tailwind),
we had a headwind for the home stretch. Susie rode back with us and my son-in-law (Dave) drove the sag car. We didn't have any problems on the way back
(except the breeze) since we knew where the detours were. There were several pretty places to stop and look over the Mississippi. We stopped to watch a barge go by about half way backwhere Susie stole my camera and took a picture of me

After fighting the breeze all the way back along the open stretches of
road along the Mississippi, the participants should not "screw around"
with the photographer, cause they might take your picture . All in all this was a
very successful trip. We would have liked to see more RATs on the ride.
The weather cooperated nicely except for a lot of rain on the drive home.
Thanks to all that attended, it
was a GREAT River Ride.



Click here for more scenes from Dick Fonner

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