All the variables that make for slow cycling converged on me, today. Flat ground, a painful leg muscle, headwinds, and Burlington... The first order of business for the morning was to resupply. Burlington has a Aldi store. It also has a lot of hills and long trains. I waited 20 minutes for one to pass, before realizing the Aldi was actually in the other direction. Then it was the climb - a long series of hills that took at least an hour to haul up, and maybe 10 minutes to glide back down from. But hey, I came back down with gummy bears, hoagie buns, green peppers, apples, flavoured tuna packets and pop-tarts, all for damn cheap.
I stopped at the Iowa visitor center before crossing the bridge to Illinois, which I admit I was a bit skeptical about(Illinois? What is in Illinois, anyway, besides Chicago? Chicago is scary. What if I ran into roving bands of people from -Chicago- way out here?). I was promptly given an Iowa bicycle map(which I promptly lost. I think the raccoons took it....), coffee, and cookies. Yay, Iowa. Why do I want to go into Illinois, again? Well, the river road over there is closer to the river... The visitor center ladies confirmed that it is, indeed, a nicer ride in illinois, at least for a stretch.
Past the bridge, the Great River Road routes onto the dry, flat, dusty Carmen road. here is where the headwinds came into play. Fortunately, I had some relief when a fellow living on a colorful little plot of land near Lomax called me over for icewater and shade. Had a nice chat, exchanged email addresses, and was sent off with some apples for the road. Once I got past Lomax, the route improved vastly. It was still hot, but now there was some shade to be had, towns a bit closer together, and scenic and/or historic pulloffs. I rolled into the historic town of Nauvoo late in the evening, and ignored all its touristy temptations. A rest day was in order, I'd come back into town in the morning. I camped at Nauvoo state park, a pleasant place, if a bit on the ridiculously-freaking-buggy side. Dead insects actually filled the entire bowl of one water fountain.... for $10, though, and in a tourist-town, it wasn't all bad.