For the first part of today's ride it most definately felt odd returning to solo riding. I certainly was not missing the early starts but did miss the company of some 10 - 15 thousand fellow cyclists. But once I reached the first gas/petrol station (for pop and ice cream) I felt that normal service had resumed: There was more time for viewing the scenery; less chat (obviously; but I did meet Jasper and Lula with whom I cycled and chatted with for some miles); much less time was spent avoiding other cyclists; and I had to return to seeking out food. The other thing I noticed was that on RAGBRAI I generally lost the sense of place. I think this was mainly down to: 1) not having to plan the route, stops and overnight campsite; 2) simply following the signs / fellow cyclists; 3) and each town that we passed through was lined with vendors, and each town typically had the same or very similar vendors.
So today I passed into Illinios but, again, there was no welcoming sign, perhaps it has been decided that one is unnecessary, as the Mississippi River is the western boundary of the State? The only sign of actually being in the State was this:
I'm not sure whether the roads were quiet because it was a Sunday or, simply because I was in the middle of nowhere, whichever, there were very few cars on the road, and so it made for a pleasant ride (except for the two dog events). As for the weather, fortunately I arrived in Kewanee for a planned break just as the rain started, and by the time I was ready to leave it had stopped. And by approximately 4pm the sun was out and the all enveloping clouds gone.
As for Jasper and Lula, I was expecting them to have arrived here by now, it is almost biker's midnight (8pm), but still they have not arrived. I hope that they are okay, as Henry was their intended overnight stop! Perhaps I scared them off!