D70: Lentner – St Catharine

D70: Lentner – St Catharine

72,52km – 10H08′

Little traffic and wind. But it is so cold. The temperature dropped down to -6 ° C during the night.

No one here seems to be alarmed about the terrible wind, making it almost happened to something normal. Yesterday, the hotel receptionist quickly reassured me: the wind is rarely as strong here.

Life along the US 36 is not the most exciting. When we accompany Serge, we are completely dependent on the path he takes.

Serge takes on average 40 minutes to run the five kilometers between two aid stations.  During this time we must organized equipment used and try to keep the car clean (we spend our life in or around the car), drive to the next point, find a place to park the car and prepare the next supply.

This time is sufficient to meet these specifications, especially as today where the road is the same from the beginning to the end. But when the route changes, it is a litte more difficult because with need to stop at each crossings and prepare the next meal at the same time.

Time management is a paradox, we spend our time waiting  but without really having time.

Funny way to travel you might say. In my point of view, all the interest lies precisely in the “human” dimension of our steps. 70 km per day, divided into fifteen breaks, give us time to enjoy landscapes and improvised meetings. Few Tour Operators offer us this kind of adventure.

So yes the road ahead is not always as fun, but the way is.

Today, everybody enjoy a good weather with sun and no wind, Serge specialy.

We continue our journey through the long US 36, in few more days and we’ll be in St Joseph, then we turn to the north and Nebraska.

Meanwhile we stay tonight in Brookfield, and for sure we are going to sleep well.

D69: Hannibal – Lentner

D69: Hannibal – Lentner

72,34km – 10H38′

Departure this morning from Mark Twain Avenue. It was here that lived bestselling author, best known for writing the adventures of the famous character of American fiction Tom Sawyer. Born in Florida, it then came to study in Hannibal.

The first five kilometers in Hannibal take place in different areas of the city. Many birds, usually cardinals, their home in the trees of the gardens, and seem to have a lot to say!

Shortly after we commit to the US 36 road we will follow throughout Missouri. For now it’s a 2×2.

At kilometer 15, two police cars stop in few minutes to ask if everything is okay.

The wind is even stronger than yesterday. The supplies are difficult to do because this huge wind. Serge reduce his speed at 6km/H, he can’t fight.

The only ones to really enjoy the weather are the eagles. These are the first that we see since our arrival in the United States. To be exact it is not golden eagles, but bald eagles, race eagle feeding exclusively on fish (and Mississippi is not far away …). This species has long been threatened before the United States will take measures banning some products making it vulnerable. Note that this is a symbol of this country, appearing often with the national flag, but also the seal of the President, where even the logos of Air Force One and NSA.

The day is very difficult and Serge shown great self-sacrifice. We share very little with him during support, but it does not necessarily appear exhausted.He has reduced his pace and does not try to fight against the wind. Today is a day that will be long, he knows that very well and take patience.

Philippe joins him to run on the last 17 kilometers. Serge stops very tired, but it will be particularly talkative during the diner. He managed to fulfill the objectives that it set at the beginning of the day, and positive every kilometer, do not lament about conditions race and keep moving.

D68: Belleview – Hannibal

D68: Belleview – Hannibal

72,26km – 10h47′

Difficult day with intestinal problems  because of a cold on stomach. The longest day with 10H47′ but Serge doesn’t to run less. Having a goal each day give him power to keep moving and he never wants to give up… He can’t eat as usual during this stage that he stopped just after Hannibal bridge and entering in Missouri.

D67: Chautauqua – Belleview

D67: Chautauqua – Belleview

72,06km – 10H26′

Oversleep this morning. One day or another, it should be happen.

The start has been delayed by 1 hour and Serge began at 8:20 am.

Today It’s gray, not really cold and windy but it rains all day long. Serge always said he preferred the rain rather than a headwind”, then he assumes. Perhaps because of the stress of this bad day, he has a small hypoglycemia period at the beginning of the stage. The same symptoms than in Florida when it was so hot: No legs anymore, excessive sweating. In this case, he drinks Coke and feels better after.

We continue our journey along the Mississippi. The limestone cliffs along our path closely resemble those of the Seine estuary. It’s like being at home.

After a very slow departure: 3H30 for 20 km, Serge finished in a good time. The support crew tell about the day:”drenched and frozen all the day” Theforecast for our area is  better tomorrow. Tomorrow is also our last day in Illinois. We will cross in the final kilometers of the day the bridge allowing access to the state of Missouri!

D66: Junction Rose Rd / Rd 4 – Chautaqua

D66: Junction Rose Rd / Rd 4 – Chautaqua

72,25km – 10h04′

Tom Denniss, Australian record holder of this world tour since 2013, whose rules are set by “The worldrunnerassociation” is following us since Serge’s departure and regularly sends news. Serge followed in his footsteps on some Spanish stages since then, he meets sometimes the path followed by Tom. It was again the case today when Tom, came from the north to St. Louis, stopped in Edwardsville in 2012, where he had seen the opening of the London Olympic Games.

A few years after Serge crosses Road 157 at the south of Edwardsville. Road which was the Road 66 first transcontinental paved road from the USA built from Chicago to Los Angeles, only a few vestiges remain, replaced by Highway and Interstates … The first trans-continentale footrace took place in 1928 on this Road 66…

Serge will follow a cycle trail the most of the day, enjoying the calm and flat, without slopes and reached at the end of his stage: Alton and the bank of the Mississippi River. He is going to follow up this River until Thursday night before crossing it in Hannibal for the third time. Bridge he knows well, having already crossed it, in 1997 and 2011, during 2 crossings of the USA he has done. In 1993, the bridge was closed because of flooding and the LA-NY Footrace had to take another route. It should be Ok now, the bridge is huge now.

D65: Centralia – Junction Rose Rd / Road 4

D65: Centralia – Junction Rose Rd / Road 4

71.75 km – 10:10 ‘

Top starting at 7:30 this morning. Blue skies and wind are always waiting for you, as for several days now. This combo sun / wind is also very treacherous, and Serge took sacred sunburn on the calves yesterday.

We begin our stage in the heart of Centralia. Soon we leave the city to be in countryside. Unlike Tennessee or Kentucky, here the rural areas are almost exclusively reserved for agriculture. Nothing is left to chance and every piece of land is cultivated. We advance through huge fields bordered by roads all perpendicular to each other.

Centralia and Carlyle will be the only two cities that will cross today.

Philip puts his short on to run with Serge for the next 25 kilometers.

The presence of The Ouchs allows us to René and me blowing, and benefit from additional support. Since the departure of Laure and all the constraints involved, this is not denial.

Serge will take advantage of these very quiet country roads to alternate his side of running. Because there is no traffic on this very minor road, Serge can run once on left side as usal and once on right side to change of sloping profile. Serge has a fragile right ankle and he can avoid pain today.

Serge ends on a long straight as he loves, and stops his tracker not so far of Troy where we sleep tonight.

I talked yesterday of the Mississippi River, Tomorrow we will be along this mythic river at the end of the stage.Serge also cross an old friend during the next day: Route 66.

D64: McLeansboro – Centralia

D64: McLeansboro – Centralia

72,23km – 10H07′

This morning René, Laura and I head towards St. Louis, while Philippe and Emmanuelle ensure Serge’s support until noon.

What a pleasure to find a little civilization! The buildings! Sidewalks! Store other than gas station or fast food! Hardly returned to St. Louis we already see four joggers in the same street as we had seen one since Atlanta …

It is true that this foray into city territory yet opened me eyes to the gap between the countryside and the big cities of the country. It seems clear that some rural areas are completely left to their own.

We change car near the airport, then let Laure who must take flight in the afternoon.

After 150 kilometers to go back, we find Emmanuelle and Philippe (aka the “Ouchs”) who have successfully passed their baptism of crew.

The Ouchs arrived last night go back to the hotel to take a rest because of the jet lag, they are a little bit tired.

The stage ends around 18h, Serge has had “the wind in the back while three-quarters of the day”, which has enabled him  not to suffer too much.

Tomorrow we will continue towards Saint-Louis, and get closer to a well-known river: the Mississippi. Good night.

D63: Ohio River Bridge – McLeansboro

D63: Ohio River Bridge – McLeansboro

72,2km – 10H31′

This morning Serge watches the weather before leaving. A lot of headwind for today with 40 miles/hour speed. According to him “today will be a diificult stage”.

After few humdred meters, Serge cross the Ohio River and the entrance in Illinois. The fifth State reaches in this North America crossing.

Laura and René pass and we expect the other side of the bridge with vehicles. I accompany Serge walk to take some pictures. The crossing is dizzying and for good reason: Ohio is a wide river of almost 800 meters! It is also a tributary of the Mississippi, one of the largest rivers in the world, we shall have to cross later.

For several days the wind blows. Positive: the clouds were swept from heaven, negative: the wind is particularly cold. The US center is known to be a succession of great plains where the northern and southern winds blow at all costs.

Another negative point: Serge fights against the headwind, forcing him to bend forward to move forward. This does not help her back pain.

We continue our journey through Illinois, called here the “Land of Lincoln.” Indeed Lincoln was Illinois senator before becoming president of the United States. This is also the case … Barack Obama.

René and I go to the hotel in the early afternoon to prepare for the change of vehicle to be held tomorrow. Laure takes over and ensures the end of the last step before returning to France tomorrow. She will return only at Anchorage late August.

Tonight we are very happy to be at the hotel Philippe and Emmanuelle, arrived by plane earlier in the day. They support Serge tomorrow morning while René and I will go to St. Louis to change our car and continue the adventure with us for a good ten days. See you tomorrow.

D62: Beulah – Jct US56/647

D62: Beulah – Jct US56/647

72km – 10H13′

Starting a little earlier than usual this morning, because we needed almost 30 minutes to reach our starting point. We cross a very beautiful landscape today, sunny day but a very cold wind from north- west. The morning setting is beautiful, and we take full advantage.

Serge has very bad shoulders since Tenessee, but we make make the choice to follow minor roads with no lot of traffic and enjoy the countryside.

When it rains hard as was the case yesterday, Serge puts on his raincoat over his backpack to protect it of rain. But the result is a traction on Serge’s back and he has muscular pain on his back.

The day continues and the sun beats down. We cross Providence mining town where buried a time capsule in September 1990. Nothing says that it contains, but in the plate will remain buried until 2040.

Since we entered Kentucky, we find the people very friendly and serene. Yet it was our surprise to learn that all the US states, Kentucky is the most armed. With an average of 136 guns per 100 people!  But Kentucky people are very pleasant, smily and friendly more than in Tennessee.

I realize that I haven’t yet mentioned one of the emblematic figures of Kentucky State, and even the “Colonel” Sanders.

You already have almost all seen is the character that appears on all fronts of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The story of this man, who despite having had a difficult life will end with perseverance to be at the head of one of the biggest commercial successes of the country, is a real “success story” as the Americans love it.

I will not transcribe his Wikipedia page, but for those interested I suggest you to have a look.

Mid afternoon Laure support Serge and René and I go to the motel, take time for us.

Once back from the end of the stage she will tell “as fields, as cows, that firm, as silos and it was cold at the end.”

It is true that time has significantly refreshed tonight.

Serge stopped at the bridge to cross the Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois. It is a new state that we start after the first kilometer, tomorrow.

D61: Pembroke – Beulah

D61: Pembroke – Beulah

72,2km – 10H24

The thunder rumbled all night, and it is on a wet floor Serge began his step. The wind is still strong, which will surely take time to evolve during the day. We first cross Hopkinsville at the 11th kilometer. This is where established Fort Campbell, local pride created in 1841 and with over 40 000 conscripts. This place is reputed to have within it the 101st Airborne Division of the United States, which was especially notable on the Normandy coast during the 2nd World War. Yesterday we wondered why the name of so many localities in Kentucky ended with “city”. Well it’s a bookseller who got the answer, explaining that the French had provided valuable assistance to the Americans in 1778, helping them keep their proclaimed independence vis-à-vis the British. Hence vis-à-vis benevolence of our country that is felt throughout the city names.
This state seems no less rural than Tennessee, but however much oriented industries. Many mills and silos furnish industrial parks met this morning.
By early afternoon, when the weather was turning instead to thinning is suddenly the exact opposite occurs and a violent storm descends on us. Faced with so much rain and wind, everyone stays safe in the car for about ten minutes. The storm goes as quickly as it came, and Serge can leave.
It changes held at the next refueling, to finish the stage dry. He would also like to board the cream of places which may become hot.
We find civilization and the sun a few kilometers before the end of the stage, passing in Dawson Springs, ancient spa town with its flourished in time thanks to a water source located nearby.
Tomorrow we get closer dangerously of Illinois. Will not happen? What is certain is that Serge continues imperturbably his way, and the next states had better watch out.