Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flora, Illinois

It was surprisingly warm and muggy in the tent. I have no doubt that is in part due to the greater humidity coming from the lake 100 feet away from us and also the combined body heat of the two of us. It was warm enough that I could have slept without my sleeping bag. I was uncomfortably damp. I remember some sprinkles coming down on the tent cover overhead, either from the sky or dropping from the sparse canopy above. It was gentle.

I can't seem to sleep all night when I go camping. Tom was rustling around rather frequently and I was restless too. At one point, Tom was scratching in his sleep (probably his feet, he has some eczema that he scratches before bedtime), but he stopped after I simply said "Tom." Sleep was off and on all night and it wasn't good quality rest like when we stayed in homes, but it was what it was.

I woke up around 5am (on purpose; I had set my alarm) and went outside to pack, glad to be awake. It was cool and dark (not like night, though. Like the first light of dawn), but less damp outside the tent. In my sleepiness, I decided that my first priority lie in rearranging all the belongings I had because I stored the tent at the bottom of my bag and had to take everything out just to remove the tent. After contemplating the organization of my stuff, I rode my bicycle over to the camp's bathrooms because they were way too "far" to walk to. I completed my morning routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth and rode back to camp. On the ride back, I passed Carol's camper and noticed some signs of life coming from within, hearing the television and rustling inside. Carol was to provide us with breakfast, God bless her.

Tom woke up not long after I returned and emerged from the tent. We were on a mission to leave the grounds by about 7:30am since the campsite was so far from Carlyle's downtown and because we had to inflate our tires. I noticed my tires were looking flat (still with air, but certainly not the nice, round shape that is appropriate) the day before, but just continued, perhaps foolishly, for time's sake. That said, we had planned to start our day by inflating our tires at a nearby gas station.

We packed the tent and prepped our bikes and rode to breakfast. Carol brought out some cereal and apples and bananas at 7:00am and we chatted and enjoyed the morning. We were visited by a cardinal and two other birds who made their home under the pull-out leaf of Carol's camper. I had Cheerios and my apple and saved my banana for later.

And once again we were underway. The ride out of the park went very fast. I had plenty of energy and I felt like I knew what to expect. When we hit the first main road towards Carlyle we were slowed down by a headwind from the south, but at least the sun was out and covered the land with a golden glow. We passed up Wal-Mart (once again for time's sake) because I figured I could just use Tom's toothpaste, but stopped at the gas station as planned, filled the tires, and I went inside and happily found a small tube of toothpaste to purchase.

To be continued...