May 31 The Scorcher Through Three States

Today the Illini 4000 left Pittsburgh and embarked on their longest journey yet, over 90 miles and across the three different states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and on into Cadiz, Ohio.

The departure of Pennsylvania was bittersweet. Everyone was excited to get out of the mountains, but at the same time the views and landscapes that took out breath away were hard to let go of. We entered West Virginia and knew it by the look of the towns. They looked like the home of hard working blue collar Americans. They were all proud of it and one vehicle had a “Wife of a Coal Miner, And PROUD of It” bumper sticker. However the hills kept coming and even when we passed into Ohio it wasn’t much of a relief. Most were under the impression that Ohio was the beginning of the plains but apparently not until we get towards Columbus in two days. Believe me, we will welcome the flat land. At least for a little.

Today was the hottest day of the trip yet. Well over 90 degrees with humidity off the charts. Because of this many groups had to make frequent stops to refill their precious water supply. We rode a lot on trails which made for an easier ride than normal but for a large portion of one of them, it was completely covered in rocks. This made for an interesting but extremely bumpy ride. However, we all agreed that it was better than the alternative of riding on busy, winding, and hilly streets.

As daylight waned, the groups began to pull into the stayover at Scott Memorial Methodist Church in Cadiz, OH. Everyone was so exhausted that in no time after dinner the lights were out and everyone was happily dreaming about food and beds and showers.

63 miles to Zanesville, OH tomorrow! See you soon Illinois!

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