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Illinois, my most visited state. This is my 5th time in the USA and now 4 of those visits have inclu... Unlike most of the previous days, today and tomorrow I will be battling against the wind. Today I wi... A view from the rest area. It's almost impossible to see but there is a freight train spanning the whole width of this picture,... Smokey the Bear. The Old Cape Road, which I will be using for roughly the middle third of today's ride. I suppose it's a sort of cabin in the woods. The Old Cape Road. A babbling stream next to the road. A farm. For some reason there are paddle wheels churning up these ponds. I've got another flat tyre. At least I know what caused this one. The main road into Jonesboro is uphill and has no shoulder or sidewalk so I'm coming the spooky way ... Apparently Jonesboro was the site of one of the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas ... Jonesboro has another roundabout, which for some reason has a red phone box on it. It looks like there used to be a telephone in there. I wonder what it means to be a National Bank. Every littletown seems to have its own. The town of An... Jonesboro. Jonesboro. Jonesboro. My hotel for tonight is the old school in Anna. It's called the Davie School, named after Winstead D... What an amazing room! It's an entire classroom. I'm at a loss for which chair to sit in first. I've just been chatting to the owner and he told me that the eclipse conditions were perfect here to... Apparently something called Fluffy Rhode has been here too. It's a sausage-shaped animal but NOT a w... The second hotel in a row which has had proper drinking glasses. There's a large selection of coffee pods, including one which looks like it was nicked from McDonald... The landing of the hotel definitely has the feel of an old school. Anna doesn't have anything like the ambience of Cape Girardeau. Looking back towards the school. Brickwork on a bank. According to the sign, the amount of time you get to cross this road is reduced when there is a trai... I decided to go to Hardee's for dinner because it's the closest of the various fast food restaurants... The City Hall is rather dinky, and for some reason it has a drive-through lane. Three days after leaving the Texas-to-Chicago railway line, I have now met up with another passenger... The city park, with the school on the right. A bird. Next to that display of old school desks there is a selection of DVDs and microwave popcorn, which g... How's this for a breakfast. I don't really know whether I will make it to Chicago but I've put it on the blackboard. This road out of Anna is called Lime Kiln Road so I guess that must be a lime quarry. There's a couple of miles of this before I join the main road. Dummies in a barn. Today I have a choice of the old or new alignments of US highway 51. I've chosen the new one because... It's another day of headwind, which is why I'm only going 20 miles. I've looked at two route-planning tools and they both recommended going through that locked gate. I'll stay on the main road instead. It has this wide shoulder which is marked as a bike lane.... The university appears to have its own power station. The display board above the cinema is showing some eclectic upcoming events. In this picture it's ad... The railway station in Carbondale looks more modern, and more open, than any that I've seen so far. ... There's my hotel but it's an hour too early to check in. I do want to go and do some shopping today ... Here's the bike shop which I visited in 2017. Don't worry that it looks closed. I knew it would be. ... That's where the bike shop has moved to.... A bicycle repair station outside a civic building. It looks like a new, bigger railway station is being built. There's a pro-Palestinian protest going on in the park. I could hear it from several blocks away. I spent half an hour here in the intermittent sunshine listening the this week's edition of ... Three days in a row! The promotional pictures of the hotel showed this cosy seating area but didn't show that it was in t... Carbondale is easily the most bike-friendly city I've seen so far on this trip. This big retail park... Here's another shop which looks closed but is in fact open.... I've now done the rest of the shopping that I wanted to do. What I found most amazing is that virtua... Even the hotel has a bike rack.... There's the morning train ready to depart for Chicago. I just heard it honking. I also heard the ove... In 2017, I complained that the bike path through the retail park ended in a difficult junction. The ... An unexpected blockage. The shop at a vineyard. Just some trees near a road junction. Royalton. Most little towns are just a collection of private houses and a few shops with no designated public ... It seems that some of the mines are called "Old Ben". Of course the presence of coal seams... I'm glad I wasn't on the road when that oversize load came past. A frozen custard stand. On my 2007 trip somebody recommended that I should try forzen custard while ... In 2017, I stayed within the roughly 100 km-wide path of the total eclipse all the way from the Paci... I've seen signs saying that it's illegal to pass a stopped school bus from either direction. There m... Tonight's hotel is in a forest of signs. This is where I will be eating: Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Freddy founded the company in 2002 in Kansas but he was already 77 at the time and based it on diner... Apart from the first couple of miles, the rest of the route out of Mount Vernon is on very quiet roa... When I got on the bike this morning, I noticed the gap between the left pedal and the blue bike fram... A tree with a motorbike through it. Old Centralia Lane. It must be quite some time since this was the main road from Mount Vernon to Cen... The most direct route to my destination is the one on the right, called Stone Lane. It's not on Stre... Something has gone wrong but it wasn't what I was expecting. The chain has somehow got itself wedged between the small cog and the bike frame, and also forced it... This could be as far as I come on this trip. I wasn't much looking forward to the next week or so of... When I searched for bike shops in Mount Vernon, there was only one result and it showed as being clo... Okay. It seems that I won't be hiring a car. As far as I can tell this is the only car hire place in... I've now booked the Drury Inn for the next two nights. It's only 700 metres away from the hotel whic... I've had my Steak 'n Shake and I've still got an hour to get to that building across the road. I thi... "Sitting down to enjoy my holiday" I didn't really need my Steak 'n Shake steakburger because this Drury Inn, like the one in Poplar Bl... The sockets are different ways up. Sunset. The buffet last night was exactly the same as the one in Poplar Bluff so I assumed it must be the sa... Here we go with the last proper day's ride of this trip: a short 39 km from Mount Vernon to Centrali... When I first saw that sign on Monday evening I was quite excited by. Evansville was on my 2017 route... I took a different rout out of Mount Vernon this time but I've now about to rejoin this road again: ... Scenery. Old Centralia Lane. Today's ride is extremely plesant. It's sunny but not too hot, this road is very scenic and has almo... I'm surprised more drivers don't use this road to go between Mount Vernon and Centralia. I would. I thought these might be bluebells but having checked online I'm not sure now. Scenery. I didn't expect a full level crossing with lights and gates on a little road like this. The last bit of countryside that I will see from the bike on this trip. Neatly-trimmed lawns in suburban Centralia. An ice cream shop with a lot of seating. I can feintly hear Jerry Rafferty's ... Centralia. There's the Southbound afternoon train heading out of Centralia. It will arrive in Carbondale just a... Railway sidings. Centralia has a very tall bell tower. The small single-storey building is Centralia station. It's unstaffed. The website says that it has ... Centralia. The route to Chigago. The platform is nowhere near as high as the train doors. This wheelchair lift must help in some way ... Centralia. There's a freight train coming through the station. The back of the same train. It took 13 minutes to go past, which means that all the level crossings ... I don't know if you've noticed but I've got a new camera. I bought it on Monday night. I haven't fig... Having looked at some pictures from earlier weeks, I don't think there is anything wrong with the bi... This train is coming through backwards with somebody riding on the front. Centralia. A bank. There's that bell tower. This park is a bit strange. It has a Nike Ajax missile... ... and a couple of fighter jets, like this F-105 Thunderchief. Everything in the car park is either too thick to lock the bike to or too thin to feel secure. This ... The room is large but feels a bit bare. I was surprised to see that hotel rooms in central Chicago c... There are more people waiting for the train than I expected. Boarding seems like quite a leisurely process. The train was stopped for about a minute and the guar... Centralia on Friday morning. I can hear the train horn in the distance and also the sound of bells c... This train had two guards. I spoke to one of them and he said that to board with a bike I should jus... Inside the station. The Amtrak website says that this station is open for 5 hours in the morning, 5 ... The top picture shows Centralia's old station. Apparently there used to be a passenger rail service ... This concrete road section in Centralia is stamped with the shape of Illinois... ... whereas the pavement nearby has this elephant. The southern quarter or so of Illinois is sometimes referred to as Little Egypt. In fact the town at... I'm here a bit earlier than necessary but I'm not the forst person here. Here comes the train.