12/10/09, C`hester, IL - It was cold enough this morning (about 10 deg.) for both of us to don our Carhart outer clothing. I had the two Belgians hitched and they were invigorated by the cold air, making the twenty miles to Chester by 3:00 PM.
All day long, we were passed by an endless parade of truck traffic, most of them hauling coal from the local mines. Without exception, they were all very considerate of the horses and gave us plenty of room when they passed. We must have been the hot topic for the local CB traffic. I tried to reciprocate, and did what I could to not delay them. If I had traffic behind me and we were approaching a curve or the crest of a hill, I trotted the team, so the truckers wouldn’t be delayed too much on their scheduled runs.
The sun was shining and the day warmed up to at least 25 degrees by the afternoon. I brushed aside the temptation to break out the Hawaiian shirt and kept my Carharts on.
Just as we were coming into Chester, I met a guy, Dave, who said his next door neighbor was an old horse farmer. The neighbor just had a knee replacement, so he wasn’t moving around much. He did agree to let us camp out back.
The horses are settled in on a large piece of the hayfield, enjoying the grass. Dave was kind enough to lend me his car to run errands. Denise and I used it to recon our route for tomorrow morning and stop off at Walmart for a few things.
In my trip across Southern Illinois, I asked about 10 people if I could camp at their place. Without exception, they all agreed. If that’s any measure, this is one of the friendliest places I’ve traveled.
Tomorrow, we’ll make our way through town, cross the Mississippi River and the flood plains beyond, then climb the bluffs beyond the flood plains. Fortunately, the bridge and approaches is only about 3/4 of a mile long, so I shouldn’t hold up travel for too long.