Springfield, Illinois to Springfield, Missouri. The odometer on my RoadGlide had read 2176 miles on pick-up in Berwyn, Chicago – at the start of Day 2, it read 2406. By the end of the day, it would read 2736 miles – so Day 2 covered 330 miles.

It was a LONG day – our planned 8.30 am start was brought forward to 8 am (at 7.55!). Illinois is mainly flat, grain country, with the grain growing to within a few feet of the road. Only when we came close to the state boundary with Missouri, north of St Louis, and still on the east side of the river, did we encounter any ups and downs. We rode through Madison County, famous for its covered bridges, though we didn’t cross any, and then across the Mississipi – where we took a break to look at the Chain of Rocks bridge, the first road bridge across the Mississipi on Route 66.

The Chain of Rocks bridge, crossing the Mississipi above St Louis

The Chain of Rocks bridge, crossing the Mississipi above St Louis

(from left) myself, Joe McCaul, Sean Tynan (kneeling), Declan Young and Tom Browne

At the Chain of Rocks bridge: (from left) myself, Joe McCaul, Sean Tynan (kneeling), Declan Young and Tom Browne

We had passed a large group of Dutch people – easily identified by their orange jackets – pedalling furiously on Solexes! For those don’t know, Solexes are those funny black bicycles with a tiny engine mounted over the front wheel that one sees in deepest rural France – obviously, they have a following in Holland too. According to their support team, whom we met at the Chain of Rocks bridge, it will take them a month to get to Santa Monica!

Missouri seemed to be more cattle land – at least, the part we saw.

Due to lots of stops for petrol, coffee, toilets, coffee, more toilets, petrol for those who hadn’t filled earlier, we found ourselves still searching for lunch at 2pm. A Dairy Queen appeared to offer succour, but all they had were burgers -perhaps we should have known – though we did wonder how lunch might have gone if we had taken up the server’s offer of take-out – it’s quite hard enough to control the Harley with two hands and full concentration!

We were joined at lunch by an Illinois State Police officer, Gayle, who rode with us for the day on her Honda Goldwing – with her dog, which sat in a special basket on the pillion seat!

Travelling in style! Illinois State Police officer with her Goldwing and dog

Travelling in style! Gayle, her Goldwing and her dog

So we found ourselves with nearly 200 miles to do before reaching our hotel and it was already 3pm! There followed a high-speed dash, part of it on the Interstate to make up time, on which yours truly bravely overtook semis (artics to you and me) at 80mph, and then had to bow to fate when one of the semis decided he didn’t want to be overtaken – at 85mph, I’d used up whatever confidence I had gained during the day and gracefully gave in!

We got to Springfield MO about 7pm, having ridden the last 30 miles or so with the sun directly in our eyes – something we would learn to avoid.

A long day but a good day – no mishaps and more confidence on the bike!

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