Greg & Fran Bike Across America travel blog

The happy couple,Ginny and Chris

straight from the fields to your tank

love the old round barns

old praire cabin

The 16th president,Abraham Lincoln

The White House at the Lincoln Museum

Lincoln's tomb

The Budweiser brewery -great tour

Gotta love the good old days

This is for you John Scott

The Clydesdales horses-big old boys

The horse stables,life is good for these horses

name says it all

Statue of a fox on the packaging building that was a marketing...

Brett and Sharon after lunch

The Hunter family

They Byrnes family

The Branom family

The Tackitt family

The Faeth family

Jake-he's a happyt boy

Every Illinois home comes with a tractor -port

God Bless America-land of the free

Taking a siesta outside of Vandalia, Illinois

Greg's turn for the siesta

Modeling our new riding clothes

The early-morning gnat swarms - m-m-m good [if you don't shut your...

Wheat fields-what your bread looks like in a rougher state

Tornado-the latest neighborhood renovator

Jack at dinner time [losing his winter coat-Fran thinks he's adorable]

A covered bridge built by Gary McClellan on his property just because...

And here's the actual covered bridge

Every bridge should lead to a cabin, also built by Gary

Gary and Maria McClellan at their home

Hi all!

When we last left you, Batman was strapped to a smoking cannon and the fuse was getting shorter...Oops wrong story.

We had rented a van to travel around Illinois and see Greg's family. Thursday found us in St. Jacob, Illinois to visit the Byrnes families {Greg's family}

just east of St. Louis. Just a one night layover and then left toward Elgin, Ill. {just outside of Chicago} to attend our niece's wedding. We camped

with David & Debra Hunter and their four children, Jessica, Nicole, Amanda, and Oliver. They just returned from a one year sabatical in Jamica. We had

an actual Jamaican dinner that evening with them. Was excellent. Was a major wind and thunder storm-tornado watch too. Awesome to watch from inside

their trailer. Our tent still stands. Saturday was the wedding of Greg's oldest brother's daughter, Ginny to Chris Biard (sp?). Was outside overlooking

a beautiful pond and spectacular sunset. Had never seen the pouring-of-the-sand together before during the ceremony-very neat. Also, right after the

bridal party came in, they did the cake cutting and toasting right away. As a surprise to Ginny, her brother, George sang her a special song called

Forever My Darling by Johnny Ace. Needless to say, there were many tears. George is lead singer of Catfish Haven ( OR see their

videos on Youtube -shameless plug for the group). The DJ was great and people danced all night long.

Sunday got up late, got David & Debra off to go home to Macomb and we went to see Greg's nephew, Alan White at his 30th b-day party at a park. Great

to see his wife Denise, Elise and Hunter. Then left to head south, so we went west to Macomb instead [because we could].

Monday got to David and Debra's home and went to see the girls softball game, dinner at the house, and Greg learned how to play Linerider [quite an

addicting kids game on the internet] that Oliver showed him. Left on Tuesday for Springfield, made arrangements for staying with relatives the next evening and camped that night. [Yes, we are still keeping a tally as to the number of motel nights versus camping nights]. On Wednesday we went to the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum and then to Lincoln's Tomb. We can't say enough about how interesting and educational the 'whole' experience was. It was

amazing what he had to deal with; both before taking office, and even more so after becoming President. We spent about 4 hours in awe.

We also had contacted Brett, whom we had met the previous week on the Katy Trail and

were going to go out for lunch the next day. We did the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

the next day which was amazing. The whole story and process of making their beer was very interesting first of all. Fact-did you know that one of the final processes consists

of these hu-u-g-e holding tanks that contain 3600 barrels of beer? Now that's a lot of

beer in itself and we don't remember how many bottles that comes to, but it's phenomenal.

Not only that- there are 'many' of these tanks [don't remember the number of those either, but there were many. The purpose of this process is called beech-wood aging and

is the last process before straining and bottling the beer. When the tour was over,

Brett met us with Sharon, one of his employees and we went to lunch at a really fine

Mexican restaurant. Brett also outfitted us with Michelob-Ultra riding gear. We now

ride with pride and have had numerous compliments regarding our clothing. Thank you again, Brett, not only for lunch and the gear, but a wonderful memory of that day on the

Katy Trail. Good luck with the house building.

Went to Highland, Illinois and family got together before the reunion. We helped bake

pies the night before, licked beaters, ate cream puffs galore, had a few 'spirits', and

then the grand finale was watching The Seven Faces Of Dr. Lau. This is a very, very old

movie that Greg and all cousins used to watch on TV when they got together. It seems

that out of the couple of TV stations they could get, this show was always on. We all

agreed it was pretty corny, but way back then......oh well, you get the picture. There

were lots of laughs and 'spirits'.

The reunion day was perfect-good turnout, good weather, and lots and lots of food. Had fun sharing stories, took pictures and had a bonfire that evening. The dog, Jake belongs

to Janet who is in the Byrnes family picture. This dog is so well trained, he barks and

instantly gets a treat. Isn't he cute and happy?

Monday, June 11th back on the road again leaving Highland heading east on 40. This was a perfect summer day and we saw this shade by the side of the road; big trees, beautiful

wild flowers and some grass that was calling us for a short snooze. We both know that when we go back to work later this year, if all heck breaks loose, we can close our eyes and think back to that day, take a deep breath in and remember that peace that enveloped us at that partcular time in our lives. {Greg is rolling his eyes again- Fran gets

sappy about these things} Camped that night in Brownsville at Okaw Valley Campground (used to be a KOA). The frogs were really loud on the lake that night. Woke up listening to some doves, a killdeer, one woodpecker [which was one too many] and numerous other birds singing.

Left for Neoga, Illinois to meet with Greg's friend whom he hadn't seen in 35 years. It

was wonderful to meet Maria McClellan and her husband, Gary. They have built their home

together and it has become quite a showpiece in our eyes. Notice the covered bridge and

cabin. People always stop to take pictures. Everyone also waves and knows everyone there. Please note Jack, their donkey. They also have a dog, Fitz who claims the front

passenger seat of whatever vehicle Gary drives. Maria took us around to try and see

some of her siblings who lived in the area. You see, they had 13 kids in their family and the Hunters had 8. Fran has heard these stories for years about them all

getting together and you can only imagine. Greg remembers them riding down this big

hill on a bike that had no tires. It's all they had and they had a great time doing it.

Their families got together a lot to do gardening, canning and many chores. The deal was

they had to do these things first and then could play. With that many kids, things got

done quickly. At least in their eyes quickly- the parents could tell you a story or two.

There are many other stories and now Fran has seen with her own eyes the country and met

some of the family and it was wonderful. The other point Fran makes about all of this, you can never have enough bikes in your garage, right Greg?

We are now in Casey, Illinoi and will make it to Indiana tomorrow on Friday. We had really gotten behind in all of this journaling but the time spent with family and friends was priceless and took precedence. Sorry, we know some of you worry thinking we

had fallen off the end of the earth, but we are truely enjoying life. Gotta go- the

Dairy Queen just happens to be next door and it is calling Fran. Thank you again for all of your e-mails and welcome newcomers. Love hearing from you. Greg & Fran

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