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  • Writer's pictureAlana

59. Chester to Devil's Kitchen Lake, IL

Updated: Jun 24

June 11, 2024

Today the best niece in the world, Taylor DeLisle, drove seven hours roundtrip with a minivan full of kids to meet us in Carbondale, IL. We commandeered a sandwich shop in this college town for about three hours while the kids ran around and I luxuriated in family, air conditioning, and bottomless Dr. Pepper refills.

Seeing my sweet niece and her crew gave me pangs of sadness and guilt. Given the realities of climate, terrain, and my body, I will likely be gone on this trip a full year. While I'm gone, people I love will get married, have kids, celebrate birthdays, and grow up without my participation. The world continues to turn as I pedal around it.

Full of these feelings, I made my way to our night's lodging: a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service campground, replete with showers, my new favorite invention. Unfortunately, our neighbors seemed to be a bit methy, loudly and quickly talking to each other all night through toothless mouths. The woman had an ankle bracelet o the variety provided by the constabulary. It was a bit unsettling.

Perhaps that's why I didn't intervene when, once again, at 3 am, I heard a stirring outside my tent. Something was pilfering through our food bag, which was allegedly smell-proof and contained our breakfast and my toiletries.

In the morning, I discovered that some animal, likely a raccoon, with its freakishly primate paws, had carefully unzipped the bag, eaten the tortillas, and then raided my supply of progesterone. She or he or they (I don't know its pronouns) then ate some 50 pills and slobbered on the rest.

And so somewhere out there, a suspiciously mellow raccoon will be sleeping this binge off for days.

Distance: 61.41 miles

Total: 2,742 miles

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Oh my!!!!!!! One of my favorite reports yet!!! I was laughing and also a bit worried, for both you and the raccoon. Sending you so much love, and more hot showers and QUIET methless rest in your future! Iris

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