Murphysboro, IL > LBL
The roads were pretty terrible on the way to Goreville. They were old and had been patched over and over so naturally it was not a very smooth ride. The shoulder, if there was one, was falling apart to and in many place the road was just a little narrow. I stopped at the singular gas station in Goreville and got a big slice of pepperoni pizza. Actually I think I got two of them and snarfed them down while I was standing inside out of the hot. Not else happened until I got to a 6,000 person town called Metropolis, right on the Ohio River, the one that forms this part of the border between Illinois and Kentucky. I stopped at another gas station and grabbed a relatively mediocre and over-priced sandwich, chips, and a chocolate milk. I just need fuel and didn't really care too much about what it looked or tasted like. I watched a guy restock the dairy section of the store while I ate and cooled down again.
Paducah, KY was just on the other side of the river and as glad as I was to be off the bridge, I didn't enjoy being there much better. This town seemed really old, tired, and poor. It was the first and maybe only place I had been on my trip that I felt like I might get robbed for my stuff. I kept rehearsing an internal dialog if I got held up at knife point or gun point. Forutnately, that didn't happen and I was relieved to be back in the country side. Eventually I reached the "settlement" of Draffenville and I stopped in the amazingly brand new, very modern McDonalds for dinner. I need something salty after riding through such a hot day. It was definitely night time by now and I had a ways to go before I could stop, another few hours at least.
I was only one day's ride from home at this point and I tried to get some sleep because I had planned on waking up a few hours before sunrise in order to make it to Nashville before my parents got there. The uncomfortable conditions made sleeping tough and getting up wasn't too rough because I had never really fallen into a deep sleep. I thought I heard some rustling in the night and tried to shoo away whatever creature was there. In the morning I discovered that some raccoons had swiped my breakfast foods and I was piiiiiiissed because I was looking forward to it so much.