Nick on the bike 2005: Oregon to Virginia
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Day 47: waiting out Katrina in Carbondale
August 30, 2005, 6:37 PM
Where am I now: Carbondale, Illinois (37.72876N by 89.20595W at 383 ft.)
Today's distance: n/a miles

The clouds are breaking and skies are clearing Tuesday evening in Carbondale, after a day of intermittent heavy rain, and gusty northeast winds.

The only thing I've had to deal with today is a touch of boredom & frustration over an interrupted bicycle tour...the scenes of devastation on CNN, telling of what people are facing along the Gulf coast, are mind boggling.

Carbondale is an automobile-centric town, even if it has 3 bicycle shops going head-to-head on the same block. The bike's not left the motel room today, but I've been pedestriating about. Things are not a very pedestrian-friendly, at least from the standpoint of someone staying in any of the available motels. The city has fallen victim to developers who have built massive malls and "big box" stores about a mile east of the old downtown. The main post office is "out at the mall"; Barnes & Noble is "out at the mall". Downtown is a bit challenged with respect to interesting shopping destinations. Southern Illinois University occupies another node half a mile south of downtown.

The city is bysected east-west and north-south by pairs of three-lane, one-way streets that carry an awful traffic volume. Navigating these beasts as a pedestrian or by bicycle is scarey, it looks like they created the third lane by appropriating on-street parking, so on the bike, the curb is RIGHT THERE, and the drivers are not all that friendly.

On foot, sidewalks are hit and miss. My trek out to Barnes & Noble this afternoon involved picking my way across car dealership parking lots, jumping a ditch or two, and walking endless mall parking lots. There doesn't seem to be a simple grid of useful side streets, at least in this part of town. If you want to get to where the action is, you have to deal with these ugly big roads. Sort of like parachuting into a motel on US29 north in Charlottesville.

It's my first day entirely off the bike since all this started back in July. I've spent much of the day hanging out and reading, in the motel and later at B & N. All the clothes are clean and dry. I've replaced the trail light on the bike, everything's cleaned and lubed. Changed the air in the tires. Time to get on east into bluegrass country.