I awoke around 7:30 a.m. and stopped into the Cup and Cork for a quick coffee.
Later, I drove to the local library to blog; then, I returned back to Main Street to Socials Cafe.
I devoured a ginormous salad, an angel food cupcake, and a chai.
Next stop: cross bridge and meander along southern Illinois.
I crossed 146, took the Great River Road (route 3) north, jumped back on 146, then joined 127.
I ended up in what is called the Shawnee Hills region of Illinois.
Rural and gorgeous: Kellison was right to direct me here.
It was a cool overcast day.
How I ended up driving 95 miles on my "off day" is easy to explain.
Empty, rural, winding, picturesque roads beckoned.
It's like diving into a swimming pool: submerging yourself into a valley and emerging out of it.
Over and over again.
Grabbing the clutch and letting go of the throttle, I gave into the motorcycle free fall.
At times, the speedometer read up to 40-mph -- other times 60-mph.
Then, I saw signs for wineries.
Made perfect sense.
Valleys and vineyards go hand in hand.
I stopped at three different vineyards (there were many more).
While I wanted to sample and try all the varietals offered, I could not.
Motorcycle riding and wine drinking?
Instead, I took pictures of the beautiful vineyards which were open to the public. I wandered around with no supervision.
That's how it is in southern Illinois.
I arrived back to my temporary home close to 5 p.m.
The day escaped at a much faster rate than I had anticipated.
When I arrived back, "A" wanted to take to Minglewood Brewery.
Beer brewed locally?
I ordered a $9 flight.
Abbey Ale, English Pale Ale, Irish Stout, Kolsch, and Spring Saison.
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this -- even over a five-hour period.
Did I mention how huge the portions are around here?
I asked the owner if I could take pictures of where the work happens; he agreed.
I thought about how easy it is to romanticize wine and beer-making.
I know better.
Just look closely into the eyes and face of an owner/operator; the wear and tear of toil is evident.
We closed the evening just before midnight.
I was supposed to leave for Sainte Genevieve in the morning.
Instead, I was encouraged to stay another day (for free) and relax a bit more.
The old me would have said, no.
Instead, I said, yes.
I opted for an extra day to blog, do some laundry, and have a chill Saturday.
Plus, I was encouraged to have breakfast at the Hickory House in Jackson, Missouri.
Feeling fortunate, I cuddled closely with my pillows knowing I had another night in a quiet, comfortable bed.
Until we meet again, my friend.