Sunday, September 30, 2012

McLean-Springfield, 50 miles

Wednesday, Sept. 26, McLean-Springfield, 50 mi.
towns along the route: Atlanta, Lawndale, Lincoln, Broadwell, Elkhart, Williamsville, 

Paul Bunyon
Clock tower and library

flour mill
four men on bench
Lincoln - phone booth on top of building
Lincoln - Courthouse
Broadwell - Pig-Hip restaurant location
Elkhart - Horsefeathers Antique Store
Inside Antique store in Elkhart
Inside Antique store in Elkhart
Good lunch - half grilled cheese, cup potato soup
Funky garage in Williamsville

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pontiac - McLean

Tuesday, Sept. 25, Pontiac - McLean, 44 mi.
It sprinkled rain off and on while we were eating breakfast, but it was just cloudy and humid when we left the motel shortly before nine. Today I rode with Becky and Maureen. Nice quiet riding. We stopped in Chenoa to see the home of Matthew T. Scott. His wife Julia Green Scott was one of the founders of the Daughters of  the American Revolution. The home was not open. Upon arriving in Lexington we asked a local resident if there was a coffee shop in town. He said there wasn’t. We asked about a good place to eat, and he suggested Kicks Bar & Grill, about ten miles away in Towanda. Said they had good food. We stopped there, and yes, it was good. Maureen had a grilled cheese and tomato soup, Becky had chicken salad sandwich and tomato soup, and I had chicken salad sandwich with potato chips. 

A couple at the next table, Mr. & Mrs. Brown, asked about our trip, and before we knew it they invited us to their home four miles down the road. They had a lovely home on 28 acres, with fruit and nut trees and several acres of soy beans. Mrs. Brown fixed us coffee, and offered to drive us around town (Bloomington/Normal) and point out the sights!

We graciously took her up on her offer. We saw the Illinois State University campus, the David Davis mansion, the State Farm corporate home, the Nestle Candy Factory, and the Beer Nuts Store. 

It was almost 3:30, and we still had 20 miles to go to reach our destination of McLean. Mrs. Brown offered to drive us to McLean, but we said we wanted to ride some more, but that a lift to the other side of town would be appreciated so we could avoid riding through all the busy city traffic. They loaded us up in two vehicles, and drove us to a point on our route so that we only had about 12 miles to go. Mrs.Brown plays the piano and organ, and I asked her if she would play something for us, and she said, “what would you like to hear?” She and Mr. Brown had indicated that they belonged to a Methodist Church, so I asked her if she knew His Eye Is On the Sparrow, and she did!

What a day, and such nice people! I love cycling, and meeting nice people along the way is one of the reasons I do. We didn’t get to the hotel until almost six o’clock, but got in a few minutes of the social hour.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Monday, Sept. 24, Joliet - Pontiac, 67 mi.
towns along the route: Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, and Odell.
     Today I rode with my roommate Becky. It was extremely windy, making it a tough day. In Wilmington we saw stopped at the Launching Pad Drive-In, a roadside cafe operating since the 1960s. The attraction was the Gemini Giant, a 30-foot tall former “muffler man” later transformed into a space traveler.

We looked for the Polka Dot Drive-In in Braidwood, but couldn’t find it.
In Gardner we saw an old two-cell jail, and also a replica of  the Riviera Roadhouse, dating from the 1920s, which burned down several years ago


There wasn’t much going on in Dwight, it was very quiet as many things were closed.
     In Odell we saw a preserved Standard Station, built in the 1930s. We had a nice visit with the woman who was volunteering there.

The last ten miles into Pontiac went really slow. We were both tired of bucking that terrific headwind, only going 8 or 9 miles an hour. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rainy - then sunny - Chicago

Morning started out rainy and VERY cold and windy. My roommate Becky and I walked over to Caribou Coffee and had a light breakfast of coffee and an asiago bagel. A little while later Vicki and Jim joined us as we walked south on Michigan Avenue. We visited a Trek bike store where Vicki bought a computer/odometer for her bike. Jim went back to his room to watch football. The icy wind was too much for me, so I went back to the hotel

Ate a sandwich and read a little. Called my nephew Bill, and when he returned my call we made a plan to go to a Cuban restaurant. His wife Mika came along too. After we ate we walked to Millennium Park. I had never seen it, and was in awe of the photo waterfalls, "the bean", the stage and amphitheater for concerts, also the sculptures and boardwalk. The wind had died down, and the sky was blue.

At tonight's social hour everyone told the group a little about themselves, including "What was your best day on the bike." That was difficult to answer, because there are so many!

Tomorrow morning is supposed to get down to 39 degrees! We will start riding a little after 9:00.

Pictures to follow. I took several today, but am not having luck preparing them for uploading.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rainy Chicago

Arrived in Chicago around 1:30 and got checked into the hotel. Called my nephew Bill and we met for a late lunch. Came back to hotel and rested a bit, then met the bike group for happy hour. At 7:15 we went to Encheque Restaurant for a group dinner, which was included in the tour fee.

A loop ride in Chicago is scheduled for Saturday, but most of the group has decided to pursue other sights if it's still rainy.

No photos to post today. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

4 more days

Had company for the last 5 days. Picked up my bike from the bike shop tonight - all clean, and new tires, too. Now I have time to get in one or two more days of riding.

Nephew Danny is going to drive me in to Chicago on Friday to meet the tour.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 more days

I have done lots of bicycling since 1985, including many week-long organized tours in different states. This year I decided to challenge myself with a longer tour, 22 riding days and 4 rest days.

In 10 days I will be meeting the Bicycle Adventure Club group in Chicago. We will do a loop tour in Chicago on Saturday, then on Sunday our big adventure begins on Route 66!

I have been doing lots of riding this summer to prepare, over 1500 miles, and I'm sure I will be glad I did.

I welcome you to come along with me!