And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been.
Seein’ things that I may never see again… Willie Nelson
After our wonderful week at RAGBRAI it was time for Matt and I to get back to riding across America and exploring the towns along our route. While we had an incredible time at RAGBRAI it was also nice to get back to the two of us pedaling our way across America. Brenda also had to making the conversion from cyclist to SAG driver today. We had 93 miles in front of us so we wanted to leave early, but not too early. We rolled out of Fulton at 7:30a and immediately thought we were still in Iowa with the continued corn and soybean fields. Brenda had a job of taking a detour of going to Dixon, Il that had a wonderful bakery but was out of our way. So while Matt and I pedaled east and south Brenda went a little north and picked up 3 delicious looking pieces of cake for dessert tonight (she was sure to go for a jog so she could enjoy the cake guilt free).
So our initial observation of Illinois is that it’s similar to Iowa but a little better for cycling. First there’s no pig farms so you don’t have that odor to contend with. Next, at least the section we’re in is flatter than Iowa. Just to clarify, we LOVED RAGBRAI, but now that we’re cycling alone the changes were nice. We crossed highway 88 and saw a sign for Chicago. It suddenly hit us how far we’ve come when we saw the Chicago sign. We had planned to stop in Amboy, IL (50 miles into our ride) for lunch but ended up with something much better. Brenda had found an old-fashioned soda fountain and we decided a milkshake and malt would be good fuel for us. We also found an old locomotive where I was able to take a picture to send to my nephews which got their approval. While they still like the garbage trucks, a good picture of a train engine seems to also do the job!
We then pushed another 15 miles on to Mendota, IL for lunch. Upon entering Mendota I was relived that we had found another World’s Best or World’s Capital! Mendota claims to be the “World’s Greatest Little City”. I’m really starting to think that there needs to be some approval process on all these World’s Best/Capital titles. But until there is I going to proclaim that Chris & Matt are the “World’s Best Cross Country Cyclists”. What the heck, for that matter my house in Danville is the “World’s Capital of Ebleskiver”. Just try to dispute it…
I also have a question for you. We saw these stamps on the road every 20th of a mile. What the heck are the for? I mean 20 of these in one mile for miles and miles is a lot.
We also saw some fun sights along the way which we took a few pictures of that you can see below. We arrived in our destination town of Ottawa, IL around 3:30p. FYI, Ottawa was the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas senate debate. Lincoln lost the senate race to Douglas but then defeated him 2 years later in the presidential race. After showers and catching up with email and work we choose to enjoy a nice bottle of wine and the great deserts Brenda bought in Dixon before heading out to dinner. Since we’re close to Chicago we decided to go out for deep dish pizza. After dinner we walked around downtown on the mural walk (they have these wonderful murals painted on the sides of the buildings and along the riverwalk. It was a nice evening although at 9p it was still 90 degrees. Here’s a few photos from today;