Blogging from the backseat

So I’m sitting in the backseat of the SAG vehicle writing today’s blog.  Now that could be a bad thing, but in this case it’s a great thing.  Yesterday when I realized we were going to be only an hour south of Chicago the wheels started turning.  I have good friends, Mike and Julie Wade who live in Chicago…Mike has great season tickets to Wrigley Field…the Cubs are home.  Matt and Brenda were immediately supportive of my idea and Mike and Julie were able to get a babysitter and still had the tickets available.  So after a 98.6 mile ride to Hebron, IN and a quick shower the three of us are on our way to Chicago for dinner with Mike and Julie and then we’ll all go to the Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  I love it when all the pieces fall in place!

We knew we had a lot to pack into today so we got up early and were on the road at 6:30a.  When we left there was a beautiful sunrise with the sun rising behind great big puffy clouds…it looked spectacular!

We road to the Illinois-Michigan Canal Trail in hopes we could ride it.  The path was hard packed crushed rock so we could have ridden it, but there were roads next to it that would allow us to go about 5 mph faster.  With the full day we had planned we thought we better stay on the roads and save the time.  We rode about 10 miles to Marseilles, IL which is home of the Middle East Conflict Memorial.  It has a wall much like the Vietnam Memorial in Wash DC with the names of all the soldiers killed etched on tablets.  It was very moving to be there especially for Matt who found the name of a co-workers son.

We then found a wonderful little country road (Old Stage Road) that ran along the river all the way to Morris, IL our planned meeting stop with Brenda 26 miles into our ride.  While we were riding, Brenda had driven to Morris and was jogging on the Canal Trail.  We all met at the Morris Bakery for coffee and pastries.  Upon leaving Morris we immediately encountered Road Closed Ahead signs.  We decided to take a gamble and rode on ahead.  A couple of miles down the road we found a bridge closed and under construction.  Fortunately the workers were nice enough to let Matt and I walk through the construction and save a 5 mile reroute.

Riding through Illinois has been great as the roads are good, little climbing and good weather.  It didn’t even bother us when I got a flat, our first in 28 days!  We also encountered one more road closure that caused us to add 2 miles of riding, but the road was flat so it was no big deal.  We arrived in Peotone, IL 68 miles into our ride at 11:30a. Brenda had found a local lunch spot for us.  Leave it to someone named Kuckuck to pick a German restaurant (Chef Klaus’ Peotone Bier Stube) for lunch.  My Dad would have loved it as there must have been 100 guns and tons of signs from WWII in the restaurant.  We all enjoyed a good hearty German meal of Gulash and Schnitzel and fought the urge to order a beer since we still had 30 miles to ride.

It took Matt and I a few miles to get going after lunch with the food sitting in our stomachs.  After 15 miles we crossed into Indiana (our 9th state) but since we were on a back country road there was no welcome to Indiana sign.  Hopefully we’ll see one on our way back from Chicago tonight and can get a picture.  Indiana is the completion of our “I” state tour as we ridden across Idaho, Iowa, Illinois and now Indiana.  One quick observation of the first 15 miles we rode in Indianan is that they have not put money into road upkeep.  Hopefully that will change tomorrow!

The next few days are going to be a ton of fun as we kick it off with the Cubs game tonight and then we meet some of our Danville friends at Winona Lake, IN.  Our good friends, Brad and Lisa Blackwell own a lake house there (it’s where Lisa grew up) and we’re going to have a three-day party.  Since we just came from RAGBRAI Matt and I should do just fine!  Here’s a few photos from today and I’ll try to post one later tonight from the Cubs game.

Matt looking at the Middle East Conflict memorial

Old Stage Road along the river.  It was a real nice ride!

More Yard Art…

Walking through the construction

Enjoying our second breakfast at Morris Bakery

The Illinois-Michigan Canal Trail.  Great for walking, jogging and mountain bikes not quite as good for road bikes.

The long straight roads of Illinois

The German restaurant Brenda found in Peotone, IL

A small sampling of all the items in the restaurant

Way better than a garbage truck.  This may be my best photo for my nephew’s on the whole trip.  It’s a giant Space Boy taller than the house behind him holding a rocket.  On top of that we were on historic route 66 which was in Cars there favorite movie!

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