You are viewing the week of 07/29/07 - 08/04/07

Archive Index | Main Page

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Manhattan, Il

Traffic. Traffic traffic traffic. Traffic TRAFFIC tra-ffic tarafaic, Tr-a-f-ic.... Traffic.

Traffic traffic traffic, teeraffic, traffic.

Illinois likes traffic.

Aurora, Il to Manhattan, Il (46ish miles)

We started the day by waking up a bit late and then watching "Monkey Vs. Robot" several times on Youtube. MONKEY PLAY IN THE JUGGLE, ROBOT WORK IN A FACTORY, THEY WILL HAVE A GIANT RUMBLE, MONKEY VER-SUS ROOOOO BOT! etc. They day went a bit downhill from there.

Tim led us to a bike path to take us south. The plan was to go south, east, south, east etc and skirt the suburbs. The plan failed. There are no, let me repeat, NO good roads ANYWHERE NEAR Chicago.

The bike path was the first obstacle as it quickly turned to crushed gravel and then dead ended into a ditch where the bridge was out. We detoured through a golf course (take that!) and rejoined the gravel path, only to almost be run down by a pickup truck going pretty dang fast for a road, much less a one lane bike path. Eventually the path became paved again and we rode it almost into Oswego where we encountered yet another bridge that was out. This one was fairly large and there was no way around it. Upon further investigation we discovered that the bridge was out due to some hooligan LIGHTING IT ON FIRE. Way to go, Chicago.

It didn't matter anyway, because we learned soon after that that was the wrong bridge to take and we should be going south. This didn't surprise us too much since we'd already lost the trail a few other times so we went about another search and found the correct path. It was a nice ride along the river with suicidal Canadian Geese who weren't afraid of bikes. They weren't afraid of hissing at us either.

Eventually it came time for us to leave the trail in Oswego and we had a pretty nice jaunt into the Joliet area just outside of the suburbs. We ate a long lunch at an Aldi's, spoke a bit with nice lady there who was going to call a reporter for us, and went about our way a good while later. From there the trip went down hill.

We took some local directions and they were bad. Very bad. We fought lots and lots of traffic until finally giving up and taking some random bike trail south despite the fact that it was heading slightly west. We stayed on that for awhile until it ended and we hit another random bike trail along a very smelly, purtrid canal. The smell was still better than cars. We stayed on that until it appeared to either end or go due west (it was hard to tell, either way was bad) and took a random rode east that turned out to be Highway 6. Quickly we met up with Highway 52 just south of Joliet which put us back on Tim's original route. Highway 52 sucked. We rode in tons of traffic all the way into Manhattan where we decided we'd had enough and should bed down for the night.

Part of our issues is that our map only has large roads on it. As I type this the rest of the group is searching for small roads and bike routes on the internet. Our goal is to go south and east into the middle areas of Indiana and run from the great lakes as fast as possible. There be dragons there (and lots of cars.)

We're at a library and a nice librarian has agreed to let us use her yard for the night. Yay! Tomorrow we will continue our hectic flee from the city and hopefully will find nicer roads and less people sooner than later.

Posted by Seager {bio} @ 03:32 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Bellevue, IA to Aurora, IL

Bellevue, IA to Lanark, IL

Sunday morning the majority of Team Roadshow woke up in a ditch next to the football fields at Bellevue High School. It was a big ditch with plenty of room to pitch tents, so we were quite comfortable. Our morning went very slowly as we all reluctantly packed up our gear to head our separate ways. We interrupted the sad happenings with a lovely breakfast at a local cafe, where my family left us, then went back to our camp, finished packing, and said goodbye to the Iowa Roadshow bus. The continuing bikers and Roadshow Wisconsin crew stopped at Victoria's family's store for ice cream on the way out and around two o'clock finally hit the road. Our group of three (Karen, MinWah, and myself) that had ridden into Rock Rapids the week before had now grown to a whopping seven (add Seager, back for the long haul, Tim, riding with us until Aurora, IL, and Kaia and Anders, yet undecided as to how far they will travel). We were a biking possy as we rode south towards the nearest bridge to cross the Mississippi. The road was beautiful, hilly, and surrounded by big shady trees. Our ride was generally uneventful except for Kaia getting a flat which serendipitously placed us in the yard of a charming elderly couple who fed us melon and packed us sandwiches for the road. I also had one of my perma-panniers (attached with zipties for lack of a hook) try to jump off my bike on the way down a poorly paved hill, and managed to stay upright until the pannier fell of and I regained controll of my bike. We rolled into Lanark pretty late. Despite our efforts to contact the policeman on duty, we couldn't find him or reach him by phone. We decided that we would head to the park to cook dinner and hopefully we would be able to camp there, too. In the middle of our 3 course meal, (thanks Mommy Welling) the policeman came up to talk to us. He said that it was illegal for us to camp in the park. We asked if there was somewhere we could camp. He said no. Then he reiterated, it was illegal to stay in the park, but he was going off duty in an hour or two, and no one would be on duty until the morning. We thanked him, and he went away. After dinner, we hid our bikes next to a grain silo type building next to the park and settled down underneath the picnic tables in the pavillion. I slept more and better than I had all week during RAGBRAI. The trains rumbling by on the tracks fifty feet away didn't even cause me any problems...though I think they may have for the others.

Lanark to Franklin Grove
I woke up to the sound of a beeping truck. My bike's life flashed before my eyes as I looked over to see an enormous truck backing up into the area where we had hid our bikes the night before. After a moment of panic, though, I saw that our bikes were all safely back next to our picnic tables. Thanks to Seager, Tim and Kaia, our trusty steeds did not get smashed by the grain trucks. We got another late start around eight thirty. We got onto smaller roads to avoid the traffic of the day before and once more had a nice leisurely ride through increasingly tree-covered farmland. At one of our stops to ask about directions, Seager/Santa Clause treated all of us to the biggest freezee pops I have ever seen. Delectable. We stopped for lunch in Oregon, IL, under some shade trees on the edge of a golf course. Once again we reached our destination without any excitement, just good conversation and relaxing riding. We had decided to divide a long day into two short days to get into Aurora, so none of us were terribly tired upon arriving in Franklin Grove. We began to search for a place to camp, and after Karen was turned down by a woman out mowing her lawn we decided to head to the grocery store. As Tim, Kaia, Anders and I were attempting to stock up on our staples (can you believe the grocery store was out of bananas, bagels and cheese?!?), Seager, MinWah and Karen found Lynn across the street at the Lincoln Highway foundation. She lead us to a historical village just outside town. She, her husband, and a few other community members have been working for twenty years on this village, transporting old buildings, landscaping, planting gardens and planning events. They set us up with bottled water, several porches, a gazebo and a log cabin to sleep in, and a campfire ring for evening fun. As the evening wore on, several of us took showers with the hose by a barn that Dave, Charlie and Don were prepping to paint the next day. They explained to us that they were preparing for a festival the next weekend, which meant lots of cleanup/fixup work around the grounds. They happily explained to us that they would have kettle corn, basket weavers, black powder rifle shooters and lots of music. They also offered any vegetables that we wanted out of the garden, which was usually only used for decoration. We scored a bag full of carrots and turnips for dessert after a wonderful dinner of mashed potatoes and mommy Welling soup. Nearing sunset, Karen went to sleep, and sadly missed Charlie's return with half a watermelon. A violent watermelon seed war ensued, and Seager lost to his opponents Ariel, Tim and MinWah. As we all started to drift off, Tim commented that it would either have to be bedtime or firetime. We chose the latter. Hooray for campfires! This is the first campfire we've had since the Oregon coast where we dipped our tires. MinWah and I sang campfire songs, Seager soon went to bed, and Tim fell asleep. It finally was time to crawl into our sleeping bags, so I put the fire out and tried to rouse Tim from his deep sleep. It didn't work. I tried again. He mumbled something. I said "Hey Tim, can you do a zombie walk up to the porch where you are going to sleep tonight?" He mumbled a bit more and then in a terribly adorable sleeping marshmallow monster voice said, "Eat yo face." Then we all went to bed. Yay bed!

Franklin Grove to Aurora
Another late start. I love sleep. We had a lot to catch up on after RAGBRAI. We waved to Charlie, the watermelon man, on the way out of town. After riding about 8 miles out of town, we came upon a truck pulled over on the side of the road. Don, Lynn's husband, jumped out of his truck and handed us all packages of ritz peanut butter sandwiches as well as KAREN'S WALLET! She hadn't yet noticed that it was missing, but we were all very happy that he was able to find us and went through the trouble to do so. Thanks Don! Another pretty short day, we followed Tim through many un-mapped roads out of the cornfields and into the Chicago Suburbs. We had a wonderful welcome to Aurora including Tim's parents, a safe place to store our bikes, brownies, lemonade, a free pool, an air conditioned house, showers, and other general luxury. Thank you Tim's family!

We took a day off to bum around Chicago, but decided to take the train there and back from Aurora. Though Seager and I were not able to visit any of the folks that we had hoped to see, Kaia and Anders did successfully find their friends, and the rest of us enjoyed juggling in parks, trying out 17 pound racing bikes at a Chicago bike shop, eating ice cream and visiting Chinatown. MinWah has been talking about missing Chinatown since Portland. She was very happy to get her Chinese fix in, and the rest of us were tickled by her excitement. We had good food and bubble tea, and got to observe MinWah truly being the finisher. I'm not sure I'd ever seen anyone eat that much in one sitting. Wow.

Tomorrow morning we will once again ride off into the sunrise, leaving our dear Timmy here in Aurora. It has been fantastic riding with him on RAGBRAI and afterwards. Happily, Kaia and Anders have decided to continue on with us for at least awhile more. Come back soon for another exciting update!



Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 08:52 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Folks, RAGBRAI has come and gone. AND, it was awesome. I will do a quick summary of RAGBRAI here for you folks and then Ariel will write about the days that have passed since. It will be so awesometastic that you'll hardly be able to believe that you can still read after our words of excitedness riquochet your brain to smitherines!

More after you click the linky-poo!

Click Here to read more

Posted by Seager {bio} @ 05:05 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!




August 2007


07/29 - 08/04
07/15 - 07/21
07/08 - 07/14
07/01 - 07/07
06/24 - 06/30
06/17 - 06/23
06/10 - 06/16
06/03 - 06/09
04/22 - 04/28
07/23 - 07/29
07/16 - 07/22
07/24 - 07/30
07/17 - 07/23
08/08 - 08/14
07/25 - 07/31
07/18 - 07/24
06/13 - 06/19