A day in the ride . . . Illinois to Indiana.

July 11, 2008

I suppose it was time I put something down in this trip log. But what? All the real participants have done such a wonderful job of this that I somehow feel somewhat intimidated at posting anything. However when Alex and I joined ‘Bubsbikeamerica’ for a day in Illinois-Indiana things did come to my mind . . . .

Lets start by saying I am totally in awe of anyone, let alone a family of three generations, actually doing this expedition on two wheel pedal power. I guess a family that bikes together stays together and that sure is the case here. Alex and I joined team ‘Bub’ in Kankakee Illinois. Alex was to ride with the team for a day while I joined Jean in wondering the roads ahead of them in my own car. However as it turned out I was enlisted in driving the ‘Bubmobile’ while Jean took Ian , in my car, to a hospital to have some tests done for an ailment he was then experiencing. Wow!! they trusted me with the ‘Bubmobile’ it was then that I really felt part of the days adventure. That adventure is logged into a small photo gallery called ‘Illinois Indiana Roads‘ .

I now know who the saint is in this whole endeavor and that person is Jean. After messing about with the bubmobile and following the three riders Dan, Peter, and Alex on various back country roads I realized that I could never do this for at least the 4 weeks that Jean had already been doing it. It would drive most people absolutely crazy. Just because you are in an air-conditioned vehicle while the others are pounding the roads in all kinds of weather does not mean you are lolly-gagging. In my case the main concern was the condition of the roads ahead and what might be a stopping point of rest. Country roads take on all shapes and forms and are not necessarily annotated correctly on maps. Because of this we ran into a few evil gravel trails one of which the riders actually covered. However once this was achieved it was decided not to pursue this punishment again. That’s where the ‘Bubmobile’ comes in handy, scouting for the best roads ahead and the shortest distance possible. Part of our adventure was covered by decent maps but once in Indiana the riders were picking the route as they went. Its funny how easy it is to loose your sense of direction in a car when the landscape is wide open and you are trying to follow others on bikes. Somehow I managed without looking ridiculous.

This days ride took a few turns as the riders ran into to a washed out bridge and could not cross the river as planned. After some discussion the route was changed and brought us back together in the very small town of L ‘Erable . We had lunch in the town tavern with the local patrons eyeing us a bit (clothing an all). However the conversations gradually picked up and we felt somewhat comfortable in the end. There was a photo OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         with description of the bridge failure, that happened a few years back, prominately displayed in the tavern for all to see. However this was not annotated on any map we had. I wonder if this little community will ever be able to put that bridge back together. Reminds us that the infrastructure of this country cannot last forever and needs constant maintenance. Who will pay. . .who will pay . . . ?

After ending the day in Rensselaer Ind. (Aprox. 75mi ride) the riders were bushed but all seemed in good spirits. Alex and I had to take leave soon after arriving to get back to Rockford Ill. and Madison WI that night. During the day ride the weather was fairly decent, sun with a little humidity. On our way back however and heading Northerly we ran into very heavy lightening and thunder storms with rain and some hail. This was the most spectacular lightening show I had ever seen. It lasted about 3 hrs. Sheet, ball, vertical, horizontal, and everything in between lightening. At one point there was a brilliant flash with fingers of energy more or less streaking horizontal that looked like a ‘hand’ reaching out towards us. Amazingly the riders missed all of this and I suppose were lucky again. I couldn’t help but think what an amazing adventure to cross the USA on biles. Alexander and I were grateful that we could take a small part in this. Maybe Alex would like to do this adventure sometime in his life. But for now, it was Just a day in the ‘ride’ . . . .

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