Hi You Lucky People:
It is funny how the second time around gives you a sense of security (Jim rode Indy to Chicago for us last year, ed). This time however I also noticed a few more pot holes and traffic. Last year I was just amazed I made it, now I know it is amazing, but doable.
The ride up from Indy made me realize that the Greenway program could well use the Monon Trail as a national standard. The city, state and community have done an excellent job in bring the economic forces together to make things happen in a powerful way.
Had forgotten about some of the challenges along the route over to Chicago's lake bike route. While there was considerable construction in various places they still had good directions on where to go. In some communities, however, there were no instructions during a construction project so it was challenging.
This trip has been a little sad this year as I entered Chicago. In past years I would always stop and see my little sister, Connie. My trip will also take me through Bettendorf, Iowa where she spent the last years of her life. She was a wonderful person that we all miss. Regardless of when I would arrive day or night she would always fix me something to eat that looked and tasted like a gourmet meal. Her loving smile and happy voice are burned into my mind. She is buried at Maryhill Cemetery in Niles, Illinois, really a part of Chicago. Her husband, and three children, Sean, Erin and Chris are doing fine, thanks to her guidance in their formative years.
Took an extra detour to check out the next stage of the ride. Rode west and then back east along the I & M trail that Jeff has been suggesting. While that section is very nice, the next section called the Hennipen canal trail is challenging due to the larger rock used to cover the dirt. It is thick and rough so I will be requesting we follow the route that Jim Redd did last year.
As I came in from the west along Hwy 171, Archer St., it was starting to rain. At one point a huge pile of brush was blown into the street and I ran right into it. I looked like a homemade street sweeper. I then ducked under a large evergreen tree and had to explain to the homeowner what I was doing in their front yard. Was hoping they would invite me in for a hot coffee, but no luck. I will have to remember that the next time I see a stranded biker.
Was not going to mention this, but after telling a few people about it and got lots of reaction, you should know also. I was getting close to Spring Valley and had not found a camp site, it was getting dark and was a little worried being on a two lane road. Saw a sign for St. Peter and Paul's Cemetery. I pulled in and spotted a quiet corner with no permanent occupants so set up my tent. It was dead quiet and no one bothered me and I sure did not bother them. In the morning I carefully packed up and left. I do not know what the rules are. Saw a couple of deer and thought they must sleep here, so why not me.
Tomorrow is presentation day and we are off on the next leg to Des Moines. Say a prayer for us as we ride out of Chicago on the heels of Andrew Heckman's disaster (http://webpages.charter.net/200a/AndrewHeckman2.htm) of last year. Another reason to work to make the NBG cause a reality.
Love you all, Jim
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Hi you lucky people:
Was able to find my niece Cindy and her husband Rich in Avon, IN. They were partying with old friends from DeLux Check. I cycled out to see them, about 20 miles from where I was staying so could not stay too long. Got to taste some fresh caught fish and catch up on some family news to get me grounded.
Life is good, the sun is shining and I am on my way. The second time on this section give me an opportunity to compare. Carmel is definitely growing northward. Lots of huge houses and narrow streets with no sidewalks or shoulders. Not very bike friendly in these new areas.
Saw a glider pilot getting his craft ready. Other fellows were getting the charcoal grills ready. Wanted to stop and ask when dinner was being served.
Must have been bad weather here as a barn was half blown down, timbers sticking up into the air where roofing once was.
Even saw a raccoon having a snack along the road and it never moved from me.
The fields are becoming enormous. No more wind rows and in some cases no more farm buildings. I worry about the huge dust storms of the past where you saw pictures of top soil drifted against houses and barns. But greed it seems knows no bounds. No place for wild life to nest.
These huge fields could be converted into golf courses by planting a few trees. Of course they would be competing with the two already in business. But from what I can see there are never enough of them.
Saw a few cattle inside a pasture with lots of green grass surrounded by plowed fields. However the cows were all sticking their heads through the fences, proving once again the grass is always greener on the other side. Also saw some very large range cattle with horns big enough to hang my laundry on. They were impressive.
All the small towns looked deserted until you come to a church and look inside and there they are. I stopped in one called St. Bernards like the one I went to as a boy. Except everyone was speaking English here. My little town all spoke German, even me. In New Munich, MN. Stopped there once a few weeks ago and it has not changed one bit.
Want to mention that while our ride is to promote safe routes it also needs to provide a health element. At the Indy Parade I could not believe the size of a lot of the people, the kids. When I stopped at a gas station the other day I could not find one thing in the whole store that I felt was healthy. Sugared water and junk food. It is a sad situation, no wonder our youth are overweight. Everyone was carrying an armful out to their cars. I had to leave.
Saw some furry lama mixed in with sheep, maybe they are like guard dogs.
Last year I whizzed right through Lafayette and did not even see Purdue University. This year I paid more attention. They sure like their football.
Saw three deer today and they were running and leaping. Like a cross between a gazelle and a cheta. When they are frightened they sure can move and they look so graceful. It always pains me when I see one dead along the road. They are such a beautiful animal. I want to pet them.
This year I am taking it easy since I have my camping equipment with me.
That's all for today, have a nice Memorial Day.
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