(This is Sunday’s post – that is, yesterday.) I did not sleep well last night, as I was fretting about today’s ride. I knew it would be long, and I feared that getting out of that enormous city would be difficult. I just couldn’t quite imagine how we could ride bikes all the way out of Chicago. And then ride a total of 90 or more miles. Who planned this trip?!
We woke early and decided to just get going – it was before 7 am when we wheeled our bikes into the aloft elevator and went downstairs and out on the street – it was a beautiful day and pretty quiet downtown on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Our route began on the Lake Front Trail heading south – we met many cyclists speeding both north and south and we rode by the museums and the beaches and the University of Chicago and, Lisa told me, the Obama’s home. We were on there at least ten miles, with the lake at our left and the downtown skyline behind us.
And then, bit by bit, mile by mile, using the map from Adventure Cycling Association, and taking advantage many metro area trails, we made our way into south Chicago, Calumet City, Lansing, Munster, Griffith, Crown Point and then into the countryside. Somewhere, in Lansing, I think, we crossed into the state of Indiana. The trails were awesome, especially the Erie-Lackawanna. Our goal was a campground on the Tippecanoe River and I’d estimated it to be 87 miles, but as we lunched (somewhere, not sure exactly where) we added up the miles left and realized that we had almost 50 to go, making the day 100.
Lisa looked at me with that look. The “how did 87 miles become 100?” look. I’ll save that question for another post. Suffice it to say, when you are planning a trip like this and using multiple maps and Google, and mapping BIKE routes, things can get a little off. Also, in a car, who cares about a few more miles? But on a bike the difference between 87 and 100 is seriously different.
Having said that (and not wanting to get into it, honestly – a couple of you have said something along the lines of ‘it’s a miracle you’re still talking to each other’, well, this might be one little point of marital reality, nuff said, and yes we are still talking) the day was beautiful for biking – great temps, clear skies, smooth, flat and quiet road. Just too many miles.
We did finally arrive after 7 pm at the Rising Sun Campground on the Tippecanoe River after riding 101 miles. (By the way, river lovers, major rivers crossed today include the Chicago.) This campground was nothing like any we’ve ever stayed in or will ever stay in again. Hundreds of rec-vees that looked like they were permanently installed here, and everyone was driving around the place in golf carts, and had decorated their sites, um, elaborately. Live country music by cover bands till 11:00 pm.
On the bright side, the young woman who was managing the place said there would be no charge for tent camping, then offered us beers (“we have Busch and Busch Light”) and a few bottles of water. We found a spot in the primitive camping area and were delighted to set up our tent next to another bike adventurer (Al) who was heading west but on a more freewheeling plan than our spreadsheet – and generally headed to Seattle. He’d come from the Washington DC area and told us the cicadas were coming out and that they are “cool, like flying toddlers.” He was a great guy and we wish him well.
By the way, we’ve seen many more cyclists on tour this year than ever before, including a couple that appear to be in their 70’s on their way to the northwest. I’m sure there is an explanation which probably involves the pandemic, who knows.
Our other neighbors had a long, loud and wide ranging conversation which lasted till 3:00 AM. Ugh. We did sleep, because were beat. Lisa will pick this up next.