I can hardly believe it, but I’ve made it west of Chicago!!! Wenona is a fair bit (~115 miles south west) off from Chicago, but it is a momentous day, nonetheless. The campground in Iroquois was right on the village green. My one and only complaint would be that they leave the lights on all night. I woke up several times thinking I’d overslept my alarm, only to realize it was 2 or 3 in the morning and still otherwise completely dark.
(Beautiful almost cartoonish clouds and a huuuuge wind farm made up much of the interesting sights today. Otherwise, lots of quiet roads and oodles and oodles of corn.)
Despite a few clouds in the sky, today was tremendously hot. I stopped numerous times to fill and re-fill my water bottles. Mercifully the humidity was pretty low, which made riding manageable. The land in this part of Illinois is a bit more rolly than Indiana, but the roads are in good condition and the wind was kind, so I was able to cover the 98 miles at about 13mph. With breaks in Ashkum, Odell, and several places just near the roadside, it still made for a long day, but I’m glad I was able to take advantage of the good winds to cover some ground. I have to say though, that finally on day 25 my behind hurts a little bit! 🙂
One of Odell’s claims to fame!
Guffy loved playing the part of the tourist today in Odell. This is the Standard Oil Station Vintage petrol pump listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guffy notes that the only thing on him that contains led (or seems that way) are the pannier bags. Rather heavy!
Two funny stories quickly before I’m off to the city park here in Wenona to pitch my tent:
1) I have my first nickname of the trip. Peter, a bicycling Pastor from Lowell, MA with the mouth of a sailor couldn’t remember my name but thought it sounded like Vidalia (the onion). So that’s what he took to calling me.
2) Apparently it is really trendy in Italy to fly to the US, rent Harleys and ride around in full biker attire (replete with American flag bandanas and skull and crossbones patches!), speaking Italian the whole time. A gaggle of them were outside the petrol pump when I was taking Guffy’s picture, and a few of them commented on how bicycling was “the hard way to do it”. All I could think of was how much trouble they had to go through to find all their accoutrements… somehow bicycling seemed the easier way to go, to me.\
Anywho, it is tent-time and shower time! I’m really grateful to all these midwestern towns that allow travelers to pitch tents on their commons. It is really and awesome way to see places like Iroquois and Wenona!
Tomorrow I’m off to Cambridge, IL and a Warm Showers host. Hurrah! The day after will be somewhere past Muscatine, but I’ll post more on my next few days tomorrow from Cambridge!
PS I saw a Sancken realty sign here! I wasn’t able to get a picture, but I will if I pass another such sign. Phil – do you have any relatives in Wenona!?