Friday, May 1, 2009
Day 21 - Pontiac to Wenona, IL
Total miles today: 34
Total mileage to date: 980
After battling on the phone this morning with my insurance company for nearly an hour I found myself pushing off in a foul mood. Many people would think after 21 days of going at this adventure I would be tired of getting on the bike, but I find myself at a loss of words describing the simple joy and empowerment I feel cycling and after pedaling for minutes my mood had reversed. The bicycle is an incredibly simple machine and with some added human power this machine can take you anywhere! I faced a day filled with clouds, intermittent rain and headwinds. Knowing I only had to ride a measly 34 miles, the winds did not push my buttons - I was one with the wind and accepted the fact that my travel would be slow. Unwilling to test my hypothesis, I would like to predict that persistent strong headwinds on the bike may equal the same insanity point as Chinese water torture.
I am thankful for the ride with Doug and Lynda yesterday not only because they moved me ahead quite far, but they moved me through I think some of America's most boring stretch of roads (sorry Indiana - no offense). At the same token I appreciate hearing Doug's perspective on this monotonous scenery, he said, "Some people find this boring, but I think it is beautiful. This is where so much of our food comes from that we depend on everyday." I included a picture of what I have been riding through for the last several days. In the summer time there would obviously be corn fields but it is only seeding season currently.
Highlight of my day: A woman saw me biking along and she called her father Lynn (pictured in convenience store). As an avid cyclists and a participant in the popular cycling event, RAGBRAI, Lynn made his way to the road to intersect my path. He stepped out of his car as I approached the intersection and said, "I would love to hear your bike story, can I buy you a coffee at the store two miles down the road." I accepted and we enjoyed a nice conversation over hot chocolate. Before he drove to meet me he grabbed the energy bars from his house and gifted 5 bars for my journey. At that time I thought it was the last I would see of Lynn.
I arrived at my destination by 3:00 and set up my tent under the pavilion in the city park with permission from the local police. The chief greeted me, unlocked the bathrooms and told me they would patrol the area throughout the night and to call if I needed anything. I am excited to finally be using my tent after hauling the thing for 980 miles!
Finishing up my time at the library Lynn walks in, he approaches me and asks if I want to see the local state park that my route managed to somehow avoid. I took him up on his offer, but first what to do with the bicycle as I have no lock. I walked down one block and saw a man playing in his front yard playing with his children. I asked if I could leave my bike in his yard for several hours. He responded, "Sure, you asked the right person. I am the mayor of the town." With that Lynn and I headed to the state park where we hiked to see Starved Rock pictured and the Illinois River. We headed back to town and Lynn treated me to dinner at a famous Italian restaurant by the name of Mona's in Toluca, IL. I made my way back to my tent in the city park for a peaceful evening rest.