Portland, Oregon to Chicago


Fall 2008


Denis Kertz, ©2008


Day 31: Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Onawa, IA to Coon Rapids, IA [90.8, 8:41:13, 10.5 mph]

It was a fairly warm night so I didn't want or need to zip up my sleeping bag.  However, there were still a few mosquitoes who hadn't gotten the message that summer was over so I bundled myself up as well as I could in my sleeping bag for protection.  About 1 am I woke up uncomfortably warm and decided sleeping in the open wasn't working.  So I pitched my tent on the concrete floor next to my picnic table and moved my sleeping bag inside.  That worked much better since I could regulate my warmth without mosquitoe consideration.

Packing up in the morning was a little quicker than normal since my panniers were still on the bike.  I just had to fold up my tent along with my sleeping bag and pad and I was on my way.  I rode to downtown where there was a cafe open for breakfast, right across the street from the pizza place where I ate last night.  Since there was no good place to lock up my bike I leaned it against the cafe wall where I could see it from inside and sat at the table nearest the window.  I ordered the pancakes and the elderly waitress brought me the house paper to read without my asking.  The pancakes were fine if not the greatest of the trip and the whole package with coffee cost $3.50, the breakfast value of the trip.

I left town around 8:30 on 175 heading east towards the Loess Hills.  These are hills east of the Missouri River formed by wind-blown dust-like rocks ground up by glaciers that formed into corrugated hills.  In about 5 miles 175 headed north in a valley between the hills and then I took county road E34 east and started some serious climbing through some scenic hills.  There was a lot of up and down in this stretch that continued for about 10 miles.

When E34 ended I picked up 141 toward Denison and I would essentially ride 141 the rest of the day.  I stopped in the small town of Ute for my second breakfast.  After that the stretch to Charter Oak was a bit northeast and the north wind felt like a head wind.  This stretch was also flat for about 4-5 miles, which was unusual for the day.  After Charter Oak the road bent a bit southeast and the wind became a helping wind.

Three miles from Denison 141 merged with US59 and became a 4-lane road heading south to Denison on a downhill run.  I turned into town on US30 and stopped for a break.  On break I debated riding a little east and picking up some county roads in a zig zag pattern to get back to 141 in the hope of avoiding the traffic on 141/59.  Fortunately, there were a bunch of locals in the food mart where I stopped and I inquired about that approach.  The guy I talked to said it was a good idea but told me that M36 was right before his auto sales place and it was called Donna Reed Road, Donna Reed having been born on a farm nearby.  This was right on the east edge of town and when I got there I found Donna Reed Road but no sign for M36.

I rode M36 south for a few miles, E53 east for a few miles, and then M55 south a few miles before re-connecting with 141.  These county roads were good riding.  On the other hand, 141 became a bit of a bear.  It had no shoulder and the right 3 feet of the road were lightly scraped as if they were preparing to resurface it so it wasn't the smoothest part of the road.  There were also some places where there were cracks in the direction of travel that were big enough to cause wheel damage if I wasn't careful.  Then there was a fair amount of traffic and about half of it was large truck traffic.  So I had to pay a lot of attention to riding this section.  I didn't have any close calls but I bailed out to the gravel shoulder about a dozen times to avoid creating any conflicts with large trucks, often when they were coming up behind me on a hill and had no way of knowing if they could safely pass, being unable to see traffic from the other direction.  This was pretty ugly riding.

At Manning after 68 miles I stopped for another break.  I talked a bit with a group of older guys hanging out at the food mart and one of the guys warned me that there were some big hills coming up on the way to Coon Rapids.  When I left Manning around 4:30, I was happy to see newer pavement with an honest to goodness 18 inch wide shoulder.  So riding was pretty good and there was less traffic, particularly large truck traffic.  However, after riding along a lot of corn fields and soybean fields through fairly tame undulations I rode past the small town of Dedham and everything changed.  The shoulder disappeared and the pavement had horizontal cracks that weren't too bad but made the riding rougher than the smooth sailing I had grown accustomed to.

There were a couple larger hills as I rode into Coon Rapids but nothing any worse than earlier in the day.  I rode downtown to scout out eating places and didn't see anything attractive, particularly since it was getting late and I wanted to eat quickly and get settled in camp before darkness.  So I rode back out to 141 and stopped at a food mart.  You can always find something reasonable in the way of sandwiches or burritos, or pizza, except for this one.  This is about the only food mart I can remember stopping at and finding nothing reasonable to eat beyond the absolute junk food stuff.  There was a small diner nearby that I passed up in the interest of time but now I rode back to it and had a quick chicken sandwich.

By the time I left the diner the sun was down and darkness rapidly approaching.  I rode back to the other end of town on 141 and followed the sign to the city park.  It was a very extensive city park from what I could see but was also very similar to Onawa's.  It had a swimming pool and right next to it was a shelter with picnic tables under an overhang.  Rather than repeat last night's fiasco, I started out by setting up my tent on the concrete floor so I could sleep without bug worries.  However, I kept my panniers on the bike for easieer packing in the morning.  I just hoped that no one would get excited to see me there since I had no opportunity to check in with the police.

Day 32: Thu, Oct 02, 2008 - Coon Rapids, IA to Marshalltown, IA [113.4, 9:30:13, 11.9 mph]

After packing up in the morning I rode back into town.  I didn't expect to find anything open for breakfast and I didn't but I stopped at the grocery store to pick up Post Select Maple Nut Crunch, a favorite cereal of mine for touring that I rarely find.  Then I rode back to 141 to a food mart and had a cereal breakfast along with a breakfast sandwich they had.  This was the local hangout with a group of guys with their coffee mugs congregated at a table.  So I naturally got a few questions about my trip when I sat down for my breakfast.

I had a fairly straightforward plan for the day – ride 141 to Woodward and then 210 as far as it went.  That looked to be a good day's ride.  The only problem was I didn't know where I was going to stay.  There were only small towns at the end of 210 and none of them were obvious good choices for a stopping point.

The good news from riding time was that the land pretty much flattened out.  However, 141 still left a lot to be desired for riding.  It started out with a concrete surface with some holes and cracks that made riding a occasionally rough.  More importantly the shoulder was set a few inches above the gravel shoulder and that made leaving the road unappealing.  Fortunately there was less traffic and less truck traffic and I was never forced to run off the shoulder.

It was 30 miles to Perry, the first sizeable town along the route.  I wanted to make some copies of my Iowa bike map so I rode into town to the library to take care of that.  Then I returned to 141 and a food mart for a break.  When I left Perry, 141 became a 4-lane divided highway and it was a better riding experience.

After 9 miles 141 turned south towards Des Moines and I turned north on 210 to Woodward and I stopped there for a break.  The morning scenery was unexciting with the flat landscape of cornfields and soybeans.  Riding on from Woodward was a little more interesting, especially when crossing a valley where the Des Moines River passed through.  210 weaved its way through Madrid and then I stopped in Slater for a break.  There was a bike trail, the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail (HOINT), which ran pretty much the remaining length of 210 so I asked about getting on the trail.  I had also seen an Ankeny to Woodward Trail earlier that would have taken me all the way from Woodward to Slater had I known about it.  However, it had just opened so it wasn't noted on my map. 

Later I learned that this new trail was not completed to Woodward so I couldn’t have ridden it to Slater as I thought.  Most importantly, the section of trail across the Des Moines River required a half-mile long, 13-story high bridge.  When I rode across this valley I had noticed bridge poles without the bridge surface.  This looked strange and I wasn’t sure if a bridge was being built or one being torn down.

I picked up HOINT just a short distance from my break spot.  It was a crushed limestone trail that was almost as good as pavement.  It had a short break before Huxley but signs got me back on the trail after I rode most of the way through Huxley.  I was looking forward to riding the rest of the way on the trail when it abruptly stopped a short while later at Cambridge, where a section of the trail was under development.  A sign seem to say to go left and I guessed that would lead me back on to the trail but I talked to a woman cyclist I caught up with and she knew nothing about picking up the trail nor did a woman at a food mart.

So I decided the best approach was to head south and pick up 210 again.  Then just south of the trail there was a sign that pointed east on another road.  So I followed it and it turned into gravel and then it dead ended with no further signs.  At that point I decided to waste no further time and rode south to pick up 210 which took me to Maxwell.  There some high school kids told me how to get back on the trail and then I found the trail surface wasn't so great.  It was sandy in places and uneven in others so I got off the trail at the first opportunity and back on 210, and discovered 210 had a great surface and a reasonable shoulder width but it was ruined because some wise guy decided to put rumble strips in the shoulder that made the shoulder unrideable.

At that point I wondered what else could go wrong, having wasted maybe an hour getting back on the trail and then off of it only to find an unrideable shoulder.  I soon found what else when 210 abruptly stopped at US65, where I no longer had to worry about an unrideable shoulder.  There was a road that continued on but it was a gravel road.  I decided to take it after some deliberation and then it ended too.  That was a good thing because it forced me to relook at my map and I realized I had misread my map.  I should have gone north on US65 a short way and taken the next county road east.  I accomplished the same by turning north on another gravel road and within a short distance I picked up the paved county road.  It did several left-right turns but I recognized those on my map so I was confident about where I was and where I was going.

Unfortunately, I still didn't know where I was going to stay without any sizeable towns in the immediate vicinity.  That's when I decided to just head for Marshalltown, a town of 26,000.  The only question was whether I could get there in daylight.  Nevertheless I rode on with my new goal.  In a fairly short while I reached 330, a 4-lane divided highway that headed northeast to Marshalltown and it looked like a distance I could reach by sunset.  Again, some wise guy decided to put rumble strips in the shoulder but the shoulder was wide enough that there was about a 2 foot rideable part of the shoulder, as long as I concentrated on riding that narrow strip.

Shortly after I passed Melbourne I noticed a woman riding from the other direction on what looked like a trail next to 330.  I checked my Iowa bike map and found there was a trail that went from Melbourne to US30 near Marshalltown.  So I hopped on that paved trail and life improved.  I made good time on the paved trail which took me all the way to the limited access US30 that was off limits for bicycles.

When the trail ended I was fairly close to motels but didn't know how to get to them.  I had no way of knowing how to get on US30 to get to an exit with motels so I took a road north over US30 and the first road east after that.  Unfortunately, it was a gravel road and it wound around for a while, leaving me with an uncertain feeling as the sun was setting.  Eventually I passed by a golf course where some guys were having a beer in the parking lot after their round and I inquired about how to get to a motel.  I wasn't that far away but I certainly needed directions since it wasn't obvious.

By the time I reached Center Street, the main north-south drag with the motels and fast food places it was dark and I was using my rear blinkie light.  There was a frontage road so I was able to get by without having to drag out my front headlight.  However, I didn't have time to scout out motels so I had to take the first one I came to, a Comfort Inn.  It was $81 but I had little choice.  The saving grace was there was a Subway within easy walking distance so I ate there as soon as I checked in.

Back at the ranch I plugged in my PC and connected to the motel’s WIFI and got nothing from the Internet.  I got a help number from the front desk and I learned that their system didn't work with a Linux PC using dynamic IP, even though this has been working every place else on this trip.  However, I was able to get a static IP assignment and after setting that up I was able to connect to the Internet.

Using Google Maps I learned that I was about 280 miles from home so in theory there was a possibility I could make that in 3 days.  However, the route the rest of the way through Iowa was unclear whereas the last 2 days the route was straightforward.  So it was unclear if there was a route that approximated that 280 miles and if I had enough energy to cover it in 3 days.

This was an “interesting” day, where the first half was relatively easy and the second half was a mess.  If I had ignored the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail I probably would have saved about an hour of time and my approach to Marshalltown would have been much easier and most likely I would have found a better motel option.

Day 33: Fri, Oct 03, 2008 - Marshalltown, IA to Cedar Rapids, IA [84.5, 8:31:23, 9.0 mph]

I took full advantage of the motel's continental breakfast in the morning.  I had a couple waffles and a couple small bowls of cereal.

Leaving the Marshalltown area turned out to be relatively easy.  I rode a block north and took Southbridge Road west until it ended and then 12th Ave north until I reached main street which was E35 and my ticket out of town.  What wasn't so easy was the hills and the 10 mph head wind.  When E35 ended I took T29 north to E27 and that started me on my westward progression.

I had hoped to make it past Cedar Rapids for the day but with the head wind I decided I would be doing well to reach Cedar Rapids.  At Garwin I stopped to see if there might be a breakfast place.  I noted a bar open at 10:30 so I guessed they did breakfast, which they did, until 10:00 I was told.  There I met a local who was finishing up his breakfast/coffee and we chatted a bit.  He told me about Garwin being part of RAGBRAI a couple times in the 80s and some other odds and ends about the town.  He also told me that the route was flat after Garwin, which I wish had been true.  In actuality it gradually got flatter through the day but was never really flat but maybe it seemed like it in a vehicle.

It was slow going and I kept doing mental calculations about the time it would take me to reach Cedar Rapids and it wasn't encouraging.  After a jog south from E29 to catch E36 I stopped at Clutier, which my friend from Garwin said had a small restaurant.  It turned out to be another bar but they had a barbeque beef plate special for $5 that was just fine.

Riding east on E36 from Clutier was better with a flatter road and the wind didn't seem quite as strong.  That was probably because the wind started out from the east and was supposed to become northeast.  In any event I started making better time.  When E36 terminated, I had to decide whether to head north or south for the next leg.  Originally I was planning to head north so that I would pass through Cedar Rapids on the north edge but since I didn't expect to make it further than Cedar Rapids I chose south to provide a more direct, and hopefully quicker, route to Cedar Rapids.

After riding 5 miles south I took E44 east and stopped in Van Horne for a break, just in time to join the local high school kids just out of school.  At that point I was feeling pretty good about making Cedar Rapids with time to spare and not interested in seeing how close I could cut it to darkness.  E44 did a little jog south through Newhall and tried to lose me but a truck route sign pointed me in the right direction.  Then E44 did throw me as I passed through Atkins, which had a sign proclaiming the next 10 exits for Atkins, a town of 1,300.  E44 just turned south although I could have gone straight ahead on a gravel road.  Not interested in that, I road 2 miles south to pick up US30 the rest off the way.

US30 wasn't my idea of fun riding with a 4-lane divided highway and a l foot  shoulder but I managed and it was about a 5 mile section.  After a few miles US30 became a limited access highway and bicycles technically weren't allowed but I waited until the 2 of 7 exits, 3 fewer exits than Atkins, to take US151 business north, which the exit sign proclaimed would lead to food and lodging, both which I needed.  It was just past 5:30 so I was confident about finding a place to stay with more than an hour of daylight.

I rode business US51 through quite a bit of typical fast food and malls but I never saw the promised lodging.  After I passed 16th Ave SW the area became residential for a few miles and wasn't looking good.  I could see my prospects of scouting lodging possibilities dimming.  I stopped at a food mart and inquired about motels and was directed back to 16th Ave where I was told there was a motel and there was.  It was a Budget Inn with a reasonable rate of $42 and I got the last room and I was surprised it was on the first floor.

This room, and presumably the rest of the motel, had seen better days, particularly the shower area with some ugly tile work and a chipped porcelain basin.  But it had a bed, a shower, and WIFI so I was happy even though it was at least $10 overpriced compared to my other motels on the trip.  Right next door was a restaurant that had a Friday night fish fry and that was a reasonable meal.

Back at the ranch I worked on the remainder of the trip.  Although I hadn't made it as far as I would have liked for the day, due to the head wind, it still wasn't out of the question that I could make it home in 2 days with about 200 miles to go.  However, more head wind was projected for tomorrow and Sunday was looking like a bad weather day that could be a layover day.  Savanna, just across the border into Illinois after crossing the Mississippi River, was tomorrow's hoped destination but it was a little over 92 miles so it would be another long and relatively hard day of riding.

Day 34: Sun, Oct 05, 2008 - Cedar Rapids, IA to Fulton, IL [106.9, 10:19:22, 10.4 mph]

I ate breakfast next door at the Country Kitchen where they had a Saturday breakfast buffet.  It was very cool, in the upper 30s, when I left at 8:00.  My motel was on 16th Ave SW and I was able to take that all the way across the river with relatively little traffic on a Saturday morning.  Near the river I passed through the Czech Village and was surprised to see some businesses closed due to flooding.  Then I realized this was the flooding back in June when Iowa got all kinds of rain and had terrible flooding.

Once across the river I picked up Mt Vernon SE and rode that until the intersection with 13/151.  I took 13/151 north about 4 miles and then Collins Rd east which became E45.  At that point I was finally out of the Cedar Rapids area and on a good county road but it took about 15 miles to get to that point.  My goal was to cross the Mississippi River at Savanna but that was an ambitious goal that I wasn't sure was possible, particularly with the head wind and the constraint of finishing in daylight.

I stopped in Martelle for my second breakfast and continued on E45.  E45 was a pretty decent road with little traffic but it jumped around a bit.  Since I expected a long day I stopped at most of the small towns along the way for a cold drink.  Progress was slow due to the head wind and the modest road undulations.  I continually estimated when I could make Savanna and it was never looking good.

When I stopped in Oxford Junction, I pretty well resigned myself to not making Savanna.  Then Maquoketa became my fall back because it was the only town in the area with a motel.  E45 ended near Oxford Junction and I picked up 136 from there.  As I got closer to Maquoketa on 136 I started becoming more optimistic that Savanna was not out of the question.

When I reached Delmar I stopped for another drink and then rode north on Y60 to reach 64.  At that point I had to make the go/no-go decision.  I had to either turn west to Maquoketa or east and commit to Savanna.  It was just after 4:00 and it was a little over 20 miles to the river so I decided to go for it.

64 turned out to be a good road with good pavement and a wide enough shoulder for riding even though it had rumble strips.  Surprisingly, the road was pretty flat which gave me even more optimism.  However, I could only guess that some cruel fate awaited because the riding was just too easy and I was making good time for the first time of the day.  I was riding on a ridge with some good views of the surrounding area and then I descended to Preston where I made what I expected would be my last stop.

Then the hammer dropped.  Big time.  I was told at the food mart that the Savanna bridge was closed and I would have to head south to Clinton to cross the river.  [After the trip I found a news item on the Internet that said the bridge was open to single lane traffic on 10/1 with repairs expected to continue another 4-6 weeks.]  That was a slam to the gut.  I had to either ride back to Maquoketa or ride south to Clinton for a motel.  I really wanted a motel so I could watch the Mizzou-Nebraska football game and because it was supposed to be raining by the morning.  Maquoketa was 15 miles backtracking and Clinton was about 20 miles riding south and I would not be able to reach Clinton in full daylight.  What made this worse was I could have just continued to Clinton from Delmar and I could have made Clinton in daylight.

Nevertheless, I decided to ride to Clinton rather than backtrack.  The first 7 miles to Goose Lake on Z34 were flat and fast riding, particularly since my adrenaline was kicking in to get me as far as possible in daylight.  Z34 ended in Goose Lake but terminated at 136 so I picked up 136 again.  Initially I was concerned because there was some modest climbing but after that the road was mostly flat and I was flying, surprising that I had that much left in my legs after nearly 100 miles.

As I got near Clinton around 7:00 with the sun already set I stopped to turn my lights on just on the outskirts of Clinton.  My rear light was already attached and I put it in blinking mode.  My front light was in my pannier and I dug it out and taped it to the side of my handlebar and rode off again.  Cars could obviously see me since they slowed down behind me before passing.  I rode all the way to US67 where I encountered the first food mart.

I learned that the Clinton motels were at the other end of town but there were a couple motels across the river in Fulton.  My adviser gave terrible directions but when she said I was within a few blocks of the bridge I figured I could ride on and figure out the directions myself after taking the first turn she suggested [later I saw on Google Maps that 136 would have taken me right across the bridge].  That first turn brought me to another food mart on the bridge street and I got better directions there.  There was a pedestrian/bike path and I rode that across the river but that was not much fun since the path wasn't very wide with 3 feet high “shoulder” on both sides so it required constant attention to keep from hitting the sides.

Once across it was another mile or so and there was a Comfort Inn at the intersection with 84.  I managed to get the last room at $89.  I could only imagine what I would have done if that had not worked out.  The only food option was a food mart next door and, of course, they had almost no edible food beside junk food.  However, they had some breakfast burritos so I nuked a couple of them and hustled back to my room to watch the Mizzou-Nebraska game only to find I missed the first Mizzou score even though the game was only in its second minute.  The game turned out to be an easy game.

After the game I did my usual Internet surfing and ride notes and didn't get to sleep until 1:00 am because of the football game.  But the time didn't really matter since I didn't expect to be riding in the morning due to the rain forecast.

Day 35: Sun, Oct 05, 2008 - Fulton, IL to Dixon, IL [42.7, 4:25:28, 9.6 mph]

When I looked outside in the morning there was standing water on the pavement.  Rain was predicted for at least the morning with some hope that the afternoon might be OK.  I had the Comfort Inn continental breakfast which was pretty good – a waffle, some cereal, and some pastries.

Check out time was noon so I was in no hurry to leave with the uncertain weather.  Around 11:00 it rained pretty hard and I was happy to see that from inside.  But the weather radar picture showed the rain moving out by around noon which was encouraging.

I checked out at noon and rode back to the bridge, about a mile.  I wanted to see what I couldn't see last night.  With a levee along the river I couldn't really see the river itself.  I would have liked to ride part way up the bridge to get a better view but the bike/pedestrian path was so narrow that there was no way I could have turned my bike around.

So I gave up on getting a better view and left town around 12:30.  136, which I rode into Clinton yesterday continued across the bridge and eventually connected with US30 so I rode it out of town.  There was a fair amount of traffic on US30 but its narrow shoulder was reasonably decent for riding.  My goal was to ride 30-40 miles which would make the final ride tomorrow a reasonable 70-80 miles.

When I reached Morrison, after a short stop, I turned north on Jackson Street which turned into Hazel Road.  This got me off the major road and into the countryside, although with the cornfields and rolling road, I thought I could have made a wrong turn and ended up back in Iowa.

The sky cleared up and became sunny and it turned out to be a nice afternoon for riding except for the head wind that kept riding down to about 9 mph.  Hazel Road ended at Emerson Road and Emerson took me into Sterling after about 25 miles.  When I was stopped at a food mart in Sterling, another cyclist came riding in, at least that's what it looked like.  However, this particular bicycle had a one-cylinder engine on it and a chain drive to the left side of the rear hub.  When this cyclist left, he apparently used pedaling to get the engine started and then let the engine take over.

The nice thing about the day was I didn't need to do any heroic miles.  It was almost 4:00 and I could have stayed in Sterling and been OK.  Instead I chose to ride on another 10 miles to Dixon just to put that many more miles behind me for tomorrow.  I rode into Sterling on 2 and that's what took me to Dixon.  Leaving Sterling it was a 4-lane divided highway with a shoulder as wide as a regular traffic lane.  So the traffic was annoying but not a problem.

Riding to Dixon was flat and the wind seemed to die down so riding was fairly quick.  I knew there was a good chance I would end up in Dixon so you would think I would have researched Dixon motels, given I had all morning to do so.  But no, I wasn't that smart and I had to ask at a downtown food mart.  It was no great surprise that the motels were out by I88 so I rode several miles south in that direction.  There were 3 motels just by the I88 exit – Super 8, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn.  It's rather disappointing to see these generic motels springing up and replacing all of the mom-and-pop motels that at least had some character to them.

I guessed Super 8 was the cheapest and it probably was.  I got a room for $51 which was better than I expected.  But there was a catch.  My room was on the second floor so I had to carry my loaded bike up a flight of stairs.  There was a Subway across the street so I made my final dinner a Subway one.

Day 36: Mon, Oct 06, 2008 - Dixon, IL to Naperville, IL [90.2, 8:23:40, 10.7 mph]

The continental breakfast was rather minimal so I only had some cereal and pastries but the pastries were Bear Claws so they were pretty good.  Milk for the cereal was in small cartons in a small refrigerator but the milk was frozen almost solid.  I started to heat up the milk with hot water in my room but then I realized there was a use for the microwave in my room.  After packing up I carefully lowered my bike down the stairs.

I rode a mile back to town and took 38 to Franklin Grove, 9 miles away.  Franklin Grove had a small cafe downtown which was right on my way so I stopped for a second breakfast of pecan pancakes.  They were modest size which was fine because I didn't need a huge breakfast at that point.

I rode another couple blocks south and picked up Reynolds Road which was a nice quiet country road.  When it reached 251 I rode 251 north about a mile to pick up Perry Road to Steward which didn't appear to have any services.  I rode another 5 miles or so and took Shabbona Road south to US30 and the town of Shabbona.  I was familiar with this road, having ridden it several times to get to Shabbona Lake State Park, but this was the first time I actually road through the town of Shabbona.  I stopped for a break at a food mart and was surprised to see another touring cyclist riding west on US30.  I would have been interested to learn where he was headed, the first touring cyclist I saw since Wyoming.

I continued riding east on US30 but quickly decided US30 wasn't for me with no shoulder and took the first road south that I could.  This didn't last long and I went left at its intersection and then right again on a road that turned to gravel but it was a good gravel road with a hard packed surface that was almost as good as pavement.  This road wound around for a while until it reached Shabbona Grove Road which I took east.  I recognized this road from a couple previous bike rides in this area.

I rode this road east a ways and then took Howison Road south, another road that turned to good gravel and zig zagged a bit before intersecting with Chicago Road.  Then I rode Chicago Road east much further than I thought I needed.  I was looking for its intersection with Route 47 and underestimated how far that was.  Chicago Road turned into Galena Road and eventually I rode past its intersection with Route 47 after 66 miles at 3:00.  At that point I was very familiar with the area and knew the rest of the way home.

I made my way to Oswego where I stopped at a food mart, needing a break since I had been riding continuously for 3 hours without eating or drinking.  From Oswego it was 18 miles to home on a route that I have ridden many times.  The only final event of notice was that my cyclocomputer stopped recording distances with about 5 miles to go.  I presumed this was a case of a battery weakening just enough to stop the distance function.

The day ended up being somewhat longer than I anticipated mileage wise.  I expected something in the 75 mile neighborhood and it ended up being 90 miles.  This was apparently due to the meanderings I did to keep off a more direct route like US30 and use less trafficked back roads.  It also didn't help that this was the fourth day in a row of head winds.  Not a terrible head wind but one that probably reduced my speed by about 2 mph.





Copyright Denis Kertz, 2008. All rights reserved.