Nate packed up and rode out of camp with sunrise, getting a little extra sleep from the change in time zones. (Michael’s phone still can’t tell where it’s at, so is providing conflicting times.)
We’re both taking the paved bike paths across most of the route.
It’s a long-ride day! More later from Illinois…
Update (Day’s end; Michael): As Nate mentioned, we had different experiences today, although I wouldn’t characterize it as “extreme,” but rather owing to the usual anomalies of separate departure times and routes. (Right from the start this morning we took different paths: Nate headed north from camp, while I turned south.) It was fun to be navigating using a paper map today, even though that introduced opportunities for user error along the way!
It was a beautiful sunny and warm morning, and I enjoyed riding the rural roads between camp and Chesterton, IN, where the first bike trail began.
In Chesterton, I found a small bakery, tiger lily, where I had coffee and a pastry (breakfast, I hadn’t eaten at camp) before riding to the trail head.
I loved the Prairie-Duneland trail (it’s actually several trails connected or co-named) because of the fresh smooth blacktop surface, few intersections, ample tree canopy (providing shade), and of course the miles of rideable pathway without trucks and other traffic. And, it was nice to see other cyclists–more in one day than we’d seen on the rest of the trip combined! Parts of it reminded me of the Greenway in Raleigh, or other rails-to-trails bike paths around the country.
When the trail ended in Hobart, IN, I found my way quickly to the next section of trail, although the route was not well marked.
The second section of trail was equally nice to ride, and the weather continued to be clear and dry. The trail ends, though, short of the Illinois border, in an industrial area, and so–without knowing there was another bike path north of the area–I navigated south. That took me onto Route 30, which was not bike friendly. Unfortunately, too, along that route, it was a long stretch before I could reconnect to the next off-road trail.
On the final trail, I was in Illinois. Compared to the morning in Indiana, I didn’t enjoy this section as much because, by then, I had already cycled through rough urban areas, the trail surface wasn’t as new or complete, and I was skirting thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.
Nate had recommended at stop at an alehouse in a really cool town along the Illinois trail. In the same building I found a gelato shop and got a treat there.
I managed to dodge rain for three bands of storms, but got caught a bit by a fourth and fifth wave of rain. Still, the overall ride was generally easy–that is, I covered the 82 or so miles at a good pace, with plenty of energy left over to have cycled another 20 if necessary.
See my Relive video.