We both got a good rest last night in the Best Western in Joliet, and are ready to hit the road. We’ll be riding together today, along the I&M Canal Trail all the way to Peru, IL (about 60 miles). Should be another great day of being off the road, and far, far away from cars. Thanks again to John, who I met riding yesterday, for recommending this trail!

Once we get to Peru, we’re meeting up with my Uncle Rigo and Aunt Linda, who are driving us to Bloomington, IL (due south of Peru) for the night. Huge thanks to my family for venturing out of the way to make this a possible scheduled stop along our route!!

Check back later for an update!

Update (10:00 p.m.): What a fun day on the bike. Overall it was among our best riding days. We got on the road by 7:30 a.m., and after riding the first few miles on the road, we located the I&M Canal Trail.

Simply put, the trail is beautiful. In total, it goes for 60+ miles–all the way from Joliet to Peru–which was exactly what we were riding today. However, we didn’t stick to the trail completely. More on that later.

The trail was full of old locks and bridges and aqueducts. We got a short history lesson about the trail from a local kayaker, before he set off on his adventure.

Not long after we met a couple who insisted on taking our picture! Here it is:

The couple warned us of some downed trees blocking the trail ahead. We continued riding, and soon found the forewarned fallen trees and other debris. We cleared what we could, then either climbed over or dragged our bikes under the rest to keep going.

We got in a good 20 miles on the trail before we started hitting these downed trees regularly. When the obstacles got too frequent to keep riding, we abandoned the trail for nearby roads.

We rode to Seneca, IL and stopped to grab a quick bite to eat at a diner (3 eggs, 3 pancakes, 3 pieces of bacon, 3 sausages, a few cups of coffee, and chocolate milk).

Back on the trail, Michael and I soon split up: I wanted to digest the large meal, and couldn’t handle the bumps of the trail, and Michael wanted to continue on the pathway. I navigated to Route 6 and cycled on it for the final 15 miles, while Michael continued on the trail, until also eventually switching to an adjacent road to bypass trail debris.

With five miles to go, I saw my Uncle Rigo on the side of the road. Because of the constant trucks on Route 6 (see photo below), I decided to call it a day, and load my bike up on Rigo’s car.

Both my Uncle Rigo and I met up with Michael in Peru, where he finished the ride. Rigo had Gatorade, fresh fruit, and sandwiches for us. Yum.

We drove to Bloomington, IL to the house (60 miles south of the end point). There we met up with my Aunt Linda and their two Saint Bernards, Gus & Alice. They’re big dogs.

Linda and Rigo made us a fantastic dinner of chicken, corn, watermelon, salad, and more. From there, we came to the consensus of heading to White Oak, a local brewery here in Bloomington. We met some new friends, saw some magic, and drank some good beer.

After heading back, we topped off the night with strawberry sundaes.

Thanks so much (from both Michael and myself) to Rigo and Linda for hosting us for the next few days.

Our plan is to take a rest day tomorrow to recuperate, do maintenance on our bikes, and explore the Bloomington/Normal area. 

We’ll be back on the road on Saturday, with our regularly scheduled ride. Check back tomorrow with a post from Michael that elaborates on our rest-day adventures!

Check out our ride on Relive here.