Tuesday, June 16, 2009


This was a ride from Shabbona State Park to White Pines Forest State Park. After breakfast we got a reasonably early start for the 54.5 mile day. We had a tail wind and a flat first part so we made good time to the rest stop at a Methodist Church about 20 miles into the ride. We averaged about 15.2 mph, which is good for me.

After the rest stop we continued on to Franklin Grove, where we holed to stop for coffee at the cafe. Unfortunately they were closed for their two-week annual vacation. But we did see a guy who had made a cart with bicycle wheels pulled by two huskies and a mixed breed dog that was primarily pit bull. We took some pictures, talked with other riders who had also stopped for coffee, and eventually took off for Oregon.

The road to Oregon got a bit steeper as we went along the Rock River for some of the way. When we got there we stopped for lunch at a family restaurant where we had a nice meal and got fortified for the last 10 miles of the ride, which was the hilliest part and, in the last five, had the most traffic. Because of the traffic it was had to keep up momentum between the hills and I was cooked just before the last little rise before the park entrance so I had to stop and catch my breath before I could get to the park. Still, my final average speed was 14.5, which was not bad at all.

We got settled in and I managed to get hooked up to one of the few electrical outlets for my CPAP machine although I had to borrow an extra extension cord from the bike mechanic. He and Jerry from Bloomington were very helpful and both were camped very close to me. Another thing was that we have had to watch out for poison ivy when we set up, which has been interesting. Everyone else is looking out for me too, which is nice.

I have been doing laundry but getting it to dry is a bit difficult. I can see why doing laundry in third world countries can take all of your time and reminds me of the descriptions in The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

I have now misplaced my watch, so I hope it will turn up. I feel funny without it. I keep looking at my wrist but of course nothing is there. I know I put it in my helmet but it isn’t there now. It may be on the floor of the tent but I can’t find it.

At the end of the day we had a Mexican dinner so there was more choice for me to eat since there were corn tortilla shells and rice as well as chicken and beef so I could avoid the flour tortillas. The Velosophie group discussed “The White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett and “The Shell Collector” by Anthony Doerr. I’m not sure that the choice of living in nature and walking away from the world is the ideal choice although the authors both seem to advocate that in terms of the main characters. At least that is the choice that both of the main characters make. I guess my experience on the trip so far has led me to want the comforts of the civilized world with some enjoyment of the outdoors. I would not choose to turn my back on society. Both raise interesting ethical issues although the choice made by a retired professor is certainly different in magnitude from that made by an eight-year-old girl and much less reversible. We walked the almost mile back to camp and got ready for bed. You sleep pretty well when you get that much exercise and fresh air.

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