Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour


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© 2001,

Day 52 - Wednesday, August 8, 2001
Altorf, IL to Monon, IN
85 miles

Sometimes in my haste to get these out I forget to provide insights as to my state of mind while on tour! During my Chicago stay my wife's Uncle Bob had asked me (Bob's always asking questions!) if I would have a hard time on the bike right after the two days off. I told Bob that I'd probably be more refreshed from the time off.

My guess was right. With only one day of rest I feel a little stiff getting back on the bike, yet with more than two days rest I would have felt sluggish. Furthermore I was mentally exhausted from the midwest terrain (although the hospitality made up for it somewhat), and the two days off helped in that manner also.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

It was a warm night in the tent, although I still managed to sleep well. Once again I got a very early start to beat the forecast 90+ degree heat.

My hopes for a quiet ride to a breakfast place on Highway 102 were shattered when the highway widened to a four laner only a couple of miles from the campground. There was nowhere to go for breakfast in Bourbonnais, unless I wanted to go to Burger King or McDonalds - I was in Big K and Walmart land.

The next town (Kankakee suburb?) was Bradley. There must be a lot of veterans in town, with the VFW building, American Legion, etc. I finally found a place that was open - the "Great American Cafe", 9 miles into the ride. It must have been the best place (or only place?) in town, as four policemen - each with their own car parked outside - came in. It's somewhat amusing that you can predict where they're going to sit in the restaurant - they always want to face the door.

I found my way east out of town, then under I-57, and I was back in the cornfields again. The Illinois bike maps were more useful here for a number of reasons - the roads were better labeled, there were some good numbered highways to use, and finally you can sometimes figure out which road is which on the map if you're in a town center that you can use as a reference point.

I crossed into Indiana and had a lunch stop in Morocco. The waitress' son was looking into going to Purdue to major in chemical engineering, we were talking about that. Just as I was getting ready to leave, the owner drove up. We were talking about my trip - she offered to buy me lunch, but I had already eaten and paid up... Welcome to the home of Hoosier Hospitality!

I reconnected up with the Adventure Cycling "Northern Tier" route from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine just before stopping outside of Monon for the night. Long time readers with good memories will recall that I used the Northern Tier route for the first part of my trip, then branched off to do my own route.

I had (and still have) mixed feelings about using a route that is well-travelled by cyclists. When I checked into the campground, the question "west or east" from the campground host seemed to reduce the journey to a trivial exercise.

Greg, Kent, and Luke invited me to hang out over at their campsite. Free beer and food! They're from South Bend and are working on a construction job in the area. The job they're on didn't have a hotel allowance in the bid, so they get money to camp instead. (I hope they don't get any ideas about that where I work!)

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