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ADT JOURNAL: CHAPTER 48
Geneseo to Park Forest, IL
This chapter was written and sent on the Internet from the home and computer of Al Sturges, President of the Illinois Bike Federation. This chapter only covers three days, but we had good computer access tonight.
May 21, Thursday
Getting back on the Hennepin Canal Trail, we still had trouble with the grass and mud, especially after yesterday's rain. This grass, even though it had been mowed a week ago, made for slow and laborious travel. We took several bypasses on roads but always kept coming back to the trail to try another section. But, it was not to be! Every section we tried was tough and we could do no more than 5 mph and it was still very strenuous. We arrived at the Park Headquarters and met with Steve Moser, the superintendent.
Steve told us the same tale that almost every land manager in the United States tells. Whether it's the Park Service, Forest Service, State Parks, or County Conservation boards, there is never enough money to build and maintain trails. Steve said they plan to asphalt a section of the Hennepin this year but it could be years to allocate enough money to do the whole 76 miles. This is one reason the ADT legislation in congress is so important. Once the ADT is part of our National Trails System, states and localities will likely elevate the priority for trails that are part of the ADT.
We left the park and rode another mile or two along the canal. Then, we used gravel and paved roads to get to Wyanet, Princeton, Depue, and finally, Spring Valley. We had an excellent ride in perfect weather (except for the ever- present headwind).
In Princeton, we were taking a break at Casey's, the Midwestern convenience store chain that has a near monopoly in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and eastern Kansas and eastern Nebraska. The Schwann's truck had just made a delivery and the driver saw our bikes and stopped to talk with us. After a minute, he gave us each a free Popsicle off the truck more trail magic!
We spent the night in our tent at a Sportsman Camp about 10 miles from Spring Valley. Harv Hisgen had arranged for Howard McLachlan to pick us up and take us to the campground.
68.1 miles, 10.8 mph average, 6 hours 16 minutes,
May 22, Friday
We continued on to the lock and aqueduct at Aux Sables where we met a couple on a tandem out for an overnight camping trip. They had the largest panniers and most gear we've ever seen loaded onto a bike. They were carrying 100 pounds of gear, which is much more than the two of us are carrying for a trip across the country.
We left the trail after a few more miles and parked our bikes in a barn per Harv's arrangements and instructions. Harv arrived to pick us up and we drove to his house in Downers Grove for the night. Harv and Bonnie held a small party that night which included Laurie's sister, Marj, and her husband, John from nearby Elk Grove Village. We ate more and stayed up later than we should have, but we had a fun time.
52.9 miles, 10.7 mph average, 4 hours 53 minutes,
May 23, Saturday
After linking some roads together we entered the Old Plank Road Trail, a rail trail, by riding the first mile on single track. This trail will be extended an additional two miles with asphalt paving later this year. The rest of the trail is a paved trail, another example of a popular greenway. We saw many bikers and rollerbladers out on this Memorial Day weekend. We stopped in Frankfort at a small bike shop and Laurie bought a new jersey for only five dollars. They had only a limited selection, as they were no longer going to offer clothes. Another deli sold excellent sandwiches on homemade rolls.
We spent the night at Al and Barbara Sturges's house, along with Harv. Barbara is the secretary of the League of American Bicyclists (so you see we were staying with a couple of big wheels). They have taken many biking vacations together to many foreign countries and they are both super advocates for bike trails, bike lanes, and safer riding conditions. Both of the trails we rode today were real treasures and the route through Illinois is scenic and direct.
45 miles, 11.3 mph average, 3 hours 57 minutes,
© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1998, Lynchburg, VA.