Best part of the day: Our Bloomington Warm Showers hosts
Worst part of the day: Another muggy day
Distance: 61 miles Riding Time: 4hrs 49min
Bed count: 35 Sleeping Bag count: 20
One interesting thing we forgot to mention from a couple of days ago when we rode into Springfield. As we were riding into Springfield on 9th Street, we encountered pot holes, nothing new throughout this trip, but, it was what we saw at the bottom of the pot holes, bricks!! At one time the streets were made of brick like back in Lincoln’s time, but, was eventually those roadways were covered by asphalt.
Getting back to today. This morning, we learned that a tornado had hit the town of El Reno causing death and destruction. We had ridden through that very town on the day we arrived at Rob’s brother’s place and was only about 15 miles from their home! It’s eerie that more than one town through which we had previously ridden has either been hit by a tornado or had a tornado scare! That tells you how lucky we’ve been being able to dodge these severe storms ever since we hit the Midwest.
As for today, Christine made us a nice waffle breakfast this morning. We then headed back to our room to finish getting our stuff ready and loaded onto our bikes. Karl was joining us on the ride out for about 6-7 miles showing us the way, but first, he took Beau for a mile run (Karl on his bike, of course!!).
The weather was sunny and a bit warm for 8:30 when the three of us were ready to go. We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to Christine and off we went. Taking a nicer way out of their residential area than Rob would’ve used, Karl led us back on our ACA route towards the town of Sherman. Along the way, Karl told us that he was actually blind in one eye, having been that way since his premature birth. So, he always had to ride on the right side. He’d kept track of all the miles he’d ridden which he said was around 175,000! Arriving in Sherman, we said our thank you’s and goodbyes to as he took his leave to return home.
Like yesterday, our route was pretty much flat and straddled both I-55 and the Union Pacific railroad tracks past farms of newly planted corn or soybeans. Because of all the recent rains, the plants were well below in size for what they ought to be by this time. And once again, we had nice tailwinds for the entire ride!!
We rolled into the town of Lincoln and stumbled upon the Logan County Clerk of the Circuit Court building. It was there that Lincoln gave a 2-hour speech at a Republican meeting there on the building’s steps.
Took a Subway break further down in Lincoln. Brought in our map to continue figuring out to what town we’d want to ride tomorrow. It was a nice respite. Continued on again still sandwiched between the interstate and the RR tracks. So, not much to see but the same tilled farm lands.(These plants should be so much bigger by this time, but, the rain has impacted their growth!!)
Rolling into the village of McLean, we came upon a US flag-lined main street since today was Memorial Day. The folks in these parts are very patriotic and had a small-town feel.
(top: In McLean, a mural with the US flags going down the block. bottom: looking down Main St. and all the flags on both sides of the street.)
(Grain silos and a waiting train outside of McLean.)
Our route eventually got us to a bike path, the Constitution Trail. We paused momentarily to text our Warm Showers host, Julian, to let him know that we were now about 10 miles out and should take about an hour for us to arrive. This was a very nice bike path. It brought us into southern Bloomington where we had to navigate some surface streets before returning once again to the bike path.
Soon we arrived at our destination. Julian warmly greeted us at his door. He immediately recognized Rob’s bike as one from the bike maker, Rivendell! How surprised we were when he told us that he had three of them! One of them, a Hubbah Hubbah tandem which they use for local rides, and the other Rivendells, a Clem Smith and a Quick Beam, were single rider bikes!(top: Their orange Hubbah Hubbah tandem and Julian’s Clem Smith; bottom: Julian’s QuickBeam; all with Brooks saddles!)
His wife of 13 years, Noha, was at the side door to greet us as well. We unloaded our essential stuff before putting our bikes into the shed. Inside the shed, Julian showed us his “small” collection of bikes: the three Rivendells, two other single rider bikes, and, a 2nd tandem, a Bilenky which had S&S couplers for when they’ve traveled long distances to cycle.
Then we went inside their very old, but, cute 2-story home. Julian had been doing a lot of work on their house the last several years. He showed us where our room was (upstairs) and we got ourselves cleaned up. Their shower’s bathtub was of the vintage “claw” tub style! Julian said it was about 100 years old! We’d never showered in a tub of that style! It was so neat that the stairs creaked with every step we took! So, you always knew when someone was using the stairs!!
Back downstairs, we got a chance to relax with them where we learned that they are political science professors at Illinois State University. A few days ago when we had researched Warm Showers hosts for Bloomington, we had read their profile which said that they’d cycled in Japan! That excited us! So, we got a chance to learn more about their experiences cycling in Japan, specifically on Hokkaido Island, where we are contemplating as a possible cycling destination next year.
They’re also traveling to Germany this summer for a class reunion of Noha’s. They’ll be bringing their “traveling” tandem with them. After that event, they’ll then be cycling to Denmark, take a ferry to Gothenburg, Sweden, then cycle to Trondheim, Norway!!
Julian made a wonderful pasta dinner with delicious homemade bread and a Caesar salad. We had chocolates for dessert.
They’re a fascinating couple who have done a lot of cycling and we had a great evening learning about all of their adventures!
Until our next post….