TRIP 2015

Update #13 - July 08th
Yorkville, Illinois
4,821.28 miles (7,714.15 KM) - Year Total

Back on June 26th, I changed my plans for Trip Leg 4 and 5. I was going to end Trip Leg 4 in Macedonia, Iowa and then turn West across Nebraska to Eastern Colorado. During the first half of June, there was an EF3 tornado that hit the Coal City/ Diamond communities in Eastern Illinois. I decided to head there to see if there is something that I could do with the rebuilding effort. I'm about 40 miles (64 km) away from Coal City.

June 27 : Cherokee, IA to Pocahontas, IA : 53.62 miles (85.79 km)
Trip Total: 4,383.74 miles (7,013.98 km)

I had a good night at the motel in Cherokee. The night would have been better if I was given a room on the lower level. It took me five trips to get my gear down to the lower level hallway. At least, one of the other guests at the motel helped me get Alice down the flight of stairs. There was a hot breakfast so I got it before I checked out.

I left the motel around 8:30 am. I backtracked on US 59 for a mile and then I turned East on IA 3. There was about a three mile climb up to the top of the plateau. For most of the way East, there was some shoulder but an almost continuous rumble strip.

I rode through a large wind farm North of Alta. The wind turbines were a little smaller and instead of a pylon the generators were on tripods. There were over a hundred wind turbines. I stopped at a gas station at the intersection of IA 3 and US 71 for an early lunch break. I got back on the road before noon. I got about 29 miles by noon.

The afternoon ride to Pocahontas went okay. I got into Pocahontas around 2:30 pm. I saw a bank sign that said that the temperature was 85F. There was a local festival going on "Heritage Days". I found the police station at the city hall but there wasn't anybody around. I couldn't call any way because I didn't have cell coverage in the area. I rode over to the county courthouse and talked with the dispatcher for the sheriff department. The dispatcher offered to call for a police officer to come talk to me. The officer took me over to the city park. The Methodist minister was in the park waiting for the duck race to happen. The pastor offered to get me a room at the motel that I had passed coming into town.

June 29 : Pocahontas, IA to Clarion, IA : 53.12 miles (84.99 km)
Trip Total: 4,437.48 miles (7,099.97 km)

I had an okay night at the church. The room was pretty quiet so I was able to get some rest. The sofa was long enough so I was able to stretch my legs out without cramping.

I woke up around 5 am. I left the church around 7:20 am. Before heading out of town, I stopped to get some milk. The ride East went okay. There was a slight cross/tailwind to push me along. Depending on what county I was in, the shoulder went from good to bad. I got the first twenty miles in by 9:45 am. The miles clicked by. By noon, I rode 41 miles. I stopped at a Caseys in Goldfield for some lunch.

A couple of miles I had to ride through a couple mile road construction zone. They were putting down stone on the road shoulder. I made it through the zone without much problem.

I got into Clarion around 1:30 pm. I was thinking about keeping on going to Hampton but I decided to try and stop for the day. I found the pastor in at the United Presbyterian Church. Instead of trying to call his trustees to see if it would be okay for me to stay in the church for the night, the pastor offered to get me a room at a motel that I had passed coming into town.

Tomorrow might just be a short day tomorrow to Hampton because they are talking about rain in the afternoon.

June 30 : Clarion, IA to Hampton, IA : 32.13 miles (51.41 km)
Trip Total: 3,834,469.61 miles (7,151.38 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The night would have been better if the wifi network worked. I got on the road around 7:20 am. The ride was a little slow because of bad roads. I got into Hampton around 11:20 am. Spending the night in the youth room of the St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church. Pastor Steve took me out for dinner. There was going to be supper in the park tonight.

July 01 : Hampton, IA to Waverly, IA : 42.36 miles (67.67 km)
Trip Total: 4,511.97 miles (7,219.15 km)

I had an okay night at the church. I didn't stay long in the park. The first singer was getting warmed up on the stage when I decided to leave and head back to the church. Just not comfortable being around a lot of people who I don't know. I watched a movie on my laptop and then I fell asleep around 9 pm. I did wake up during the night to go to the restroom but I was able to fall asleep again and stayed asleep till around 5 am.

I moved everything downstairs and got Alice packed up. I left the church around 6:30 am. I didn't see any indication that anybody was up at the parsonage next door. It was cool in the mid sixties so I had to get my jacket out. The sky was pretty hazy.

The ride East was slow because I had a headwind to deal with and the road surface was pretty bad. It was really bump city. The ride was also slow because there were quite a few hills to cross over. Traffic for the most part was courteous but there were a few vehicles that got pretty close. There was this one guy in a car who showed his displeasure on me being on his road by blowing his car's horn clear around me. All I could do was just wave at him.

I got into Shell Rock around 11:45 am. I stopped at a gas station for a slice of pizza and something to drink. The six miles between Shell Rock and Waverly were harder still because in some places the pavement was really bad. The whole section of road between Hampton and Waverly needs to be done over.

I got into Waverly around 1 pm. I stopped at this one Lutheran church but the only person there was the janitor. On the way into Waverly, I got stopped by this lady in a car. She told me that she and her husband had ridden Ragbrai several times. She also said that they were on the Warm Showers list. I got invited to spend the night with them. It turned out that they were members of St Paul Lutheran Church downtown. The church hosted me last year when I came through the area.

July 02 : Waverly, IA to Independence, IA : 55.10 miles (88.16 km)
Trip Total: 4,567.07 miles (7,307.31 km)

I had an okay night at Liz and John's house. Liz washed all of my dirty clothes and I got them packed up and back on Alice. Liz and John have ridden Ragbrai several times. I got the website updated before I fell asleep.

I woke up a little bit before 5 am. I went upstairs around 6 am to get Alice packed up. John was up and he got me breakfast. Before John left for work at the college, he slipped me a GH. Liz got on her cycling clothes and she took me over to the trailhead of the rails to trails to Readlyn. Liz rode with me for about 4 miles before she turned around and headed back into town.

The ride to Readlyn went okay. The first part of the trail was rough with roots coming up from the pavement. In some places, there was washboarding. The trail went through three tunnels. About six miles out of Readlyn, the trail was much improved since the pavement was newer.

After a short break at a gas station in Readlyn, I got back on IA 3 for the ride to Oilwein. The ride was okay even though the road surface was bad for about 10 miles and there was a slight head/crosswind coming from the Northeast. Eight miles out of Oilwein the road became much improved with a paved shoulder to ride along. I got about 34 miles in by noon. Three miles out of Oilwein, the road turned South when it joined with IA 150.

I stopped for a late lunch at a McDs in Oilwein. After lunch, I continued on South to Independence on IA 150. There was a bike path to follow for a little bit. I did have a problem with a dog who chased me for a little bit. The rest of the ride to Independence went okay. There was a tailwind to push me along. IA 150 had a paved shoulder to ride along.

I got into Independence around 2:30 pm. I stopped at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. The pastor was in his office. Instead of letting me spend the night in the church, he offered to get me a room at a motel on the Western edge of town.

I'll be riding to Dyersburg tomorrow.

July 03 : Independence, IA to North Galena, IL : 90.47 miles (144.75 km)
Trip Total: 4,657.54 miles (7,452.06 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I got back on the road around 7:45 am. I headed East on D22, which was US 20 before the new 4-lane was made. I got about 30 miles in by noon.

I got into Dyersville around 2:30 pm. There seemed to be just one big Catholic church in town. I stopped at the police station to see if anybody knew of a local minister. This turned out to be a Catholic town. I got directions to the Heritage bike trail.

The trails is a rails to trails. There was supposed to be a day fee but there were no pay envelopes in the boxes. Once passed the small town of Farley, the ride was mostly downhill at a gradual level. The trail ended about 4 miles Northwest of the downtown area. I followed other paved paths to the downtown area. It was a little tricky finding the US 20 bridge.

The walkway across the bridge was closed because they were in the process of painting the bridge. Traffic was light across the bridge so I risked riding across it. Motorists were courteous.

After a short break in East Dubuque, I headed South on US 20 towards Galena. About 5 miles out of Galena, I found a place to camp out in a wooded field. It was about 9 pm when I got everything into the tent.

July 04 : North Galena, IL to Elizabeth, IL : 24.19 miles (38.70 km)
Trip Total: 4,691.73 miles (7,490.77 km)

I had a decent night camping out. I woke up around 5 am but I fell back asleep till around 6 am. I took my time packing up the tent because it was wet. It was around 7:50 am when I got back on the road.

It was about a five mile ride into the Northern outskitys of Galena. I stopped for breakfast at a McDs. I carefully rode down the hill into the main part of Galena and then I started the long climb out of the river valley.

About five miles south of Galena, my rear tire went soft. I found a really long piece of wire sticking out of the tire. I put in the new tube. It took a while getting the tire inflated and back on Alice. The heat drained me. There were a lot of hills to get up and over. A couple of them, I got off and walked up them pushing Alice. I stopped for lunch at a roadside rest. I only got about 14 miles in by noon.

The afternoon ride was a little better because I was on top of a ridge. By the time that I got into Elizabeth, I was feeling pretty drained. I saw a car at the Evangelical Lutheran Church. I talked with one of the elders. The pastor was on vacation. I could have stayed in the church for the day but there was an offer to get me a room at a motel several miles East of town. The only problem was that there was a long hill between me and the motel.

I'm going to be getting up early and ride to Stockton tomorrow morning and go to church there.

July 05 : Elizabeth, IL to Stockton, IL : 11.34 miles (18.14 km)
Trip Total: 4,693.07 miles (7,508.91 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. There were hot muffins and coffee for breakfast. I got on the road around 6:45 am. There were a couple of hills to get over.

I got into Stockton a little before 9 am. I decided to stop at Christ Lutheran Church. The church was next to a park. There was a roadrace going on. I watched some of it because it was ending in the park.

The service at the Lutheran Church started 10 am. I got to talk with the pastor before the service and got permission to spend the night in the church. The service was a little different because there was a choir from Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. There was a potluck afterwards.

July 06 : Stockton, IL to Mt Morris, IL : 40.12 miles (64.19 km)
Trip Total: 4,733.19 miles (7,573.10 km)

I had a bit of a rough night at the church. There were no couches in any of the sunday school rooms. The only thing other than a child sized table was a church pew. I found a couple of blankets that I used as padding along with my sleeping bag. I did get some sleep but I got a crick in my neck from having to sleep on my side instead of my usual position on my stomach. The room didn't get too dark because there was a lit sign in front of the window.

I got on the road around 7:40 am. The ride to Freeport went okay but there was a long delay because of a wreck. A semi truck crashed. The cab of the truck was really mangled and it looked like there was no way for the driver to survive.

I got into the Freeport area around 10 am. The sky was really getting dark. It looked like it was going to rain really soon. I stopped to get a loaf of bread. I tried to check out some of the local churches downtown. I stopped at the united Presbyterian Church. I talked with the secretary over an intercom. I was told that the pastor was on vacation. I was told to check out the Episcopal Church a block away. I heard some people talking in a back room but there wasn't anybody in the office. When i went outside, the rain started up. I didn't feel like trying to check out any other churches because the population was 26K. There was an indication that there was a shelter in town.

I decided to head out and get on IL 26 towards Dixon. I did stop for some lunch. The ride to Forreston went okay. I got into Forreston around 2:30 pm. It was too far to go to Dixon. I went around to check out a couple of the churches. I stopped at the police station and I talked with an officer. I was able to get connected with the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. There was an offer to get me a room at a motel in Mt Morris and transportation was made to the motel.

July 07 : Mt Morris, IL to Rochelle, IL : 28.84 miles (46.14 km)
Trip Total: 4,762.03 miles (7,619.25 km)

I had a bit of an off night at the motel. I just couldn't get comfortable. The bed was short. When I layed on my stomach, my feet hung over the bed. To alleviate that I had to sleep diagonally. I did fall asleep but I didn't feel rested when I woke up. I was hoping to take a shower but the water didn't get hot. I don't like running water forever wasting gallons of it. There was supposed to be wifi but there must have been something wrong with the modems because I got just a bar.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. The sky was really overcast. There was a stiff wind coming from the Northeast at about 20 mph. The road was really bad and there wasn't much of a shoulder to speak of. There was a lot of traffic including several pieces that I had to get off the road for because they were extra wide loads.

By noon, I had only made 20 miles. I was going to ride East to Sycamore but when I got to IL 251 I turned South to Rochelle. The cross/headwind became a tailwind. I got into Rochelle around 12:40 pm. I stopped for some lunch. I decided to try and stop for the day.

I stopped at the United Methodist church. The pastor had only been there a week, He looked very young. I got permission to stay in the youth room for the night. The church is open to people spending the nights because they have hosted work camps before.

I'm about 84 miles away from Coal City.

July 08 : Rochelle, IL to Yorkville, IL : 59.25 miles (94.80 km)
Trip Total: 4,821.28 miles (7,714.15 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night at the church. The youth room was pretty comfortable to stay in. The sofa that I picked was pretty comfortable. There was a mattress in it but I didn't want to move any furniture around to pull it out. I was so relaxed in the room that I took a much needed couple hour nap. There was wifi so I was able to update my website. I watched some movies before falling asleep around 10 pm.

I woke up a little after 5 am. I felt pretty refreshed. Instead of getting breakfast off my bike, I decided to get breakfast at McDs. It was a little cool in the upper 50s so I had to get my jacket on. I backtracked about a mile to the McDs. After breakfast, I headed East on IL 38. There was some shoulder to ride along to DeKalb. East of DeKalb, there was more shoulder. I got into the Elborn area around noon. I stopped for some lunch.

After lunch, I headed South on IL 47. There was a paved shoulder most of the way to Sugar Grove. I had to stop and work on my rear tire because it was going soft. I didn't find anything in the tire but I did find a pinhole leak. I was back on the road in about a half hour. I backtracked a block to a grocery store that I had passed to get a few things.

The sky was getting a little dark. A couple of miles out of Sugar Grove it started to lightly rain. Going through Yorkville, I hit a couple of mile section of road construction. I got into the downtown area just beyond the Fox River. I'm about 8 miles away from where I got on the Fox River Trail. There wasn't much in the downtown area. I couldn't find the police station but I did meet up with a police officer at a gas station. He called the dispatcher. The department didn't have a chaplain and there wasn't an active ministerial association. I was told that the nearest church to me was St Patricks Catholic Church about a mile and a half to the North of me. I had to backtrack across the Fox River and most of the way through the construction zone. On the way this guy in a car stopped me and slipped me $5 in a GH.

I got to the church a little after 5 pm. There wasn't a rectory. I was able to talk with one of the priests and one of the main church members. There was an offer to get me at a Super 8 that I had passed. The motel was a half mile away from the church.

I'm about 30 miles away from Coal City.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between July 15th and July 22nd.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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