TRIP 2016

Update #11 - May 29th
Bryan, Ohio
Trip 48 : 2,245.25 miles (3,592.40 km)
Year Total : 2,998.17 miles (4,797.07 km)

May 17, 2016 : Dodgeville, WI to Mount Horeb, WI : 22.97 miles (36.75 km)
Trip Total: 1,822.21 miles (2,915.54 km)
Year Total: 2,575.09 miles (4,120.40 km)

The motel's name was The Quiet House but it wasn't the case for me. Around 9:30 PM, there was a really loud noise. It sounded like either a whirlpool that was going bad or a bathroom fan going bad and it was coming from possibly above me. Turning the tv loud and cranking up the AC / heater unit didn't help much. Around 10:30 pm, I had enough and I went to the desk to talk to the clerk. She went upstairs and reported to me that the people above me had the bathroom fan on. Around 11 PM, the noise finally stopped.

I woke up a little before 6 AM. There was a pretty decent breakfast. I had to get out my cold weather gear again. A thunderstorm had gone through the area last night and the cold front was moving through the area. The temperature was back into the 40s and there was a headwind.

I left the motel a little before 8 AM. I followed some local roads for about 4 miles before I got on US 18/ US 151. There was a wide paved shoulder to ride along. There were a couple of long climbs to get over. When I got to Ridgeway, I was able to get off the 4 lane highway and get on local roads through Blue Mounds to Mt Horeb.

I got into Mt Horeb around 2:30 pm. I had enough of the cold. The high got a little over 60. I decided to see if I could stop for the day. I stopped at Grace Lutheran. The pastor was in the office. He offered to meet me at a local motel on the other side of the downtown area and get me a room for the night. The room was okay but it was a little small. There was a small garage with a door that I could put Alice in but to keep her safe I locked her to a large wooden ladder.

The secretary told me that there was going to be a free meal at the community center between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. The meal was being prepared by one of the local churches. Today was going to the the FUMC.

May 18, 2016 : Mount Horeb, WI to Monroe, WI : 34.87 miles (55.793 km)
Trip Total: 1,857.08 miles (2,971.33 km)
Year Total: 2,609.96 miles (4,175.94 km)

The motel room was okay but it was a little small. Because of this, I had to keep Alice in the garage. Around 5 PM, I walked back into the downtown area so I could take part in the free community free meal that was being served at the community / senior center. The churches in town take turns putting on the meals. The United Methodist church prepared and served the meal last night. Along the was, I took some more pictures of the trolls. On the way back to the motel, I found a good water bottle in the gutter.

I had an okay night. The sun woke me up a little before 6 AM. I got on the road a little after 8 AM. The ride South on SR 92 went okay. For about five miles there was a good downhill coast. There was an uphill climb but I was able to ride up it. It became warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off. About 14 miles S of Mount Horeb, I got on SR 39/SR 69. I stopped for a break at a gas station in New Glarus. Coming out of New Glarus, there was a really long climb. I was able to ride up three-quarters of it.

The rest of the ride to Monroe went okay. There were several more less steeper climbs to get over. I got into Monroe around 3 PM. After a short break at a gas station, I rode into the downtown area. I stopped at the Grace Lutheran Church. I talked with a friendly secretary. There was a funeral at the church in the morning and the pastor had left for the day afterwards. The secretary offered to get me a room at one of the local motels for the night.

May 19, 2016 : Monroe, WI to Cherry Valley, IL : 62.73 miles (100.37 km)
Trip Total: 1,919.81 miles (3,071.70 km)
Year Total: 2,672.69 miles (4,276.30 km)

The motel room was okay. It would have been nicer if the room would have been downstairs. There were two buildings and supposedly all the rooms downstairs were taken. There was an okay breakfast. It took me six trips to get everything downstairs.

I left the motel around 7:45 AM. It was warm enough that I didn't have to wear my jacket. I backtracked through the downtown area and rode along some local roads so that I could get on WI 11/WI 81 about 3 miles out of Monroe. The ride was okay because there was a wide shoulder.

I stopped for a break at a gas station. A lady before going into the store told me that she got tears in her eyes when she saw the sign on the back of Alice. When she came out of the store, she slipped me a small GH.

The good shoulder that I was riding along disappeared when WI 81 split off of WI 11. The roadway became really bad. There were a lot of cracks in the concrete pavement. The shoulder was really bad. There were several hills to get over. I stopped along side the road to have some lunch.

I got into Beloit around 3:30 pm. I tried making contact with a couple of the Warm Showers members. One of the members were in Madison and wouldn't be in Beloit till 9 pm. The other contact wasn't home. I was just able to leave a voice mail message. I kept on riding through Beloit. I rode through the downtown area.

Right before I crossed back into Wisconsin, I decided to stop at a McDs. At a street corner near the McDs, there was this guy who might have been homeless holding up a sign. Before going into the McDs, I rode over to him and asked him if he was hungry and wanted a hamburger. The guy told me that he was starving. I rode back to the McDs and I got two hamburgers (one for myself). Once I got outside, the guy nearly ran over to me to get his hamburger. It didn't last very long. I told him to go back to the corner and I would come back and give him some food out of the food pannier. I gave him a small plastic sandwich bag full of food. While I was putting my food back into the pannier, I got a call from the last person that I called but when I returned the call I got their answering machine again. After about five minutes, I called up again but I got the answering machine again so I just left a second message saying that I was moving on into Illinois. There was another Warm Showers member in Roscoe, IL seven miles away. I called up the Warm Showers member there but I was just able to leave a message.

I crossed into S Beloit, IL and I rode along side roads to get on IL 251 and I headed S. It was about a 7 mile ride ito Roscoe. I tried the Warm Showers member again but they weren't home. I stopped at a McDs to get on the web and also to fill up my empty water bottles. I found out that there was a Warm Showers member in Rockford but they didn't have a phone number on their page. I checked out the white pages online and I got a number that I hoped was that person. I called up that phone number but I was just able to leave a message.

It was going to be at least a 10 mile ride into Rockford. From Roscoe, it was basically residences all the way into Rockford. In Loves Park, I saw some activity at a Lutheran Church. There were some older ladies taking some bags and boxes out of the church into their vehicles. I decided to stop and ask the ladies if they knew how I could contact the pastor there. The ladies weren't that friendly towards me so I just left. After riding about a couple of blocks, I got stopped by one of the ladies and her husband. After talking to me for a few minutes, the lady slipped me a GH.

There were no woods to stop in along the way into Rockford. I got into downtown Rockford around 7:45 PM. I didn't get a call from the Warm Showers member. It would have been nice to meet him because he has a ministry and did a mission ride across the country in 2013.

Before heading East on Bus US 20, I stopped at a Family Dollar to get some new batteries. When it got darker, I started to ride on the sidewalks. I got through the residential area before it got really dark and I started to ride through the business section closer to the interstate. I stopped at a lighted parking lot to put in new batteries in my lights. The only thing that I couldn't get working was the rear flasher. I thought that it would be okay because of all of the retro-reflective items on my panniers and safety flag.

At least traffic was light. It was almost 10:15 PM when I finally got to I-39. About a half mile East of the interstate, I finally came across some woods that I might be able to camp out in. I found a cove to camp out in. The only minor problem was a electric video billboard close by. It was almost 10:40 pm when I finally crawled into the tent.

May 20, 2016 : Cherry Valley, IL to Marengo, IL : 21.76 miles (34.82 km)
Trip Total: 1,941.57 miles (3,106.51 km)
Year Total: 2,694.45 miles (4,311.12 km)

I had an okay night camping out. It didn't get cold. I slept through the night till around 6 AM. I took a little bit of time packing up. The temperature had to be in the 60s.

I got back on the road around 7:40 AM. There was a little bit of a headwind but not as bad as yesterday. The ride through the Belvidere. Even with the headwind, I was thinking that I was making good time but things changed when I got into NcHenry County. The wide shoulder disappeared. It was a really narrow shoulder that was really rough. Truck traffic was really bad. I rode my mirror a lot.

Around noon, I was about three miles out of Marengo. I had only ridden almost 19 miles. I stopped at the entrance of a church and stopped for a lunch break. About a half hour later, I got back on the road. Traffic was still high and I got off the road wherever I could.

I got into Marengo around 1:20 pm. The road improved some and there was a little bit shoulder to ride along. I stopped for ashort break at a McDs to get a hamburger and to get on the web. As I was coming into the parking, there were four olderguys getting ready to complete their local ride around the town. We talked for about 15 mins. Before they left, three of the guys slipped me small GHs.

Around the corner was the First Presbyterian Church. They were having a plant, book sale, tea party. The ladies running the sale were really friendly. They told me that they been without a pastor since January. One of the ladies was the clark of sessions. She called the head deacon. While we were waiting for the guy to arrive, one of the ladies paid for a glass of iced tea for me and another lady paid for a plate of desserts for me. On the way to the church, the guy went out to a small motel that I had passed and paid for a room there for me.

I'm about 27 miles out of Elgin. Hopefully, the truck traffic will not be as bad tomorrow morning between town and I-90.

May 21, 2016 : Marengo, IL to Elgin, IL : 30.17 miles (48.27 km)
Trip Total: 1,971.74 miles (3,154.78 km)
Year Total: 2,724.62 miles (4,359.59 km)

I had a pretty good night at the motel outside of Marengo. With the unpaved parking lot, you would have thought that the rooms would have been run down but they were not. The room that I got was really nice. Everything was clean and well kept. There was a big flat screen tv on the wall. There was electric radiant heat with a thermostat instead of an air conditioner/ heater unit. I was hoping for at least an ac unit to cut down the traffic noise since I was less than 40 feet from the highway but traffic pretty well died down after dark. Truck traffic was minimal. There wasn't any wifi. The room didn't have a minifridge or microwave either. I will still have to put a good review for the Sunset Motel on Trip Advisor.

I woke up around 5 AM. Instead of getting breakfast out of the food pannier, I left the motel a little after 7 am and I rode back into town to the McDs to get a light breakfast. The temperature was already in the 60s. Traffic was pretty well non-existant going into town. The largest vehicle on the road was a tractor pulling a large piece of farm equipment.

Instead of eating inside the McDs, I got my stuff take out and I sat at one of the picnic tables. As I was eating breakfast and tapping out a couple of emails on my cellphone, this guy who was also a customer came by to my table and put a $10 bill on the table. He told me just to say a few prayers for him.

As I was leaving the McDs parking lot around 8 AM, I noticed that some people were getting things ready again at the Presbyterian Church for the second day of their plant sale. On the way out of town, I stopped at a Family Dollar to get some more food to fill up my food pannier. I rather have a full food pannier instead of a full wallet.

I was kind of worried that there wasn't going to be any shoulder to ride along US 20 East of Marengo like there wasn't on the West side but the highway was much improved and there was a wide paved shoulder that was separated by a rumble strip. The winds had shifted so I had a tailwind advantage. I stopped for a short break at a McDs outside of Harmony where I-90 crossed over US 20. I talked to a couple of people there. I really wasn't worried about making my usual 20 miles in by noon. I stopped at a gas station outside of Pinegrove.

. Instead of continuing on US 20 to Elgin, I headed East on IL 72 to W Dundee where I hoped to get on the Fox River Trail. The ride on IL 72 went pretty well. There were several long stretches of road construction but I made through them okay. Car traffic was heavy but the motorists were courteous towards me. I rode through W Dundee and crossed the Fox River into East Dundee where I got on the Fox River Trail. It was so nice to get away from cars for a while.

There was a lot of bike traffic on the trail from people on bikes too small for them and guys in spandex thinking that the trail was a race track. I rode down the trail into Elgin. I thought that I would try and see if one of the Warm Showers members were home. I called up Becky. She invited me over to their house.

May 22, 2016 : Elgin, IL to Tavares, IL : 33.77 miles (54.03 km)
Trip Total: 2,005.21 miles (3,208.82 km)
Year Total: 2,758.39 miles (4,413.42 km)

I woke up around 5:40 am. I quietly went upstairs so I could go to the bathroom and get cleaned up. Becky last night had given me a box of breakfast bars and I ate a couple of them. Watched a movie on my laptop, Megan came downstairs around 7:00 AM. Becky came downstairs around 7:20 AM. She had a hard time remembering where she put the key to open up the side door of the garage.

After saying goodbye, I left their house around 7:30 AM. It was already in the low 60s so I didn't have to wear my coat. I took a different route back to the Fox River Trail. Between Elgin and st Charles, there were several places where the route was closed but there were no detour signs. I had to ask for directions. There were a couple of spots that I missed an unmarked turn and found myself on a connecting path. Luckily, I didn't get that far on the wrong paths and there were other cyclists around to give me directions.

Around 9:45 am, I come upon this large church in St Charles. I had to go around it to find what the church was. It was the Bethlehem ELCA church. First service had started around 9 am and it was almost over. Heard the sounds of a bell choir. Second service was going to start around 10:30 a.m. I went inside to find a restroom. I got to meet the sr pastor. He seemed sort of friendly. There was a donut sale in the parlor to raise funds for the Heifer Project. Lots of Heifer Projects certificates on the hallway walls. The pastor bought me a donut. A guy went out to get me some water. There was a group of elderly ladies in their 70s and 80s. They asked me what I'm doing so I shared with them. The guy had joined us. Because of this, I'm going to call this a church (23rd church for the year, 17th church for the year). We shared for about 20 minutes. One of the ladies bought me another donut before she left.

There was about a half hour before the second service started so I waited in the front foyer sitting on a bench. For about 15 minutes, I was pretty well ignored. Nobody smiled or stopped to talk to me. Everybody was pretty well self-focused on themselves. When I went into the sanctuary, I was pretty well ignored. None of the ushers said anything to me. One of the ushers who was handing out bulletins greeted the lady in front of me with a smile and a few words but he just gave me a bulletin. Nobody gave me any handshakes. All I could think to myself was "For I was a stranger and you didn't welcome me". Nobody came by to talk to me. There were some people across the aisle who were talking really loud and the guy in shorts was playing with his cellphone. I didn't want to stay here and I was getting ready to leave. Looking at the bulletin, I saw that there was some kind of shelter in the area. The clincher for me getting up to leave was when the lady assistant pastor started to come up to me but swerved at the last second to go and talk to somebody behind me. She didn't even give me any smile. It was just a couple of minutes before the service was to start but I just got up and walked up a side aisle and left the sanctuary. The sr pastor was in back talking to the ushers but none of them said anything to me. What a social club church. It was nice to talk with the elderly ladies because they were from an older generation that showed compassion.

It was okay not going to church this morning. I've done it before. I've gone into churches but left right before the service started because I didn't feel welcome. I want to worship instead of just attending a service. Totally opposite from the Lutheran church up in WI.

It didn't take long to get back on the trail. I took a short video of a mother mallard giving swimming lessons to her seven ducklings. Going down the path, I took my time. I stopped at a picnic table under a tree to have some lunch. There were a lot of people to talk to. There were quite a few people who were riding trikes. Most of them were really small and low with inches between the path surface and their butts. There was one guy on a trike and he had a homemade canopy above him. He didn't stop when I tried to flag him down.

I stopped to talk to this older couple who had taller trikes (at least ten or more inches of clearance). One was an ICE trike. The guy what a folding solar panel on the back of his trike. Three panels that folded up like a notebook. The guy told me that it cost him $39 on Amazon. Use it to charge up his Ipad. They were listening to music from the Ipad via a wireless battery powered speaker. The lady was riding a higher more expensive trike. 13 inch clearance. Full suspension and adjustable boom and headrest. Hp Velotek from Germany. I was told that the trike cost $6.5k. Both trikes had headrests. Talked with them maybe 20 minutes.

Talked with two young ladies for about twenty minutes in matching jerseys and on uprights. They were supposedly on a training ride for an upcoming trip across the country. Starting in Portland, OR and ending in Washington DC. They were pretty amazed at hom much I knew about the country. One of the ladies had an almost hybrid bike with 1.5 inch tires while the younger lady had a racing bike with less than an inch wide tires. Told her that this was the wrong kind of bike for the trip. Was supposed to be self-supported and taking about two months. All that they are going to do is see the white line.

Talked with an older couple on Sun lwbs. Lady told me that they were Catholic. Overall, the time on the Trail was okay. Lots of people. Lots of walkers. People on bikes that were not fitted to them properly. Lots of people (mostly men) in spandex on racing bikes going really fast like the path was their own personal race course. Most of the people weren't courteous when they passed me or other people. Talked with maybe two dozen people. Took a lot of pictures. Lots of nature. Lots of geese and ducks with babies. Stopped to take a video of some ducks sitting on a long log in the river. At one end, there was a trio of ducklings that were big but were just getting in their flying feathers. At the other end was a mother mallard that had a clutch of six baby ducklings. Along the trail, I Had to dodge a lot of bird poop on the path. At the river's edge, there were a lot of people fishing. There were also a lot of people wearing high wading boots to fly fish. Wuite a lot of people caught small mouth bass. There were also a lot of kayakers. Traffic on the thinned out on the trail the farther south that I got. Between Aurora and Oswego, there were gaps in the trail. There was no actual trailhead in Oswego.

In Oswego, it took a little finding and getting on Plainfield Road. I didn't want to get caught on US 30. Road crews were finishing up repaving of Plainfield Road. Ride was pretty smooth.

Around 6:15 pm, I came across a big church outside of Tavares called Harvest New Beginnings. Turned out that it was Harvest Baptist Church. Very large complex. People were gathering in a large gymanasium. Large multi-purpose room. Stage show church. No crosses or altar. Thought that this would just be a presentation church but according to the bulletin the church did social ministries like there was a food bank at the church. End of sermon series named un-named heroes. Got into sanctuary as the praise team was ending. Guy who was the senior pastor was in a new Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt. Promo t-shirt for the new upcoming movie. The pastor started talking about the turtles but then it switched to Daniel 3 at what happened to Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego. Sermon was pretty good. I was expecting a short video clip from the Veggie Tales video of the three guys and the tall chocolate Easter bunny.

After the service, I talked with the sr pastor whose name was Scott. Scott was pretty excited when I told him from where I was from and what I was doing. He told me that one of his staff - a guy named Shular had recently arrived back home after taking a trip along the Southern Tier Route by bike. Shular wasn't at the church but one of the guys named Eric had Shular's phone mumber. Scott contacted Paul (the exec pastor) to see where I could spend the night. The complex was on a security system which didn't have any zones. Paul suggested that I could spend the night camping out in the playground where there were wood chips. The only problem was that the playground was up front with just a parking lot and a narrow strip of land separating it from the road. Paul thought that I would be okay because traffic would be light. There was a playground set where I could camp out behind. The only problem that I saw was that there security lights around. Next to the playground there was a concrete patio with round metal tables and chairs. Paul got me a meal of left 0ver cheese pizza from the youth department, which was in the old sanctuary, a large piece of chocolate cake, and some sodas. Paul joined me at the table while I ate. Shular arrived and he had with him a young guy in his early twenties named Eric. Erich was one of the church's av techs. Shular brought along a bag of goodies for me. Scott joined us at the table. Because of this, I'm calling this my 24th church for the year (18th for the trip). We talked about bicycle touring, religion, and had prayer together. It was interesting that Shular had stayed with some friends of mine in Louisiana near Jacksons. The Templetons had opened up a hostel for cyclists going across the country on the Southern Tier Route. We all talked till dark. Before Paul left, he slipped me a GH. Eric slipped me a GH as well.

I started to put up my tent in the playground but I stopped to check out where Paul told me where the water spigot was. The water spigot was in an area where an old industrial air conditioning unit stood. There was a concrete slab that was hidden from sight by a row of tall bushes. The slab looked like it was big enough to put my tent on it. I portaged all my gear over there. At least, I felt a little more hidden from sight. I just have to be careful not to get that close to the windows of the building because of the alarm system.

The goal for tomorrow is to get into Joliet, find the trailhead to the Old Plank RtT linear park, and try and get across the state line into Indiana.

May 23, 2016 : Tavares, IL to Sauk Village : 55.82 miles (89.31 km)
Trip Total: 2,061.33 miles (3,298.13 km)
Year Total: 2,814.21 miles (4,502.74 km)

I got some rest but I'm not sure how much. I did sleep quite lightly. I was just in a very odd location. Something was also scurrying close by at the building's edge and bumping into the long wooden ladder next to the concrete slab. I didn't feel tired when I woke up.

The birds woke me up around 4 AM The sun came up quite early. I packed up quickly and I left the church grounds around 6 AM. The ride into Plainfield went okay. I got on IL 59 South for the ride to Shorewood where I would get on US 52 for the ride into Joliet.

Since I didn't have any breakfast off of the bike, I stopped at a McDs in Plainfield. I wanted to charge up my electronics and get on the web. I wanted to see if there were any WS members in the area. It was neat watching this young black guy take care of his customers. He seemed to know the likes of the frequent customers and he brought their food to their tables. I learned that the guy's name was Bryan. He should be cloned. He had a really good work ethnic and attitude. I probably was there at the McDs for a little over an hour.

I stopped at a Walmart to see about getting some new lights (especially a new tail light). The light sets would probably not work because they were made for being put on without any tools. I tried to get some groceries but the package sizes were too big and too expensive.

Because of the traffic, the ride to Shorewood was slow. In Shorewood, I headed East on US 52. I rode passed the Joliet airport.

There was another Walmart so I thought that I would try there and see what kind of bike lights they had. As I was riding up to the front of the store, I saw this guy walking an old mountain bike that was fastened to three large two wheeled bike carts. The carts weren't the small ones that fold up and carrying really young children in them but the large ones that had plastic shells and 26 inch tires. Each one of them were packed yo the gills with a lot of stuff that were covered in tarps. The piles were nearly double deckered and there was a lot of Christian stuff on them (signs, flags, banners, plastic statues). From one end at the tip of the bicycle to the back of the third cart, the distance mu st have been at least 20 feet or more. There was more stuff so the height must have been seven foot tall. The carts were at least three feet wide. The guy was tall, old, overweight, and grizzled. He had to have been homeless. He couldn't go to any shelter because he had a small old white haired dog with him (terrier, chihuahua mix) that he carried in a front facing baby carrier papoose style. The guy said that he has been doing street evangelism in Joliet the past 17 years. I don't know how the guy was moving these things. The guy told me that the trailers weighed around 500 pounds. I would have believed that they had weighed more. He told me that he couldn't travel much because of the heat and high blood pressure. I talked with him for a while. People did know him. They stopped to talk with him. Some slipped him GHs. While I was there, somebody had given him a Subway meatball sub and chips. There was a Subway store inside the Walmart.

I went in and got some lights. I'm probably going to have to use electrical tape to fasten them onto Alice. Something in me showed me that I needed to show some compassion to the little dog. I went to the pet food section and got a couple of bags of soft food dog treats. When I gave the bags of treats to the guy for his dogk he did seem appreciated. The guy told me that he wanted to give me half of the meatloaf sub. Since it was getting close to noon, I accepted.

There was another park bench nearby so I went back to it because that is where I parked Alice. I sat on the bench to eat the sub. About ten minutes later, the guy came over with the other half of the sub and the bag of chips. He told me that God told him to do it. Five minutes later, the guy came by with a bottle of soda. I packed up the other sub half and the chips. The guy also told me that I needed to get into the downtown area near the courthouse and the railroad station to find the trailhead for the bike trail. Before leaving the Walmart parking lot, I talked with and helped out a state social worker who was picking out some bicycles for some of his clients.

The ride into downtown Joliet was kind of long. Along the way, I stopped at a McDs to go to the restroom and to get something to drink. When I got outside, I saw that there was a young couple sitting on the grass by the end of the parking lot between the cars. They had a two wheeled laundry cart filled with stuff and it looked like they might have been homeless. I went over to them to ask them if they were hungry and if they wanted the half of the meatloag sub. The guy flatly refused the sub becasue he said that he didn't like Subway. He did want to know what kind of chips I had so I gave him the bag of Doritos.

It was a long ride into the downtown area and I got a little lost. I had to get across a drawbridge. I got across the bridge just before it had to open up for some kind of sailboat to go under. I didn't see the boat closely but it looked like it was a replica Viking sailing ship.

There were a couple of homeless guys in front of the court house. One guy told me that he had already eaten at a nearby rescue mission. The other guy that I talked to accepted the sub. He also gave me more definite directions to get to the trailhead. Along the way to the trailhead, I rode passed the rescue mission.

It was good to finally get to the trailhead of the bike trail. I had to use the restroom and there was a place to fill up my water bottles. There was also a picnic table to I took the time to fix the space bar on front of Alice and put on the new headlight and tail light. I've now got three headlights up front. I stopped to talk to some young college aged girls who had matching jerseys on. They were on a training ride for a trip across the country. They were going to have sag support and planned to take at least 71 days to ride across the country. As I was finishing up, this lady stopped at the shelter and she had a small dog with her that rode in the handlebar bag. We talked for a while. While we were talking, a thin tall black guy kind of hunkered down near the bike trail. He played around with his flip-phone but occasionally he looked at us strangely. He looked like he was up to no good and was just waiting for the right moment to try something bad. I softly talked to the lady about my concerns and she was getting a bit worried as well. I told her that I would stay with her. She told me that she was getting ready to head out again to the other end of the trail. I offered to ride in back of her. It was almost 3:30 pm when we headed down the trail. The lady took off and I couldn't keep up with her.

The ride along the trail was okay but there wasn't much to see. The path was a linear park maybe thirty feet wide and there were either bushes or tall trees on either side blocking the view of neightborhoods. At every insersection, you had to stop because cars had the right-of-way. Along the Fox River Trail, there were warning lights at most intersections. At some intersections, I had to wait a really long time because there were long lines of vehicles going both directions. The road surface was pretty washboardy in some places. I had to stop and put more air into the bike tires. I also had to do some minor repair on the chain tube hanger.

It was almost 8 PM when I finally got to the end of the trail in Park Forest. I still had to travel south about a mile or so to get on Sauk Trace Road. It was almost dusk when I headed East on Sauk Trace Road. Along the way there were forest preserves but there was no fire trails or breaks in the concrete shoulder. There was no way that I was going to try and jump the concrete shoulder. I stopped to turn on my lights and to also put on the caving light on my helmet. At least traffic heading East was light.

I got into Sauk Village around 9:20 PM. People were still being served at the McDs. I rode over there to see if I could get a hamburger and to use the restroom. The night manager who was black was mopping the dining room floor. He told me that the dining room was closed. I asked him if I could use the restroom and he let me in. He asked what I wanted to eat. I told him that I just wanted a hamburger and something to drink. By the time that I got out of the restroom, the manager whose name was Thaddeus had already gotten the hamburger and drink ready. When I went to the cash register he told me that it was free. I told him that I was a minister and he said that he was a minister as well. I sat down at one of the round tables outside. When I reached inside the bag for the hamburger, I saw that Thaddeus had put in a large french fries bag. This was really great. Thaddeus came out to talk to me. He asked if he could pray for me. When he ended the prayer, I told him that I wanted to do something special for him. I layed my right hand over one of his shoulders and chanted the first verse of Shalom Aleichem in Hebrew. When I said the English translation, he broke down in tears and told me that he needed that.

I wasn't that far away from US 30 and the IN state line. I didn't really want to attempt the gauntlet in Dyers, IN. About a guarter mile out of town, I rode passed a farm and a quarter mile more down the road I came across some open land and woods not protected by any no trespassing signs. I went really deep into the woods to find some place to camp out.

May 24, 2016 : Sauk Village, IL to Burlington Beach (N Valparaiso), IN : 31.44 miles (50.30 km)
Trip Total: 2,094.06 miles (3,350.50 km)
Year Total: 2,846.94 miles (4,555.10 km)

I had an okay night camping out. There was a full moon out. I was able to sleep maybe six straight hours. It didn't get that cold. I woke up a little before 5 AM. I took my time packing up.

I got back on the road a little after 7 AM. From where I had camped out, it was a short ride of a little over aany mile to the IN State Line and Dyers, IN. There was some road construction on the IL side. I'm glad that I chose to stop where I did. Traffic was pretty heavy.

Since I didn't get any breakfast out of the food pannier, I stopped at the McDs for some breakfast. I wanted to also get on the web to see if there were any WS members in the area. I found 3 in Valparaiso. Before getting back on the road, I talked with a guy who was a trucker and he told me that he had driven over a million miles around the country.

It was pretty tricky riding along US 30 between Dyer and Schererville. On the East side of Schererville, I got on the old Lincoln Highway (IN 330). Between Schererville and Merrillville, I came across this paved bike trail. I got on it for a short while. I was hoping that it would parralel US 30 but it went under US 30. Along the way, I was able to get in contact with a WS member in the Northern part of Valparaiso. I got invited to use his hard shell 2 person camper for the night. I got on a local road that took me back to US 30. There was a wide shoulder along US 30 so I opted to stay on it.

In Merrillville, I stopped at a McDs for an early lunch break. Outside locked to a trash can, there was a bicycle that had a gas powered motor on it. There was a black guy outside powerwashing the parking lot. I was able to get on the web for a little bit. Before leaving the McDs, I went over to talk to the black guy powerwashing the parking lot because he waved at me. He was a pretty friendly guy. He commented that he didn't mind doing the powerwashing because he got a little extra money for the job and it beated being stuck inside doing cooking. He also said that he didn't mind getting wet because it reminded him at being at a water park in the area.

I took my time riding between Merrillville and Valpairso because of the high heat. The temp had to be in the upper 80s. I took a lot of breaks along the way to drink a lot of fluids.

I got in Valparaiso around 4:30 PM. After taking a break at a gas station, I rode through the downtown area and got on Calumet Road for the ride to Burlington Lake. My hosts had a cottage on the lake. I got to my hosts house around 5:20 pm. Dennis was an older guy in his 70s. He had done some short bike trips. The most recent one was the Natchez Trace in MS in January. I asked Dennis if I could stay over tomorrow because I hadn't had a full day off since May 15th in Lancaster, WI and that was 330 miles ago. Dennis said that it would be okay for me to stay over.

May 26, 2016 : Burlington Beach (N Valparaiso), IN to Nappanee, IN : 60.23 miles (96.37 km)
Trip Total: 2,154.29 miles (3,446.86 km)
Year Total: 2,907.17 miles (4,651.47 km)

I had an okay night last night even though a thunderstorm had gone through the area and the power went out. Dennis told me that the top half of Valparaiso had lost power. I went inside Dennis's cottage to read some magazines. Around 8 PM, I went back outside to the camper. Around 8:30 PM, I fell asleep. Around 10:30 PM, I got awoken up by the light next to the bed turning off. I thought that I had turned the light off.

I went back asleep and woke up again around midnight. I stayed up to do the journal entry for Tuesday and yesterday. I was able to fall back asleep again till around 5:30 AM. Around 7 AM, I had Alice packed up and I went into the cottage to use the restroom and to also say goodbye to Dennis.

Around 7:20 AM, I got on the road. The temperature was in the 60s and the sky was a bit overcast. There was a threat of pop-up showers. The first stop was at the gas station/ convenience store to get a loaf of bread and something to drink on the road. I headed N on Calumet and then I turned East on N County 600. I followed N County 600 for about 10 miles before I got on US 6. The ride East on US 6 went okay. There was a bit of a tailwind to push me along. I stopped at a gas station in Kingsbury Heights for a short break. I got a can of strawberry-kiwi punch and a Little Debbie Pastry. I was really surprised when I guy came out with a Little Debbie Pastry for me and another customer, a lady, came out with another can of strawberry-kiwi punch.

The winds pushed me along. I got the first 20 miles in by 9:40 AM CST. The sky was getting darker and I had to take off my sun glasses to see. About five miles out of Walkerton, I felt the first rain drops. I had enough time to put on my jacket. About 3 miles out of Walkerton, I crossed into St Joseph County and also back into the Eastern Time Zone. I got into Walkerton around Noon CST (1 PM EST). I stopped at a Caseys to use the restroom and to also get something to eat. I opted to get a slice of pizza.

After the storm had gone through the area, the sky cleared up and it started to get warm. I was going to try and stop in Walkerton but I opted to go on to Nappanee. The ride to Nappanee went really well. In La Paz, I stopped at a McDs for something to drink. I was witness to a disturbing thing. There were three very overweight (almost morbid) young men who could have been in their late teens and a slightly overweight teen girl. They had bought three very large size containers of french fries that they had emptied out onto a tray and another tray of other food. The girl thought that it was very funny when she tried to force feed one of the guys three or french fries at a time. what gluttony. No wonder this country is extremely overweight. At least, I'm doing something that it making me loose weight. So far, I've lost at least 12 pounds and I hope to lose more before this trip is over.

When I got into Nappanee, I sort of remembered that I stayed with somebody last year around Memorial Day but I couldn't remember the person's name. I just remembered that it was one of the older veterans that I had met at the Memorial Celebration at the city park. They were dedicating a new memorial that an Eagle Scout had done for a service project.

I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. I found the minister still in the office. Pastor John was preparing his sermon for this Sunday and also packing up for his next assignment. There was a day care center at the church so it wouldn't have been a good idea for me to try and stay in the church. There wasn't a room available at the small motel in town so John arranged for a room at one of the motels on the East side of Nappanee. Before I headed out to Nappanee, John slipped me a GH.

The ride to Nappanee went okay. There weren't any Amish buggies on the way. I did have to dodge some horse turds, Before going to the motel, I stopped at a BK for some takeout lunch. I got to the motel around 6:50 PM.

I'm not sure how far, I'm going to get tomorrow because there are supposed to be more storms. There is a WS member in Syracuse and there is another member in the Albion area. I'm 13 miles away from Syracuse. I'm 65 miles away from the OH state line.

May 27, 2016 : Nappanee, IN to Upper Long Lake (Albion), IN : 32.37 miles (51.79 km)
Trip Total: 2,186.66 miles (3,498.66 km)
Year Total: 2,939.54 miles (4,703.26 km)

I had an okay night at the motel even though the room was a little run down. I had breakfast out of the food pannier. I got on the road around 8:20 AM. The traffic was light going out of town.

I was able to connect with a WS member in Albion. The ride to Ligonier went okay. In Ligonier, I stopped at a Taco Bell for some lunch. After lunch, I rode to Wawaca where I met up with my WS host. Bob met me on his Rans Rocket SWB and he led me over to his house.

May 28, 2016 : Upper Round Lake (Albion), IN to Edgarton, OH : 43.26 miles (69.22 km)
Trip Total: 2,282.90 miles (3,567.87 km)
Year Total: 2,939.54 miles (4,772.48 km)

I had an okay night at Bob's house in the country. Bob took me into town to a local restaurant for some supper. It was really neat connecting with a recumbent rider especially a SWB'r. Bob has an old Rans Rocket. The Rocket is something similar to mine. The recumbent was smaller than mine. Bob was over six feet tall. There were two 20 inch wheels and a fixed boom. Bob had the handlebar up really high and it looked like Ape Hangers on motorcycles. Bob's knees didn't have much clearance.

I camped out on the second floor enclosed porch. The windows were set up that they slid either up or down in sections. The doors had the same kind of windows. Instead of using my sleeping bag and pad, I used a couple of cushions from outdoor lawn chairs. There was even a pillow to use.

I woke up around 5 AM and I was the first one up. I worked on the photographs that I had taken the past couple of days. The sun came up around 7 AM. Bob prepared me some breakfast while I took my gear outside and loaded up Alice. After breakfast and a couple of pictures were taken, I headed out around 7:30 AM. The sky was pretty overcast but Bob said that it wasn't going to rain.

From Bob's house, it was a little over a three mile ride into downtown Albion. From downtown Albion, it was a three mile ride to US 6. When I started heading East, I felt some rain drops and the wind was coming from the East so I was bucking a slight headwind. Because of the wind, the ride was a little slower than what I expected. Because of the heat, I took quite a few breaks along the way to hydrate myself.

Even though there was the wind, I got almost 22 miles in by noon. I stopped at a grocery store in Corunna. The store was really busy with people getting stuff for Memorial Day cookouts and picnics. There was a picnic table in an outside corner. There were a couple of guys who were workers at the store was having lunch. I asked if I could share the table for a little bit. I struck up a short conversation with one of the guys before they both left to go back to the store. About ten minutes later, the guy came up to me and slipped me a GH.

I was back on the road around 1:30 PM. The heat was really high so I took more frequent breaks along the way. I stopped at a gas station in Waterloo to take a break. As I was drinking some green tea this older guy came up and slipped me a dollar.

It was around 4:34 PM when I crossed into Ohio. From the state line, it was about a three mile ride into Edgarton. I got into Edgarton around 5:20 PM. I rode passed a large building that could have been a church but I wasn't sure. There were no crosses. The building had an unusual name. I rode passed that building and stopped at a gas station for a break.

After the break, I rode back to the building because I saw a police car there. I was hoping that the officer might be able to help me out if I couldn't find anybody there could help me out. In the building, which was a church, there was a lobby that looked like something you would find at a movie theater and there was a coffee/ snack bar. I talked with one of the associate ministers. This was the church's Saturday night service. There was some really loud music coming out of the auditorium. I talked with the associate minister, the police officer, and four other people who were in the lobby.

The associate minister told me that they couldn't help me with a place to stay in the building. The motel in the town had closed years ago. The next motel was in Bryan over 14 miles away. The police officer told me that it would be okay for me to camp out in the city park. This was a bit against the rules because the campground at the park wasn't open yet. There was a picnic shelter behind the ball field and close to a lake that I could camp out in. There was supposed to be also electricity and water. From where I was at the church, it was about a quarter mile back to the park and the picnic shelter.

Before leaving the church, I got to bag up six slices of pizza and some cookies in a zip lock bag. Also, I got to take with me quite a few snacks that were left over from the meal before the service.

When I got to the shelter, there was this guy in a car in the parking area. I didn't much think about it until the guy came out to talk to me. The minute that I saw him I thought that there might be something a little off with him. It was a little strange when the guy came out and told me that he was a prophet and also had the power to heal people. It got a little stranger when the guy told me that he had been taken up to Heaven and met the Messiah and saw the angels Gabriel and Michael. He told me that he had been kicked out of several churches the area. He told me that he had healed some people. What was really strange that the guy didn't single out any of the problems that I had and try to heal them. The guy told me that he had a divine message for me. He started to speak in what Charismatics called tongues. The guy got really quiet when I told him that tongues was one of the least of the spiritual gifts and not everybody was given the gift of tongues. I told him that the so-called gifts of tongues wasn't really scriptural because during Pentacost the people who were around the building where the disciples were in the Upper Room heard the disciples speaking in the languages of the people that were assembled. The tongues of modern day times would have been concerned as being drunken babbling. Before the guy left, he did slip me a small GH.

While I was setting up camp, it started to rain but the rain didn't come into where I was since I was on the North side of the shelter. I was able to get my laptop plugged in for a little bit. About a half hour after I had gone into the tent and while I was talking to a friend of mine, the police officer's partner stopped by to see if I needed anything. He gave me the phone number to the station and told me that he would be on duty till around midnight. The rain didn't last long.

I'm thinking about getting up early and riding to Bryan to go to church there instead of staying in town to go to church.

May 29, 2016 : Edgarton, OH to Bryan, OH : 15.37 miles (24.59 km)
Trip Total: 2,245.25 miles (3,592.40 km)
Year Total: 2,998.17 miles (4,797.07 km)

I had a bit of a rough night camping out. There was a lot of noise to deal with both natural and manmade. There was a really major railroad line really close. There was almost continuous freight train traffic. Sometimes, there were two trains going opposite directions. Along with the train noise, there were several loud owls flying around the area.

I woke up quite a few times during the evening. The night was really long and I slept quite lightly. I woke up around 5:20 AM and I packed up. Daylight was around 6:20 AM. I left the park around 6:40 AM. The sky was a little overcast so I turned on my rear flasher.

About a mile and a half down the road, I spotted a lot of change in the dirt shoulder. I found a coin purse in the grass and the coins must have fallen out of it. It looked like there was at least three or four dollars of change.

About six more miles I spotted a large purse in the dirt. The purse was soaking wet so I'm not sure how long it might have been there. Some of the contents was still in the purse but there was a lot of stuff scattered in the dirt and in the tall grass next to the dirt shoulder. I picked as much as I could. There didn't seem to be much money. I found a couple of dollar bills. There was a lot of stuff to pick up. I called up 911 and I got somebody in the sheriff office. The lady dispatcher wanted to know if I could bring it over.

I kept on going East on US 6 for a few more miles and then I got on US 127 for the two mile ride into downtown Bryan. I spotted a couple of police cars at a donut shop. I stopped at the shop to talk with the officers. One of the officers told me that he would take it over to the sheriff department after the purse and contents dried some.

I went across the street to a McDs to get some breakfast. After about a half hour, I continued on into the downtown area. In the downtown area, I rode around to locate a church to go to. I was going to find a Methodist Church but I thought that I would go to another Lutheran Church (ELCA).

I chose to go to the First Lutheran Church. As soon as I got into the downstairs door to the fellowship hall, I was really made welcome. I got to meet the pastor. He was an older gentleman possibly in his 70s and he was in a wheelchair. Rev Franks told me that he had broken one of his legs back in December and he was still in rehab. He told me that before his accident he was riding his trike recumbent. We had a good time talking for about ten minutes before he had to go upstairs to prepare for the service that would start at 10:30 AM. For about 20 minutes, I got involved in a pretty good Sunday school discussion. I got to share.

After the service, I went upstairs. Before I got into the sanctuary, I got handshakes from four different people. Rev Franks was up front sitting behind an electronic keyboard. Before he became a minister, he taught music at colleges around the country for a little over thirty years. Rev Franks had a young man who helped him. That man was somebody who I thought should get into the ministry because he was really dedicated at what he was doing. I found out later on that the minister has been trying to get the guy into a seminary for at least two years. The pastor has been at the church for about fifteen years.

Rev Franks introduced me and I got to say a few words. After the service, there was a party for one of the young girls who was graduating from high school. I sat next to Rev Franks. I asked him if there might have been a way for me to stay in the fellowship hall for the rest of the day. Instead, Rev Franks offered to get me a room at a motel that I had passed while coming into town.

I'm about 85 miles away from Clyde. I told my friend last night that I would be at their house either Tuesday afternoon or sometime Wednesday.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between June 05th and June 12th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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