Woke up from a restful sleep next to a picturesque lake. The campsite was out of the way,
the ground impacted, and the lake was serene.
I go through the morning routine:
You wake up, put on your sandals, and take care of “morning business.” Then,
the sleeping bag needs to be pulled out and aired because there will
inevitably be condensation. Any drying time that you can allow is a bonus. I find a branch and drape it across.
Frontier Statue in Elgin. -And guess what?
This is another featured landmark on the GITride t-shirt.
gets the same treatment. It is wet on the inside walls. The mattress pad valve is opened and left
to deflate a little bit. Time to eat.
Pump up the stove that was left set up from the night before. Since it was
only used 10 hours ago, it will still have pressure. MSR stoves need to be primed: open
the valve, allow a little bit of the gas to fill the cup below the burner,
close the value, and light it.
will look like a barbecue starter fluid fire. After a minute, the priming flame starts to burn
out. Slowly open the valve again. The fuel delivery tube vaporizes the fuel
so that now there is a nice “jet style” flame.
I fill my
thermos drinking cup and pan to measure the water, then dump it into the
pot. It takes about 3 minutes to heat. While I am waiting for that, I empty
two packets of instant oatmeal then stir in the boiling water. Packets of
chocolate milk get added to the thermos cup.
A familiar sight, Navy Pier in Downtown
Chicago. I remember attending Mayor Byrn’s Chicago Fest here. It was a scary
place back then, but it went through a major modern renovation in recent
years to become a very nice park. The ferris wheel is good value, but
finding a secure place to park the bike with all your kit while you take a
ride is another matter.
It’s a timing thing. The idea is to keep the stove burning for
the absolute tiniest amount of time so that you can minimize the amount of fuel you have
to carry. At night, the process is about the same. Over nine days, running the stove 10-12
minutes a day should cost you only about a quart in fuel.
Oatmeal is consumed with the hot drink. It’s usually
colder in the morning, the hot meal is invigorating, and the warm pots feel
good on your hands. If there is any excess warm water, it gets used for
cleanup. When done; the stove gets broken down, put into its sack, and
folded carefully into the pot. The pan fits neatly on the outside of the pot
to save space. With the stove inside the pot, there is less worry of stove
Not something you see everyday, even in
Chicago (or especially in Chicago?). It looks like an Ocean faring yacht
with helicopter. Somebody told me it belongs to Jim Belushi.
then gets folded over long-ways. Using knees and hands, it’s turned into a
6”x10” roll then stuffed into its sack. This is a bit strenuous. You’ll feel
it on your forearms, but it is a good feeling. It is the most strenuous of
all the packing activities because the stuff sack will just barely fit a
well rolled mattress. -Same operation with the tent, but this stuff sack is
a little looser.
Finally, the sleeping bag gets stuffed then cinched into
the compression sack. Everything is loaded onto the bike. Keeping everything
in a predetermined place allows you to complete a cognitive checklist, speeds
packing, and ensures you don’t leave anything behind.
I will usually spend a few minutes reviewing maps and writing a few notes.
After that, the bike is moved a few feet away, the campsite checked one last
time, and I shove off. Take
only pictures leave only footprints.
Illinois Trail as it runs through the South Side of Chicago. It’s like a
highway for bicycles, well groomed and picturesque. This image is also
featured on the GITride t-shirt
After getting the rear wheel
fixed yesterday, I thought I might be able to do 120 miles, but this
was a little too ambitious. I rode all day and covered 80 miles -the one day
record for this trip.
After the picture behind McCormick Place (above), I ran out of digital film. I could have spent some time
deleting pictures, but the battery was
just about dead too.
It was dusk when I made it to a real “Mom n’ Pop” Pizza parlor.
The girl at the counter directed me to the owners, who allowed me to use their
bathroom to wash my hands. This is the first time I
get hot water on my hands in ten days. I apologized in advance for my “smelliness,”
then gulped down a whole thick pizza with a pitcher of beer.
They must have been U of I supporters too because I saw an “Orange and Blue”
flag flying behind the register. In Any case, if you are ever going through
Lansing, make sure you stop by and get a pizza there. The people, place, and
food are great!
Their website: http://www.mamarigettas.com/
It is funny how quickly you fall back into civilization.
By the end of
everyday on the trip I was dead tired by dusk. I had my eyes closed within
30 minutes of 7pm every night. On this "hotel" night, I have the
heater blaring after a one hour hot shower. I was up until midnight watching
TV, organizing my notes, and clearing the garbage out of the bike.
END DAY 9: Elgin to
Stayed At: Day’s Inn Lansing ($55 b/b-hot) (tax included)
Total Miles 79.1
Total Time 9:40:53
Average Speed 8.2
Maximum Speed 22.1