I waited until the last minute to pack and figure out what I'm bringing. Yesterday I went to Dick's with Paul Munda, my best good friend from home, we picked up some last minute items, first aid kit, water bottles, fuel bottle.
Later in the day I had dinner with my family, and said goodbye to them. My mom is not happy with this adventure, seeing how upset and nervous this trip is making her I thought about canceling the whole thing right then and there.
Jessie, my brother's girlfriend, was having dinner with us. She helped get things rolling when it comes to packing. My brother Michael and I made a packing list a few days earlier we went through it piece by piece and figured out how to fit everything on the bike. The trick is to put the heavy items on the bottom of the panniers to keep the center of mass low. With Jessie’s help we got it done pretty quickly.
It was hard to sleep that night. I was just then starting to think about how lonely this is going to be. I’m going to miss everyone, my mom, my friends, and Dana.
Today I woke up at 8:00am, showered, and had cereal and a hardboiled egg for breakfast. I took a quick trip to Walgreens for a disposable camera. Dana was letting me use her digital camera but I forgot it at her apartment at ISU. Bloomington-Normal is my first destination so I will get it when I’m down there. I compulsively went over my gear, I couldn’t get the thought of forgetting something out of my head. I finally got out the door at 9:45. I enjoyed riding through Elmwood Park with my loaded rig, it feels like a boat.
I got on the Prairie path in Maywood and headed to Aurora. The path mostly crushed limestone, some of it still wet from the rain; it was like riding through quicksand. It felt great to get on to 31 and hit some real pavement. I took route 31 to 34 to 47 and down south to Morris. These roads were a little bust, 34 was by far the heaviest. I took a little rest stop at a church right after I got on 47. Had some frosted mini wheats and a granola bar. I had been munching on the mini wheats since I got on the prairie path. They did a nice job of keeping my under control. It wasn’t till a family restaurant in Morris that I had some real food. That was at 4:00.
The Chicken soup, coleslaw and Turkey melt hit the spot. I asked the hostess if she knew of any campsites in Morris. She directed me to Gebhard Woods State Park. It was a park just south of town on the I and M canal. I rode through down town Morris to get there. Downtown Morris is very nice, I stopped in a fancy grocery store and got some gourmet peppermint patties. Peppermint patties are my favorite candies; unfortunately the peppermint filling was a little chalky.
Right outside the campsite a fella with a big Giant Hybrid stopped me. Justin, he was out there. Just a weird dude who roams the I and M canal bike trails. He told me of his travels helping people with their flats and simple bike repair. He was a friendly guy, told me where a bike shop was and asked if I needed any help with anything. I didn’t come to the conclusion of him being a weird dude until he came pedaling up to my tent about an hour later. It scared the shit out of me, I was in my tent and I heard someone pedal right up to me. It was getting dark, he didn’t stay long, talked about bikes for a little, he was off.
I called Dana on the phone and talked a while before going to bed. 9:00