Sunshine and 28 degrees! Four layers of clothes above the beltline and three layers below. Fifty five miles from this point to Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, North Shore, Chicago, Il. I had made a personal vow to ride this last stretch regardless of the weather, so, it could have been worse!
I had never seen this statue in all the times we have visited Chicago, so I don’t have the name or recognition for it. It did appear to me that she was doing a golden “High Five” for my entry. Very shortly afterwards, I rounded a bend in the bicycle path and could see the high rise buildings of Chicago on the skyline.
No epic journey should end without some unexpected adversity. This clear cut example of “Beaver terrorism” fits the adversity category. This quite large tree (I couldn’t even begin to budge it from where it lay across the bike path) had been very recently felled by a true “eager beaver”! There were many other smaller trees felled nearby as well. It is in Cook County and the beavers clearly needed a “permit” to carry on such activity. And a pre and post felling inspection. And an environmental impact statement. None of which I’m sure they had. Probably all Republicans. 🙂
A huge crowd on hand in Grant Park, but, they weren’t there to cheer a lone Route 66 rider with chapped face and needing a shave down the home stretch. The only two people that counted were my wonderful and supporting, long suffering wife, Cathy, and daughter-in-residence Kelley who braved the weekend traffic to come fetch me. Another of the little disappointments was Buckingham Fountain being closed for repairs and access to it (and the marker for the Route 66 Starts Here) not allowed. You will note that all the outer clothes I started riding with today were still being worn. Even though the ride was long enough and strenuous enough to work up a sweat, it never got warm enough to shed any outer clothing. I admit to being completely lost twice while navigating the labyrinth of bike trails into the City Center. Only by riding BACK down the trail until I could find a reference point on the map could I start out again. Hey, it’s an adventure, right!
And with that, dear Friends, another PFJ adventure comes to a satisfactory end. Colin, the Keeper of All Data, reports that I rode 1411 miles on my bike. The Adventure Cycling Map Distance says the Route is 2499 (with all optional loops). So, around a thousand miles aboard Bridget acknowledging the weather is the Boss, but still seeing all, ok, mostly all, of the wonderful and nostalgic sights of the Mother Road.
All safe and well, all body parts in tact, and Bridget unscathed and triumphant.
It’s been great having you all along. Drop in anytime. We’d love to have you!