A few people have been curious about the tour. I got back last night and am in the process of typing up the journal I kept and adding pictures. I’m posting it all in a livejournal account I created but i’ll just copy the entries here as I write them up.
Day 1 (8/4/08) - Racine, WI. 37 miles.
Today was the first day of the tour. Allison and I had planned the night before to meet at 10am. We knew it was supposed to rain but it was ‘scattered’ so we thought we might do okay.
I awoke at 8am to my alarm and the sound of heavy rain and thunder that shook the house. I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep knowing we wouldn’t ride with the weather the way it was.
At 8:30 I got up and checked the weather. 90% chance of rain (no shit), 80%, 70%… nothing less than 40% all day. I called Allison to see what she wanted to do and we agreed that it didn’t make sense to ride in those conditions.
Fucking bummer. The first day of our 20 day ride started off shitty.
We were about to chalk it up as a lost day until I remembered we could take the train North, cheating a bit, but at least not wasting a whole day.
Allison liked the idea so, after two flats (screwed the metal ring down too far on the valve, then replaced that tube with one that already had a hole in it), I finally met her in time for the 11:48 train to Waukeegan.
The ride was uneventful, except for being approcahed by an older guy who told us about his ride around the Upper Peninsula.
Bikes on the train
The skies in Waukeegan were overcast but not rainy, and as we made our way North we missed most of the precipitation. Certainly not all, though, because we did get soaked at times.
Finding our way to Cliffisde Park – our campground – was easy enough, even though it was 37 miles away. The first few miles were not fun, as my body did not want to ride and I was feeling a lack of energy (despite the very nice, and very big, dinner prepared by Jenifer [my aunt, the night before]). As we continued, though, I got back into the swing of things and the miles went by faster.
The train dropped us off about 40 miles north of the city, and we rode another 37 – certainly farther than we would have made it by bike alone.
I’ve never been to a campground before, and didn’t really know what to expect, though I guess this is what I pictured. A lot of RVs, which, while really expensive, would be really nice to stay in on a night like tonight (raining and thunder).
Luckily, the skies were clear when we arrived and stayed that way all through setting up camp and making dinner (spaghetti with broccoli).
Dinner in the rain
Got to shower, which I really needed – especially after all the rain – and should hopefully stay dry.
Where I would be sleeping for 13 nights
If it’s still raining in the morning we’re going to wait it out. Riding in the rain is one thing. Gwetting ready in the rain is another.
I think this will be a dirty, exciting, exhausting, frustrating and ultimately enjoyable trip.