Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 15--McLean to Rantoul, IL

Today I rode in memory of Timothy Jon Strandburg, who died in 2004 while still a teen. On the way to McLean last evening, Nan, my Warm Showers host of Saturday and Sunday took me on a tour of Havana and showed me Tim's grave site. Nan designed Tim's tombstone which is polished black granite. The stone celebrates Tim's life, with pictures of Tim and of objects he created or loved.  The stone is flanked by two black granite bears holding lanterns. Rest in peace, Tim; and find your peace on earth, Nan.

I woke this morning to grey skies and rain. Decided to wait two hours before starting to see what the weather would bring. After a meagre breakfast of whole-wheat toast & peanut butter, I suited up and took to the road in light rain. Had all my lights blinking and my flag blowing . . . northeast. Yippee. I had a tailwind, which made my day's end average just a bit over 15.3 mph, a good deal different than the pathetic 10 mph on all my days with a  headwind. I must have stopped five or six times in the first 5 miles, however, to take something off, put something on, adjust clothes, and take between-raindrops pix. Finally got it right. My only stop was in Heyworth at a Casey's. Drank an energy coffee drink.

A lovely church (I think) on the east side of Heyworth

I was on US-136 E for the entire 53-mile ride. I think it may be part of historic Route 66, as I caught a sign as I was pulling out that said something to that effect. Too nasty to return and read it properly though. The first 10 miles or so were shoulderless. I picked up a shoulder in Heyworth, but lost it again at the intersection of US-150. US-136 is flat to gently rolling 2-lane, and there was very little traffic, most of it semis taking a shortcut I guess. They were very polite and moved to the other lane so as not to blind me with their spray.

Most common sight on today's route, though generally more of them, maybe five or six per farm

Really not much to say about the ride which was essentially through newly plowed fields of dark brown dirt and past grain storage bins and tree-island farms--those that are in the middle of vast plowed fields and surrounded with windbreak trees. I stopped to take a photo of a tree-island farm, but it came out blurry with the rain. I did get a photo (see below) of the trees used predominately for the windbreak. They are very dense evergreens and planted alternately in three rows . . . on the west side of the properties. So, the prevailing wind must come from the west. I only hope the wind continues to blow from the southwest through Indiana, where I have three consecutive nearly 80-mile days.

The dense evergreens used as windbreaks

I-74



About 15 miles from Rantoul it began to rain in earnest. I arrived soaked to the skin. My shoes are stuffed with newspaper and my clothes are on the spin cycle in the washer as I type. The first thing I did on arrival at a little after 1 p.m., was peel off the raincoat, put on my windbreaker and squish to the next-door Arby's for lunch. Had an Arby's sandwich and an orange cream shake, the latter like drinking a creamsicle and very tasty. Arby's must put a ton of salt into their roast beef, however, because I've been very thirsty since eating there.

Trying to capture the engine, but it was slow in getting to the crossroads


. . . and then hustled by before my camera could get a photo


Took a nap after getting in and eating. Now writing up the day. Don't know what I will do in this small town at the crossroads of I-57 tomorrow, but will ferret something out.

Susan

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Susan. We are touched by your kindness <3<3<3 Happy Trails!!!

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