Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

Archive for July 27, 2012

July 27th: Streator to Watseka, IL

Mile 16: Early morning scene biking on County Road 900E near Cornell, IL. The clouds this morning were striking.

July 27th Statistics – Streator to Watseka, IL:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 85.3 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 17.8 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.8 hours
  • Today Ascent – 634 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 35
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 2,719.6 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.7 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 77,508 feet

A relatively long ride today (85 miles) so we started out about 7:30 am.  The riding, similar to yesterday, was primarily on very rural county roads lined by corn and soybean fields (many showing severe signs of drought).  While the sun was in and out of the clouds during the day, the temperatures remained comfortable for most of the day.  We benefited from a great tailwind that enable fast riding so we all arrived in Watseka about 1:30 pm (even after stopping for lunch at the Subway in Ashkum, IL).  A highlight for me was riding alone miles and miles at 22-24 mph along a remote county road without traffic and surrounded by fields of green crops and blue and white wildflowers (see photo below for an example) on the roadside.

Mile 35: I was surprised to bike through a third large area (dozens of square miles) of windmills (to many to count) in Illinois just outside Odell.

Mile 37: Another view of windmills outside Odell, IL.


Mile 50: A mural outside a bar and grill in Kempton, IL.

Mile 65: This may have been the most beautiful road (County Road 2700N near Ashkum, IL) on today’s ride – a single lane smooth paved road bordered closely on both sides by corn and soybean fields. I didn’t see an auto while biking on it.

Mile 75: A view of the Iroquois River on County Road 2400N showing vacation docks and boats.

July 26th: Kewanee to Streator, IL

Mile 15: View of typical farm house outside Kewanee, IL showing storms clouds in the distance (fortunately, which stay away from our route most of today).

July 26th Statistics – Kewanee to Streator, IL:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 79.8 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 17.8 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.5 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,280 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 34
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 2,634.3 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.5 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 76,874 feet

Dinner the prior evening at Cerno’s Bar & Grill in Kewanee was a celebration.  After being seated at Cerno’s, a woman I didn’t know walked in and sat at our table – Doug immediately went into shock with a big smile on his face.  It was Doug’s wife, Lisa, who flew from Maryland to Peoria and then drove to Kewanee just for the evening to celebrate Doug’s and Lisa’s 25th wedding anniversary that day.  She left the next morning to return to Maryland, but will be rejoining us for sightseeing the last week of the tour.

Cerno’s decor was unique and beautiful. The bar was imported from Belgium for Pabst Blue Ribbon in 1898 and displayed at a World’s Fair.  The Mahogany mirrored bar spans fifty feet, with hand carved figurines at each end.  Cerno’s also had detailed carved lion heads throughout the building, wall buzzers topped with tiny eagles that were used to summon a waiter to the customers, an embossed tin ceiling, stained-glass and leaded windows, brass footed pedestal tables and a teller cage where men would cash their paychecks and then come in for a drink.   I particularly enjoyed the fried dill pickles.

Roads on today’s ride from beginning to end were the best of the trip so far.  They were smooth and almost completely rural with little or no traffic.  While the scenery was not the most diverse we have seen, nevertheless, it was beautiful and pristine.  While we had some light sprinkles and showers, they were welcomed due to the heat.

For the last 20 miles, Doug, Robert, Jim and I rode together at a good clip (18-22 mph) thanks to a tailwind and smooth roads.  When we reached Streator, IL (by going 5.5 miles off route to get to our lodging), our first stop was the Dairy Queen located five blocks passed our hotel.  Doug graciously treated all of us to ice cream.

Mile 25: First of two photos of a windmill area near Bradford, IL.  Like the one yesterday, this windmill area covered many square miles.

Mile 26: Another view of the Bradford area windmills.

Mile 37: View of bucolic cemetery surrounded by acres of corn and soybeans near Henry, IL.

Mile 42: This was the view in every direction at one rural intersection approaching Henry, IL.

Mile 48: This was a military monument in center city park in Henry, IL honoring submariners, in general, and a particular submarine captain born in Henry who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (see next photo).

Mile 48: Memorial to Captain John Philip Cromwell from Henry, IL who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Mile 65: View on very rural Country Road 800N that we biked for 20+ miles – almost no traffic.