Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 30 _ August 3 - Back to the cornfields via the Chicago lakeshore

Day 30 - August 3 - Evanston Il to Merrillville, In - 59.6 miles ( 95.9 kms) Total so far: 2445.3 miles (3935.3 kms)

Distance: 59.6  miles (95.9 kms)
Total time: 5hrs23 mins (including lots of stops for pictures, navigation, stop lights and a detour to the Serb festival) 
Average Moving Speed: 12.4mph (20.0 kph)
Maximum Speed: 23.7mph (38.1 kph) 
Calories burned: 2652
Elevation gained: 594 ft ( 181 meters)

Weather:  Sunny and  beautiful all the way with northeast winds.  Temperatures stayed in the mid-upper 70s (22-25C) and was comfortable.  The wind was mostly a tailwind for me.  The gorgeous weather brought out the big crowds on the Chicago lakefront.  

Powered by: (not enough)   Breakfast - A delicious peach, a banana,  muffin bits, and a very filling protein shake of chocolate muscle milk, vanilla soy milk, banana and peanut butter.  Lunch of a ginormous protein bar and a banana and lots of  nuts. 

We arrived back at the pickup point from Thursday about 10:30 on Saturday on a beautiful Chicago summer's day.  Yesterday, I got the wheels trued (the back one had a spoke that was definitely dodgy from the potholes I hit on Thursday) and the tires rotated since the back one was much more worn than the front one.  I cleaned the chain religiously with grateful help from Nancy.   Hopefully, I won't have any problems over the last 900 miles or so.  A few strips of duct tape should carry the damaged pannier to the finish line.

Ready for the last leg from Chicago to the east coast

I know the lakeshore quite well and the bike path all the way through Chicago so I made my way there along Sheridan rd.  The path was very crowded since the day was so beautiful.  This made for a dangerous ride of a different kind - treading carefully around runners, little kids on bikes, rollerbladers, strollers, and oncoming bikes. I don't understand the few bikers who were racing along the path - mostly MAMILs (Middle-Aged Men In Lycra) - where any speed above 10mph (16kph) was unacceptable.  I followed the path south to its end point near the Museum of Science and Industry, taking lots of pictures along the way of the boats and buildings as I tried to reconstruct what the area looked like 30 years ago when I frequented these places. 

Lots of people out on the lake shore path and the beaches in Chicago

Oak street beach was filling up about noon

Chicago river and new buildings from Wacker Drive

Lake Shore Drive fenced off for the Lollapaloosa rock festival

Burnham harbor and the city in the background

When the bike path ended, the route to Indiana is marked but it's difficult to find and to follow.  It follows the streets but it's not marked by bike lanes and I had to be alert for the signs.  Major road construction complicated the path which passed through neighborhoods of severe blight and also of industry and shipping canals.  Eventually, I made it onto the Erie-Lackawanna trail which took me to the outer suburbs in Indiana.  This smooth straight path is a recent addition to the regional biking paths and is a delight for over 20 miles. 

Some of the abandoned homes and cleared lots that I passed

Hmmm - how to get around this lot?

The bike route signs were not exactly prominently displayed

No 'welcome to Indiana' sign but the city limits of Munster correspond to the Illinois-Indiana line

A mega-church with corporate offices in Munster

Sign explaining the 'rails to trail' transfer to the Erie-Lackawanna bike route

As I neared Merrillville, I saw signs for a "Serb festival" at the Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava so I made a detour to see what was going on.  It was not hard to spot the large imposing cathedral in the cornfields on the outskirts of town and it was a busy place as the evening's activities were getting under way.  The smell of burning flesh of pigs and lambs was pervasive - and I noticed a fire truck from the Merrillville fire department on hand in case the barbecue fires got too high.  Music and drinking were getting started as I left.

"God save the Serbs" and Serbian flag at the Cathedral of St. Sava, Merrillville

Cathedral of Saint Sava (sign in front offers pork and lamb for sale on Sundays)

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