Good morning Brodhead! My hosts were charming as peaches. We chatted long after breakfast and as a result I had a late start. That’s fine, I reasoned. I had a relaxing schedule for today’s mileage. At this time I will address the weird notation for the mileage 53(120)?! What’s dat? Today I would cheat. I would only ride as far as the end of the Union Pacific Northwestern Metra line in Harvard IL. It’s only 53 miles to the station where I planned to catch the 1:35 inbound train. What a cheater.
I hit the road out the South side of Brodhead with aplomb. Because of my relaxing morning with the hosts and a little too much (is that possible?) quality time with their pet rabbit, it was already late morning when I rolled into Beloit. Here I serendipitously encountered the Beloit farmers market. The hour was late as farmer’s markets go, but there was still plenty of corn, melons and squash to be had. Folk renditions of Hall & Oates covers were the soundtrack supplied by a local band. I ducked into a bagel-centric cafe and cleaned ‘em out. I will have one all of them, please. In my spandex, I turned some heads among the couth locals. But I wasn’t the only anatomically suggestive weirdo. There was a mom trying to wrangle a toddler while carrying two cantaloupes in the easiest way to carry unbagged melons. Right up next to her own melons. What is this a Benny Hill skit?
After Beloit I quickly crossed the border into Illinois! Here the calm highways become a trail that magically leads to the Metra station’s doorstop. The trail wasn’t like the green shrouded tunnels I had seen in the past few days. Wild flowers exploded amidst the grassier prairie. Conflicted feelings arose and subsided to pick a few for Merissa. My thoughts went, Pro:These flowers are great, she loves flowers, I will only pick like seven out of 50,000 along this mile of path. Con: I will probably destroy them on my way home, I’d rather not disturb natural beauty like that, they also kind of look like weeds, it’s already 12:32, no time! I didn’t pick flowers. Big regrets, guys.
I missed the 1:35 train anyway and chilled in Harvard for a minute over snacks while I waited for the next ride at 3:35. I boarded as the only cyclist and one of only a handful of people at all. Good, I thought. Less people to smell my backwoods perfume. However, as the law of Metraphysics dictates, commutes abhor a vacuum. By Crystal Lake, the three other passengers and I began exchanging “WHY GOD, WHY?” glances as a dozen bachelorette partiers clamored onto our train car. Within another stop a flotilla of frat boys 10 years beyond their prime clogged the entryway. The contrast in auditory input from this moment to the previous hour could be only slightly more disparate. A well intentioned conductor tried to direct the goat/men to a less crowded car, but his efforts were in vain. Did he not speak satyr? Thankfully the rowdiest passengers either detrained or moved to other cars by the Arlington stop. Those horses aren’t going to spook themselves.
Calm resettled amidst the passengers as the sober among us lowered our hackles. The rest of the train passage was smooth and even uneventful. By the time Clybourn stop arrived, I was almost asleep. Trying to carry 90 pounds of bike woke me up quick. It felt good to navigate these familiar streets again. ‘Round suppertime I rolled into my own house and completed another successful tour. Thank you everyone who helped make this possible, amazing, and memorable.
Where to next?