We had ridden thirty-seven miles on Day 1 of our bike ride across Illinois, so we decided forty miles per day was our goal as we continued our journey 200 miles to the Mississippi River. The map didn’t cooperate. Towns along the Grand Illinois Trail in central and western Illinois, were not spaced in neat forty-mile increments. Many towns had no motels or restaurants, or the amenities were more than a mile off the trail. Plans changed and made me question by abilities. I was worried! Could I bike a fifty mile day? Ouch.
Day Two. (38 miles. New Lenox to Morris) – Helpful husbands send us off.
The next leg of our epic bicycle adventure began in New Lenox on the familiar Old Plank Trail on a cool, sunny day in late May. We chose a Sunday morning so that the streets of Joliet would be quiet.
I was nervous about the whole trip, but need not have worried about Joliet. Traffic was light. Friendly, helpful people were curious about the four colorfully-dressed ladies riding loaded bicycles through their neighborhoods.
I also enjoyed the historic buildings and amazing bridges over the Des Plaines River.
Beyond Joliet, we picked up the I & M Canal Trail. I loved the natural beauty of the canal and towpath as we rode from Rockdale to Channahon, where we stopped for lunch, and then rode on to Morris.
The trail was in good condition and had good access points, information kiosks, and many users. We enjoyed seeing the locks and reading about their history all along that section of trail.
After about eight hours on the road (did I mention we were slow?), we celebrated with a cold beer at a biker bar before being guided to our motel by an inebriated cyclist. Perfect!
But we celebrated too soon. On the way to Walmart for supplies, Nancy S. discovered a large tear in her bike tire. Walmart had no tires and the only bike shop in town was closed until morning.
We had tasty gyros in the Morris Diner and then played cards in the tiny eating area at the Super 8 before putting our tired bodies into bed.