Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bike America Day 50: The Best Ice Cream and the Biggest Wind Turbines

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day's distance: 75.08 miles
Overall distance: 2,525 miles

Wednesday started with breakfast and hot beverages at a picnic table in downtown Wenona, IL. The three of us split a cantaloupe and I ate a granola bar. Then my mom and I pedaled away, following the Adventure Cycling route out of town. Because we started right at a matchline on the map, our day’s mileage matched up perfectly with the directions, which is rare.

A little ways into the ride, I began fantasizing about the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Ice Cream I’d seen at Casey’s general store the day before. I told my mom I regretted not getting it. At mile 16 we pulled up to another Casey’s in Cornell, where my dad was waiting with the car. We told a woman about our trip and she congratulated us. Then my dad decided to drive ahead so he could ride back to meet us. I went inside where my mom was buying a diet coke and she yelled across the store, “Wait wait! Don’t let dad leave!” She had found another pint of the mysterious ice cream I’d been dreaming about and the three of us were going to eat it!

We sat in the car and finished it in no time. It was as amazing as I’d expected. Another 12 miles and we were in Odell, ready for lunch. We found a park and I made myself a tomato and cheddar sandwich with a banana and nutella for dessert.

My dad, weird man that he is, made a sandwich of peanut butter, banana, mustard and trail mix. It all sounded delicious minus the mustard. But he said he used to eat french’s mustard and peanut butter together as a kid. Still seems kind of gross to me. I am adventurous with food though and I might have tried it had he not prepared it using the top of our dirty prius as his plate. That man has a strong stomach and absolutely no fear of germs.

 He and I left and rode miles among more seas of corn and windmills. We were closer than we’d been to them all summer. My dad suggested that we go up to one but we didn’t see how that would be possible unless we wanted to walk through corn two feet taller than us. Soon after, I looked to my right and realized that we were riding right by a gravel road leading to the base of a turbine. I called to my dad, who was ahead of me, and we turned around to park our bikes.

I can’t even tell you how cool it felt to be so close to this thing. The only way the pictures do it any sort of justice are by showing you how big the base is compared to my dad. It was kind of scary to stand right under the spinning blades because I could imagine them coming close to the ground and sweeping us away as they spun. It was also fun to hear the whispy noise that the propeller made as it spun. Energy creation in action and we just thought it was the coolest thing.

Later, we stopped at the car to refill water and check in with my mom, who was parked by the road to wait for us. As we stood there, we heard a humming noise in the distance and my dad spotted a crop duster flying overhead. It went back and forth several times and was so far off that we eventually thought it had gone down for a landing. Then it came out of nowhere, by the field right next to us and I got a few decent photos.

A few miles outside of Ashkum, our home for the night, we turned onto the smallest road we’d seen of the trip. My parents, who spent a week biking in France last summer, had been saying that a lot of these county roads in Illinois felt just like those in Brittany and this one took the cake.

 In town we picked up food and headed to the park to set up our tents. Like the night before, the park was adorable and had kids and families playing in it. There were no showers, though, so my mom and I took the classiest sponge baths we could in the women’s restroom.

For dinner I had a turkey, bacon, avocado sub from subway with honey mustard pretzels and a Goose Island beer brewed in Chicago. I caught up on a few e-mails and then shut my eyes for the night.

1 comment:

  1. The 2nd St. Creamy ice cream is the brand new Premium line from Blue Bunny Ice Cream with the headquarters in Le Mars, IA (20 miles South of Sioux Center). I had the privilege of working in their factory for a two month internship last fall and I gained 10 pounds from it.