Day 28: Bloomington, IL to Romeoville, IL
Distance: 101 miles
Climbing: Not that much.
Almost there! I’m on a tight schedule because our final dinner together is in about an hour, and I won’t have much time after that to finish whatever needs finishing.
Overall, today was a big improvement over yesterday. Here’s why:
It was shorter. The route card said 103 miles, so we only got a couple of freebie miles, but I still got in before 4:00, which makes a huge difference.
The wind let up a bit. We still had the same west/northwest wind all day, but it wasn’t nearly as strong. Still, for one long stretch a bunch of us did a rotating paceline to beat the wind and help pass the miles. It’s not like there was a lot of scenery to watch: mostly farm fields, although the little towns we passed were all nice.
The rain held off, mostly. We had a few showers off and on for the first 90 miles. Then it rained miserably for the last 10 into town. That just made getting into a hot shower that much more luxurious.
We were welcomed warmly in a couple of small Route 66 towns. The first one, Pontiac, had a nice little Route 66 museum. The local police met us just outside the town limits (or at least some of us). I was convinced that they were going to give us all tickets for not riding single file. Instead, we got a police escort to the museum by car and bike.
A few miles further up the road, in Odell, we were feted at a beautifully restored Sinclair gas station with hot dogs and homemade baked goodies. Lon had written to these folks months ago to let them know we were coming, but he hadn’t heard back and thought they’d probably forgotten about us. I think he just didn’t get their response because he hasn’t been home for 100 days.
At least two good ice cream stops today. I just had a shake at the Launching Pad Restaurant (home of the Gemini Giant) because I was still really full of homemade baked goods and a hot dog from Odell. Then, ten miles from the hotel, Lon, Franz, Phil and I stopped at a curious shack-like ice cream place in Joliet (don’t remember the name, and I don’t think it was on the route card) for soft-serve ice cream. There were no windows on the building except a small one where someone took your order.
As soon as we left the ice cream place, the skies decided to open in earnest but, so far as I know, everyone made it here in one piece. Tomorrow we have just 32 miles to ride to the end of Route 66 and then 16 miles from there to the hotel where I will take a shower and pack up my bike for the trip home.