We made it. We left from Ottawa yesterday around 8:30 AM and traveled 103 miles to Wrigley Field. But I’ll get to that.
In places that are not named Arizona, it gets cold in the month of October. And leaves do this strange thing where they change color. The cacti in Arizona just stay green or a dead-brown all year-long so that was different. Also, people in the Midwest don’t have backyards. They just have open spaces beside their houses and you are expected to know where property ends/begins. It’s weird.
We made it to Springfield, IL, after leaving from Litchfield and had a strong desire to get our nerd on so we went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in the downtown area. The museum was amazing but I was disappointed in the fact that they didn’t include very much information (no information at all) about his vampire hunting days or his role in the development of Lincoln Logs. At night, we stayed with a couple we found on Warmshowers. The husband, Karl, had travelled across the entire United States himself (putting our measly trip to Chicago to shame). They were both great people and Karl even rode with us 12 miles out the next day. However, the second he left us, Max broke some spokes on his tire again (because he is like, wicked fat) then punctured his tube trying to check the spokes. It was still ridable but he was going to need to go to a bike shop so his bike could be operated on. Not a problem since there was a shop in Normal, IL, where we were going. The ride to Normal itself was very uneventful. The highlight of the day was stopping in Atlanta, Illinois (my third favorite area named so) and seeing Max get harassed by a gang of 11-year old boys who were making fun of his bike shorts. Max was bending over to put on his shoes only to have the kids yell out, “DAT ASSSSSS!” then giggle while running away.
We arrived in Normal to stay with Max’s friend T.J. who goes to school at Illinois State. They know each other from a summer camp they both worked at on Catalina Island this past summer. They did their whole camp gossip thing and I quickly came to the conclusion that their camp was far inferior to Camp Pontiac. If any of my camp family was offended by Max’s mocking tone in his last post, just know that he has admitted jealousy of our camp multiple times. TJ was awesome though. He is working on this project called Appoet which is amazing. If you are bored at work (which you are otherwise you woudn’t be reading this), google it and check it out.
The next day we got a late start because the bike shop didn’t open until 10:00 AM. We had originally intended to ride to Joliet but wouldn’t be able to because of the late start. Instead we headed to Ottawa where my aunt hooked us up with a place to stay with some of her cousins. You might be sitting there reading this thinking if it’s his aunt’s cousins, doesn’t that mean they’re his cousins too? While studying the intricacies of familial relations is a minor hobby of mine, I don’t know what the technical label for the two people we stayed with would be. It is unimportant because either way, we were strangers coming into their house. Despite this, Jon and Diane made us feel at home. We woke up early the next day as we were intending to complete the trek only to find out that it was raining and there were going to be off and on storms throughout the day. Because of this, we went back into hibernation mode until the afternoon. With our extra day in Ottawa we were able to try pork tenderloins courtesy of Jon. Apparently these are a big deal in the area as much of my family was jealous. If you haven’t had one, they are these huge pork patties (bigger than the size of my face) with a regular bun on each side. In the words of Mitch Hedburg, “it was like a cow with two Ritz crackers on either side.”
Diane contacted the local paper and we did another interview over the phone with them. They had a photographer come out the next morning at 8:00 AM (yeah we got up that early) to take some pictures as we began the last leg of our trip. We made the 103 miles to Wrigley Field and arrived there around 6:00 PM. As we were about 10 miles away, we ran into a guy who was commuting home from work and happened to live near Wrigley Field. Essentially, we had a bicycle escort lead us into the city.
Our good friend Mike is letting us borrow his mother Joanne for the week which is awesome because she is incredibly nice and because now we have a mom. The night we got in, she took us to get deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East. It was the first meal that Max and I were unable to finish this whole trip. Disappointing considering I was under the impression that I now have an invincible stomach.
So yeah, we made it. If you were expecting something deep and inspirational I apologize. We will be sure to do that next week sometime as we also have many people to thank. For now, we are going to go frolic through the city and enjoy our time here.
“Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”
- Carl Spackler