Monday, September 4


An industrial lake view from Sheboygan, WI A historical society and lighthouse doing business together.
This is the river walk where a helpful "senior" told me stories about her courting days along the river with her husband of over 50 years. She recalled the "fun" activities and "ice angels" they made together on the frozen river.
Posted by Picasa

Note the WI state symbol beyond the real logs and fake horses that welcome you to the state.

LMCT--final words...

Don’t know all the reasons why, but writing the final essay on the trip has been more challenging than writing the daily trip blogs combined. I think my block might pertain to my wish that the trip could have been longer, that the Door County part that I had to excise could have been completed. I thought I had accepted that I needed to cut it out to save time and that I could always do Door County as a weekend—even day trip, as it’s relatively close by. I thought I was okay with this. Then I got home and realized I was ticked that I hadn’t made the push to Door County. So I think by not writing the final entry, I avoided having to deal with just how peeved I really was to return without having completed Door County.

But all is well now. I’ve had another nice trip since the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and that has given me a fine sense of closure. Other than the sheer joy of feeling the open air, watching the world whiz by and riding two wheels, nothing extraordinary about the last 220 (approximately) miles home. I forged ahead and only stopped to fill up, eat, or flex my limbs. Given that the sky looked like rain after passing Green Bay, I didn’t mind the single-minded push to get home.

I must say that once in WI, the Lake Michigan Circle Tour takes on a different character. In MI, there are extensive stretches of road that allows one to stay close to the lakeshore. This is not the case in WI. In WI, one has to jog inland and out, which means meandering through towns and dealing with the Interstate more. At times, you can’t help ask youself if it is worth getting off the interstate to get near the lakeshore, particularly if the lakeshore stretch is relatively short. For example, I enjoyed hanging around Sheboygan but really thought there should have been more to make it worth it. Seeing a new town is always an interesting adventure but states have different level of lakefront development and MI is tops in my book. Chicago too, has maximized its lakefront and we are a city that takes full advantage of our lake. If one expects to see similar developments in IN and WI, one might be disappointed.

Therefore, while getting near the lake is the key to the tour for me, it’s not always an easy undertaking. With patience, however, one can take in a lot and come away appreciative of the diversity of environments and landscapes that are out there.

By the time I’d reached IL, I knew that rain was inevitable. On I-43 it rained near Zion, IL. Again, my gear proved its worth. No need to stop, I had prepared for rain and was ready for what was ahead. I-43 gets one to Rt.41 South/I-94 East into Chicago. Somewhere near Lake Forest, the rain was in full form, creating rain-slick roads that were not fun to ride. Most of the sane people slowed accordingly. However, enough did not and it made being out there too dangerous. By this time, the sky had darkened considerably adding to the already diminishing visibility. I had on my trusty yellow rubber cleaning gloves, which by the way, are excellent for wiping off the visor (has anyone successfully invented wipers for helmets, yet?).

I got out of the wet-madness on Tower Line Road and saw a Borders Books, where I hung out for about 3 hours, pouring over the latest motorcycle magazines and scanning Brinkley’s book on Katrina. Had to resist buying it there—not an inch of space to tote another thing. I had to remind myself that there *are* bookstores in Chicago!

When I leave the bookstore, it is after 8:30 p.m., and lightly raining. Had only to slip on my rain pants and put the rain coats on the bike, which had been sitting out in the rain for hours—still, the luggage had kept the contents relatively dry. The slick gunk on the road appears to be washed off. I ride until I reach Sheridan Road and take it southbound. Actually, to save time, I had not planned to take Sheridan Road back, figuring I’d save time by jumping on the interstate. This leg of the LMCT, from Milwaukee to Chicago, I’ve done enough times that I wouldn’t feel badly about cutting it out. But there I was; on Sheridan Road, where I felt traffic would be more manageable. The most interesting thing is that I entered Sheridan Road near a point off Linden Avenue, where The Bahai Temple House of Worship stood luminous against the black, rainy night. I couldn’t help but feel safe in the glow of its brilliance.

Sheridan Road was relatively quiet with few cars heading south. Not until I reached Chicago did I experience any heavy traffic. I decided not to take Lake Shore Drive into the city, because the gentle rain had turned heavy. I remained on Sheridan Road until Halsted Street, at which point I traveled along Halsted until North Avenue and then on to Wells St., which I took the rest of the way downtown. Again, most people slowed down. My position is that if people want me to go faster, they can go around or fly over me. Although there was a car in front of me, some stupid person evidently wanted me to fly over the car in front of me. The driver road my tail! Finally, when the person saw a chance to get to the right lane and fly when the light changed to green, he took it but not before yelling out, “Vespa,” to me. At first, what he yelled didn’t register… then it hit me that he was ordering me to get a scooter. I wanted to race him down and say, “Look crap-head, I’ve just ridden over 1000 miles without incident; I’m not going to come back home and have some jerk make me have an accident!” Instead, I just yelled, “stupid-a&*,” at him in my helmet.

I arrived home after 10pm, exhausted and filled with unbelievable memories I had created for myself. I wanted time to reflect; I’ve had a little so far and I still can’t believe that I did it, had so much fun, and can hardly wait for my next adventure.