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Sherrard, illinois.

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Sherrard, illinois.

Old 08-17-13, 08:56 PM
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Sherrard, illinois.

In 2007 I initially started riding a bike and failed to follow up, til last summer, when I started again.

A mistake on my part.

That summer, and every once in a while since, in my home town, Sherrard, Illinois, a number of tourists will pass through loaded down.

Those guys are doing what I would love to do with a bit of work.

I looked on line and found out that one outfit or another maps a route through Sherrard for those who wish to cross this part of the country.

Basically, riders come through Muscatine, Iowa, thru Reynolds Illinois, Sherrard, Illinois and on through Kewanee, Illinois.

I was wondering if anyone out there in touring forum land had passed through my home ground...and what if any impression they had of it...it is only midwest farm ground...but I'm just curious if any of you had past through.
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Old 08-18-13, 07:20 AM
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Heck, yeah! One of my best days on my Northern Tier ride from Washington to Maine was in your neighborhood. Here's an excerpt from my journal:


Tuesday July 3, 2012, 100 miles (161 km) - Total so far: 2,727 miles (4,388 km)


I'm getting into the "heat routine": Set the alarm watch for a pre-dawn wake-up, eat some breakfast, break camp, and get cycling before the sun comes up. I can get 40 miles before 9:00 that way, when the temperature is still in the 70s. Today I made it to Muscatine, IA, an industrial river town, then I spend several hours in the library.At the library, I found out I may have a warmshowers.com host in Cambridge, IL. That's a little farther than I planned on riding today, but I think I can make it with plenty of cool stops during the day and riding harder in the evening.

I made it to Illinois! I immediately began enjoying it. The river floodplain was pretty, as was the first climb onto higher ground. Brutally hot though, and I was very pleased to see an open diner in Buffalo Prairie. There I met a local volunteer EMT/ambulance staffer and had a real nice talk.

Then it got better. The cycling is on narrow paved road, local traffic only, and the first vehicle passing me slowed down next to me and the driver started chatting out his open passenger window. I saw a bicycle on top of the load in this truck, and wondered what that was about. He asked if I wanted to stop in Reynolds, the next town, and I asked if they had ice cream there. He said, "Heck yeah!", and told me where to meet him. When I met him at the store, he bought me a pint and I ate that. He asked me if I wanted another, I said, "Heck yeah!" and got my first quart down easily, along with a quart of iced tea. Among all the eating, Brian tells me about his sailing adventures (the bicycle was sitting on top of a bunch of sail bags after his solo Chicago to Mackinac race) and bicycle rides across various states, which he's trying to link across the country. Then he asked me if I had time to tour his farm, and I said, "Heck yeah!", so I spent a few hours on a 1300-acre corn and soybean operation with modern machinery, which I really liked. It really was a great afternoon, again one that never would have happened if I'd been in a car.

And if possible, it even got better after that. I made it to Cambridge in the evening and found John Taylor's house where I was welcome to a bedroom and a shower! What more can be said about rural Illinois hospitality today? John and his wife and baby are interesting folk, very involved and ambitious. The long day was most definitely worth it.
It's been fun to tell people I'm an Illinois native, and a U of I Champaign alumnus.

Over 100 out there today, humid, sunny all day again. I'm only dealing with it well by taking mid-day breaks in A/C comfort. I'm a little concerned about the holiday tomorrow, when all public buildings will be closed and probably most businesses as well. I have a shorter day planned, though.


The rest of my journal is here. If you want to read more, look in the index for more Northern Tier journals. If you'd like to meet more cyclists, join up at www.warmshowers.org. You can see more on the route here.

PS: I was born in Downers Grove and spent the first 25 years of my life in Northern Illinois, including my first cycle tours in my teens. I do love the area.
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Old 08-18-13, 12:13 PM
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Passed through there many, many years ago. I currently live on the East Coast, but much preferred to tour in the Midwest.

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Old 08-18-13, 06:16 PM
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I really appreciate your responses. I'm not joking when I say that folks like you have inspired me to work to tour or long distance. The scenery around here is very pretty through the summer and fall and I'm glad visitors to the area have had a positive experience.
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Old 08-19-13, 11:24 AM
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I live in Central IL. and I love it. Good variety of terrain around the rivers and creeks, not all corn and soybeans. I did a nice 37 mile ride this July on the Hennepin Canal trail from Annawan to Bureau Junction. Great day and nice scenery. Even stopped for a bison burger at a ranch on the way home on rt. 29 north of Henry, IL.
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Old 08-19-13, 11:53 AM
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Came close. I did ACA's Northern Tier group tour in '99. However, we went off route to Devnport to stay with a former ACA ride leader. Crossed over to Molin and then got back on route somewhere. We stayed at some state park off route the day after Davenport. The next day we rode to somewhere a little south of Streator. It was ungodly hot and humid. Easily 100 degrees. The tar used to fill in road cracks stuck to our tires and splattered on our frames. Little pieces of gravel stuck to our tires.

But I remember that day for another reason....A few of us noticed a school that was open for Saturday extracurricular classes. It was in the middle of nowhere farming country. We desperately needed water so we stopped in. A teacher was about to start a class on the pinciples of flight. She asked us if we would speak to the kids about all the things there were to do outside a rural farming community like theirs. We had many miles to go and were reluctant, but she pleaded with us and we ended up spending about 25 min. talking to the kids. Before we left, the teacher asked us for the sire of our next day off, which was to be in Bowling Green, OH. When we checked the mail in Bowling Green we found a manilla envelope filled with individaul "thank you" letters from the kids, some of whom were barely literate.
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Old 08-19-13, 10:09 PM
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Gotta admit I'm enjoying the "tales from the road." Very, cool!
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Old 08-20-13, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
...It was ungodly hot and humid. Easily 100 degrees. The tar used to fill in road cracks stuck to our tires and splattered on our frames. Little pieces of gravel stuck to our tires....
Yeah, same here. Here's the excerpt from my journal:

It was hot enough to melt the tar on the roads. That actually slowed me down a little, sinking into the road just a tad. I could hear bubbles of tar popping as a rode. And if I hit a spot of fresh gravel or sand, it would clog up in the fenders a little. Those fenders I was so glad to have the first two weeks are now starting to annoy. It really was oppressively hot.


It was obvious today that nobody was doing anything outside. Parties and cookouts were cancelled. Parks were empty. It was just stupid to be outside. I guess that's why they call this site "crazy guy on a bike".


Neglecting the heat for a minute, the riding today was rural Illinois at its finest. When I sit up on the bike, I can just see over the tall corn. There are wooded ridges and creeks spacing out the fields, so the cyclist gets a good variation once in a while. It was particularly nice approaching the Illinois River.
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Old 08-21-13, 08:38 PM
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I'm in Central Illinois as well. I grew up around the Illinois River Valley at Peoria and Morton and Pekin. Beautiful country. I now live in Normal, but the country is still rolling and somewhat hilly, thanks to the terminal moraine and glacial activity in the past. Oil and gravel roads in many places , which have their own problems in the summer heat, but great riding and good views when the corn is not 9 feet tall. Jeff Teel, from CrazyGuyonaBike, is from Morton, Illinois. He toured places where three states come together recently, using a Trek 3-speed. Previous to that, he toured Northern Indiana and Missouri on a Wards Open Road single speed.

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