Friday, June 12, 2009

Deep Dish Love

Picture preview of the past week...mostly of my mini-Chicago adventure, since the Midwest is full of farms and nothing else...

The Big Bean sculpture in the middle of the city...

Banana Foster Pancakes at Eppel's Restaurant in Chicago...delicious.

Mount Baldy sand dune in Michigan City, Indiana. So beautiful at the top! You could see Chicago from there across the Lake.

The church we stayed in at Michigan City...the stained glass was so lovely that I decided to sleep in the sanctuary that night. However, it didn't help that the place was considered "haunted"...we definitely heard some noises that night.

A fave water stop of mine by a previous rider/alumni...those brownies were so yummy!
(below) Us on our way out of Cleveland, Ohio...and into the boondocks...

Today was our day off in Chicago! It was a nice treat to be in the city and be amongst a bit more civilization. The small towns we've passed through have always been extremely kind to us by providing meals and shelter each night. However, when you have the rare occasion of passing through buildings larger than two stories and hearing the hustle and bustle of traffic, honking cabs and reading newspapers that cover more than the cat that fell down the well that week, it's a nice breath of fresh air...ironically.

I got to get my bike serviced today at a local bike shop, Kozy's, located only about a half a mile away from where we're staying at University of Illinois at Chicago. They offered some amazing service, tuning our bikes for free, and then gave us a great discount on all of our purchases...something that is always appreciated in such an expensive sport.

Here are some pictures from the past week! The photo opportunities are not quite frequent in the midwest as they were in the Allegheny mountains. Things are pretty flat and the scenery is basically farmland for miles. At our stop in Fayette, Ohio, we were able to pick up packages that friends and family sent to members on the team. Salman had sent this amazingly large package of goodies for the team, but since our stop was so far out of the way (i.e. in the middle of nowhere) then FedEx didn't "feel like" riding back out to drop it off. This was followed by an intense minivan bolt to civilization to pick up the box and then drive back to our host. This is the downside to these areas. However, the upside includes the fact that the land is something you never see on the east coast. The crops that are mostly grown in the region are corn and soybeans, so they hadn't really grown tall while we were riding through.

Tomorrow we ride out of Chicago and make our way through Illinois. In a couple days we'll be in Missouri...I have heard mixed things from past riders about the state. Some seem to despise it, but I hope to get through it with a slightly more positive attitude. Taking each day one at a time has helped a lot, and I'm hoping to continue this throughout the trip. While I was visiting with my good friends Maansi and Sarah here in the city today, as we shoved our faces with deep dish pizza and listened to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Millenium Park (which was phenomenal, by the way) we got to talking about the trip. Their friends couldn't believe what I was doing, and it almost got to a point where I couldn't believe it, either! After leaving, I had to talk myself down and realize that I've gotten this far. I have a feeling that there are going to be plenty more of these "breathers" in the coming weeks, but I'm also realizing that I've got a whole 26 other people to help me through this...and of course I look forward to doing the same for them.


  1. Hey--just fyi, that's the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra that performs at Millennium Park, not the Chicago Symphony. Both are indeed wonderful, though.

  2. Jackie, you are truly an inspiration. Keep it going, girl! xxoo Tina