Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day Ride: Mount Carroll, IL

We started out the day a bit late for the amount of riding we intended ondoing today. At 10AM we were still in the west suburbs grabbing some quickbreakfast. Then we finally started to cross the state of Illinois the short way, east to west. As you may know, Illinois is flat and the roads are straight. There is an occasional curve here and there, but for the most part, the ride is boring. All the good roads are near the Mississippi River and that’s where we were heading to today.

The temperature today was going to climb in to the mid 80’s accompanied by plenty of blue skies. Yea, another great day for a ride. We’ve really had a nice summer so far, not too hot, not too humid, and not a lot of rain on the weekends either.

We stopped at the Rock River but there was no where to sit and since I haven’t been to visit Chief Black Hawk in a while, we decided to stop there today. A ride down the River Road was a nice break from the straight roads. The large statue is located on the River Road at the Lowden State Park overlooking the Rock River just north of Oregon, IL.

Chief Black Hawk

We continued west arriving at 78, then we headed north through the town of Mount Carroll, which sits up on a hill. The town began in the 1840’s and by the 1960’s it was a bustling hub of commerce. Much of the 19th century architecture still exist today.

78 isn’t particularity twisty, but it does have a bunch of nice curves and some really cool elevation changes. The views from the road are pretty good, from a couple of points you can see for many miles. Too bad there really isn’t any place to pull over, there is no shoulder on this road.

78 from Mount Carroll to Stockton

We arrived in Stockton on RT 20 hungry. We pulled over at the L.A. Drive In for a late lunch. It looked like that that cool little place that might have some good food. Wrong! This place absolutely had the worst food we’ve ever had and we were amazed how a place like this even stayed in business. But we paid the money so we were going to eat the food, even though across the street there was a very nice Subway.

Cod filet and fries, pizza puff and cheese curds

The only cool thing at this place was this old tractor

Two thumbs down

After lunch, we came to the conclusion that it was already too late to go further west and ride around Galena and Savanna, which was the original plan for today. We headed back south on 78 again, stopping at the Dairy Queen in Mount Carroll for some blizzards.

After arriving at route 64, we turned east. On the way up I spotted a little park with some picnic tables on the side of the road, now heading back with some time to kill, this was a nice place to take a break, or even a nap. The tables were large and made of stone.

Historic marker at the rest stop

One of the three picnic tables there, this one was in the shade

Relaxing on the picnic table

After about 45 minutes of lounging around, we took off again, arriving home before sun set.

Following my shadow on RT 64 just before Mount Morris

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