Day 34, the day before the rest day, has been long awaited by all. This was the last day of a 7-day stretch--the 13th out of the last 14 days where we covered over 1,000 miles. We were all tired and took it fairly easy on the tour to Valparaiso, IN (aka "Valpo"-rhymes with Alpo). The remaining fifty miles in Illinois was pretty standard fare--your corn, soybeans, car dealers, etc. At around mile 16 of the day, we did follow about 2 miles of the Historic Route 66 highway (that runs from Chicago to LA). On that stretch of road is the "Launching Pad Drive-In" with the statue of "Rocket Man" out front (pictured with me). After that stop, I couldn't get the Elton John song off my mind all day...and was reminded that Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your keeds (sic).
At about mile 50, we entered the great state of Indiana at State Line Rd. Much to our disappointment, there was no "Welcome to Indiana " or even an Indiana state line marker. Pennsylvania Floyd and I made do with a photo of the State Line (Road) sign and corn field in the background (pictured). You will have to trust me that this photo was indeed taken in Indiana.
I have since learned that the lack of a "Welcome to Indiana" sign is part of the planned two-year transition to combine the states of Illinois and Indiana into one state--Illiana. This little known change is quietly occuring behind the scenes, and will be complete by the end of 2009 when the state capital is moved (it has not yet been determined where). They are starting with dumpsters first (pictured), then going on from there. It makes a lot of sense. The states look essentially the same and they won't need signs on the border they used to share. Lincoln hung out in both states so there shouldn't be a problem with the license plates. As well, an unnamed spokesperson from the Illinois Department of External Pronounciation proclaimed, "We are thrilled. There will be no more rampant mispronounciation of our state name by people who are compelled to use the silent "S" at the end. This way, we get rid of the S and everyone is happy."
We concluded the day's ride of 87 miles, and the 7-day ride stretch, at Lankinau Hall Dorm, Valparaiso College. REST DAY!
Day 35 (July 29), the rest day has been great. Sleeping in till 7am, getting caught up on laundry, bike maintenance, and the blog. As well, I had a wonderful visit with Betsy's brothers Fred and Dan, and Fred's wife Teresa (pictured in front of the Porter County Court House--aka "the Porterhouse"?). We saw some of the sights around Valpo, including the Outhouse on the Middle School Roof.
Before closing, I would like to say a quick Indiana hello to Sandy Fletcher--a friend of my cousin Steve Boigon's. Sandy is a wholesale florist and avid bike rider. Keep on pedaling Sandy!
Onward and eastward tomorrow,