Canyon Run 2007 – Day 13

We left Iowa City early today as Donald was headed to the airport.

We put in an hour of riding before we stopped for breakfast in Iowa at the World’s Largest Truck Stop. If you have a semi and want to cover it with colored lights, this place is for you. They also have a large collection of religious t-shirts. The food was pretty good.

After breakfast we crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois and turned north along the east bank of the river. It was bliss to get off the interstate after 1000 miles or so, and to get the wind finally at our backs. We went through a number of small towns until at last we passed through Savanna and turned east onto Scenic Ridge Route. With a name like that, it had to be good, and it was good. Winding, climbing and dipping, the road took us through farmland to the farm of Kevin and Karen Ward. This farm lies about 100 miles from their home in Barrington, Illinois and is home to a pair of horses and a cozy farmhouse from the 1930′s.

The plan was to hole up at the farmhouse for a couple of hours, then proceed to Barrington. Kevin wouldn’t be home from work until later, so he figured we might as well enjoy a little quiet time here. Willo brewed us up some iced tea and we relaxed out of the wind for a bit. (The plan had been to hole up and wash the bikes, but the wind was just too strong to make it anything but a major chore.) Then it was on to Barrington, including another good dose of crosswind on the freeway.

We arrived at the Wards around 5 pm and immediately broke into Kevin’s excellent homemade beer (on tap, no less). Kevin and Karen had no shortage of delicious snacks (including a Mallomar clone called a Whippet that was very popular with everyone), and Karen prepared a delicious and diverse dinner for us all (I think there were at least three different main courses).

Today marked the end of our travels. The following days were a scramble of washing bikes, performing periodic maintenance (oil and filter changes, tightening bolts, examining brakes, etc.) and packing up the riding gear to UPS home to Seattle. But the bikes are ready for our return in September, when we’ll set off eastward again to Virginia for the Flyers’ Blue Ridge Run.

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