Monday, August 8, 2011

No Horse of Course

August 8: I saddled myself back on the metaphorical horse once again, wishing not for the first time that he was real. Rather than being carried around by a large mammal I was stuck with my long-suffering two feet once more. They commenced another round of torture in LaSalle, named after a French explorer who wandered around the Midwest discovering places all the natives already knew about.
In LaSalle I departed the I&M canal for good (near where the above picture was taken), a fact I may have mentioned before but I am trying to look out for those of you with short term memory loss. The early part of the excursion was spent amid the urban splendor of LaSalle, Peru, and Spring Valley.
Once past Spring Valley I moved on to a dirt road that at first followed the course of the Illinois River. There were no houses and the potential for wildlife was pretty good. More deer bored me with their ubiquitous presence. These animals are so adapted to living near humans I expect them to begin carrying cel phones shortly. More unusual was an eagle, which I noticed when he or she screamed some sort of expletive related to a failed mouse killing.
I covered ground quickly thanks to a lightened load. Staying with the cousins allows slack-packing, which means my back surgery can be delayed at least another week.
The dirt road eventually led to Depue, a former American village now apparently controlled by Mexico. I thought about going to the peluqueria, pero mi pelo es corto.
Coming out of Depue I climbed one of the first hills I have encountered since whatever state came before Indiana, which someone had clearly steam-rolled in preparation for my arrival. Once up this rare mountain in the plains I turned onto Highway 29, which I would take for my last four miles.
Unfortunately I finished a half a mile short of that goal. Three miles in I called the cavalry (my cousin Sue) when a pitch black cloud formed on the horizon just behind me. She arrived just as I came into Bureau Junction and the sky began to open up with a fury. I zipped inside, glad to stay dry and safe.
The storm ended up dumping huge amounts of rain on central and northern Illinois and lightning struck a house in LaSalle. I'm glad I decided to surrender when I did, I'm not used to having the option of an escape plan, but I'll gladly use it while I have the chance. Yet another thing I will miss when I finally get out of range of my wonderful cousins.

18 miles/1252 total miles

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