We have spent many nights of our trip camped out in public parks. Each of these parks have had "hours of operation". We ignore them in an effort to save money and avoid RVs. We hope to not get found in the middle of the night and get kicked out, but we know it is a possibility. As we sat on a picnic table at a park in Earlville, IL kate last night, we thought "Isn't it about time we get kicked out of a public park?". At other times during this trip we have also wondered: "Isn't it about time we ride at night?", "Isn't it about time we ride 130 miles", and "Isn't it about time we see George and Joanne Carr again?". Coincidentally, each of these musings occuerd within one span of being awake.
We attended Joe's church on Sunday morning. We enjoyed the service, which featured some beautiful wildlife photography set to a reading of Psalm 104. After the service we said goodbye to our friends and returned to Joe's house for a last meal with his parents. Our friend, Theo, picked us up to drive us across the Mississippi River. This short truck portage would allow us to spend a full day visiting friends in Chicago.
He dropped us off around 2:30. It was sad to say good-bye, but we are very excited to get back together with all our friends in 3 weeks when we move into EMU for the semester. We rode 60 or so miles to a small town called Earlville. Around 9:00 we found a nice little park and decided to spend the night there. Not one of us was particulary sleepy, so it wasn't until around 11:30 that we lay down to sleep.
Right as Joe and Nate slid into their sleepingbags the police officer showed up. He did not immediatly kick us out, but did alert us a close call we had with a disaterous situation. When he ran Nate's ID, the officer noticed that Nate is 17 years old. This meant that Nate would have been breaking curfew if he had not been in the presence of a legal guardian, or someone who he is related to that is over 18 years old. I therefore qualified as Nate's guardian. This spared him from the mis demeanor charge of breaking curfew which would have necessitated our parents' prescence to release him from police custody. Moral of the story here is: if you are under 18 years of age, bicycle touring is illeagal unless you are accompanied by a leagal guardian.
So, crisis averted. We were told to pack up our stuff and proceed to the comercial campground down the road. We made friendly chit-chat with the officer as we packed up and he, feeling a little guilty, repeated the directions to the campground far too many times. Half because of spite and half because of our desire to fufill all of our "one of these day's" musings in one night, we made a decision to go all the way to Wheaton.
I wish that I had not been so tired during the ride from Earlville to Wheaton because I think I might have enjoyed it. We cruised through suburbs that would have been over-congested during the daylight hours. All of the road was ours; we did not need to fight for every inch like we do during the day. We rode through greenlight after greenlight until we turned onto the Fox River Bike Path which turned into the Wheaton Prarie Path. As dawn approach we found ourselves riding through Danada Euqestrian Center. In euqestrian center we rode on wide fine gravel paths through prarie and timber. It was beautiful and peaceful.
We rolled into Wheaton at 5:00 and inhaled a few bagels at the first Dunkin Donuts that we have seen on this trip (we are deffinitly getting further east!). I called George and Joanne just before 6:30 mass. We were showered and in bed by 7:00.
Phew, I feel like I am processing last night's events as I type them. Right now Nate and Joe are watching The Fellowship of the Rings and I am thinking about ice cream. The Carrs have been extraordinarily hospitable. We can think of no other place thaat we would like to be after a night like last night.