A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Thirty-four: Wednesday 1 August 1990

Fish Creek Campground, Spencer, IN to Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Oakwood, IL

I leave Fish Creek. On my map of Indiana as I don’t yet have an Illinois map, I had marked a possible route of following US 41 North from Rockville, IN. At this point my ability to ride longer distances in shorter times has improved considerably. In all probability, I purchased a map of Illinois during a rest break in Rockville because on my map of Indiana, I have two routes marked as I approached the Illinois state line. Instead of going north on US 41, I decide to continue west on US 36. Why? Because I still had a lot of daylight to burn and in looking at the maps of Indiana and Illinois, I am planning routes based on easiest access to camping. My provisional route doesn’t appear to offer many camping opportunities, so I change it.

One thing about bicycling long distances unlike driving, you have the opportunity to really take in your surroundings and notice details that disappear at automotive speeds. Sometime after reaching Illinois while I am heading north on US 150 West, I am looking off to my right at this low to the ground concrete structure. I can tell that it has steps going down. I am wondering what it is. It dawns on me that I am looking at a tornado shelter. It dawns on me that I am now riding in a part of the country where tornadoes are a concern and distinct reality. I stop thinking about it.

The thing I remember about Kickapoo State Recreation Area is setting up camp on a lawn. I also remember that at the time Kickapoo had just been upgraded to better support non-RV campers with showers and flush toilets. This fact is important every state park with campground up to this point has had shower and toilet facilities.

I ride into Danville to find a bike shop. I need new tires. I make my purchase at a place which appears to no longer exist, Van’s Schwinn Shop #1.