Cycling Chicago to Warrenville… in the heat


Today was… multifaceted, I guess. I didn’t really enjoy the first half (two-thirds? three-quarters?) of the day, but then the last part was really cool.

I departed my Chicago Servas host Steve’s place about 10:30 am. The route ahead of me was only about 33 miles, but I didn’t arrive at my new hosts’ place until 7:00 this evening. Mostly this was because I stopped and rested a whole lot.

It was a pretty hot day, and I felt it for many hours. Chicago’s high was only to be about 82 today, but humidity was (I’m guessing) around 50 percent, so it felt hotter. And, as I traveled west—away from the lake—temperatures rose. Based on my checks of my phone’s weather app throughout the day, I think it’s accurate to say that some areas I biked through hit 87 or 88.

It took a couple hours on Chicago city streets to reach the Illinois Prairie Path, which I then followed for a good chunk of the rest of my ride. When I did get onto the path, I saw what my friend Gill had told me: it is not a very shady path. It was nice to be away from auto traffic, to be sure, but I would have enjoyed more leafiness on a day like this.

However, I plodded along, and eventually it did get shadier. At one point, I took a short detour to stop for lunch at a Whole Foods, and after that, Google routed me away from the IPP and into several adjoining nature preserves instead, and that is when things really turned around and got beautiful.

The sun and air temperature remained hotter than I would have liked, but it did seem to have cooled down a bit from the peak of the day, especially after some dark clouds threatened to open up on me. (They didn’t, but the air got noticeably cooler.) Meanwhile, the “heavenly” light from the sky was breathtaking.

As I moved from lake areas to forested areas within the nature preserves, the goldenhour light descended and made everything even more magical.

I finally arrived at Gill’s friends Terri and Jim’s place, and they treated me to some deliciously cool sweet tea, while we chatted and I met two of their three cats. (I’m hoping the third, Braeburn, will show his face tomorrow, but I’ve been warned he may not.)

It’s kind of funny how a day can start out rough and become so beautiful in a matter of hours. Good thing to remember in life.

Tomorrow, I’ll meet up with Gill and her partner, and we will explore the local arboretum, which should be a good place to be on a day with a 91-degree high.

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