This post is part of a series of travel journals for the #AdlerGalaxyRide, a biking science roadshow over the 300+ miles between Chicago and St Louis. You can follow our ride by checking the website, following @AdlerPlanet on Twitter and Instagram, or searching for the #AdlerGalaxyRide hashtag.
A man on a Segway sped across the deserted town square in McLean IL, body pointed forward like an Irish Setter on the hunt. We watched him disappear round the corner of a small bank building that looked suspiciously lived-in.
“If you had asked me a moment ago what I was going to see in the next two minutes, that would have been my last guess,” said Kyle.
Today’s ride was a hot one– already close to 80 degrees as we prepared to depart. This morning we were joined by Steve Johnson, culture writer for the Chicago Tribune, who rode with us for our first leg of travel between Normal and Lincoln. As we all grabbed coffee and a bite this morning, people came over and asked us about the ride (having seen our Galaxy Ride shirts), which was really cute. We rolled out of town on Normal’s tree-lined bike path and headed out of town, quickly finding our way back to the cornfields and the baking sun. We headed over a few rolling hills, bid Steve goodbye about 13 miles in, and pressed on. For the most part the riding itself was pretty tiring– while the corn is still high in the fields we passed further north, harvest time has definitely come to downstate Illinois: combines roared over the stands of corn, pouring yellow rivers of corn kernels into a following vehicle (and sadly, leaving us without much of a windbreak).
Our lunch break in McLean was at sheltered picnic tables on a small town green, with trucks from local excavator companies occasionally circling like sharks, and a small arcade museum on one side. At our next break, we stopped through Atlanta IL, took a bunch of ridiculous selfies with a large statue of Paul Bunyon holding a hot dog, and investigated a laundromat/50-cent bookstore (which was more or less exactly what you picture). With Christina cajoling us to drink more water, we rolled into Lincoln just before 5– and were greeted by an amazing crowd! Roughly 150 people joined us at the Lincoln Public Library, with both adults and kids of all ages playing with our demos and checking out the moon for the entire time we were there. I have been really pleased to see what a wide range of people have come out to our events– this evening I spent part of my time trying to explain demos with large groups of people, and talking in-depth with a few people who came with questions at the ready. Thanks to all in Lincoln who came to join us– tomorrow we’re off to Springfield!
See you in space!