We originally planned to see the Sister of Liberty in Oregon, Ill., on the last day of a previous summer vacation but had to cut it from our itinerary at the last minute due to weather. With a long Memorial Day weekend ahead, we decided not only to go see the Sister but also the Black Hawk Statue in Lowden State Park.
My view as we made our way to the Illinois River bridge at Henry, Ill.
Our first destination was Black Hawk, which is way in the back of the park, so imagine how surprised we were to ride all the way through to discover the statue was covered in black plastic, apparently the result of recent repairs. Continue reading
Ah, Sunday. Time to Ride to Eat once again, and our destination was set. Thanks to Funday, we were on our way to the Boiler Room in Kewanee.
Back roads beckoned, so we took the less traveled route until we happened upon fresh road maintenance — and its gravel topcoat. No. Thank. You. We hung a left and continued. Even with our re-route, we still had to ease our way over several yards of gravel before turning back onto the highway. No good, but nothing we haven’t had to do before.
We explored the road less traveled, winding our way through central Illinois.
Throughout the summer, we closely followed the progress of a new, upscale-looking establishment in Bradford. The day we first saw the sign, we knew we’d have to make it a Ride to Eat destination. So one date-night Saturday, we made our way to The Highlands Fine Food & Whiskey House.
Located right along IL 40, The Highlands is a noticeable new addition to Main Street. The exterior reminds me a lot of the Irish Cottage Boutique & Hotel, our favorite place to stay in Galena.
The Highlands Fine Food & Whiskey House in Bradford, Ill.
He previously had stopped to check the place out, so I already had heard a bit about it before walking in. Continue reading
On a previous trip to check out the then-Pioneer Club in Kewanee, we discovered another dining option just a block away called Cerno’s Bar and Grill. A quick web search revealed a promising Ride to Eat destination for another day — and that day was finally here.
The relentless July heat had finally let up, making for near perfect riding conditions. Basking in the warm sunlight, I felt the world melt away as he took us north.
A little photo shoot fun outside Cerno’s in Kewanee, Ill. The mural in the background is one of my favorites by the Walldogs.
Watch for this sign when you head out of Cedar Point to avoid missing the turn into The Gunsmoke Grill.
In anticipation of the long Memorial Day weekend, I pulled up the May issue of BikerSpot Magazine online to find some eating destinations requiring longer rides. Viola — just across from my article was a full-page ad for The Gunsmoke Grill in Cedar Point.
Well, technically, it’s not in Cedar Point.
It was a picture perfect Sunday. Bright blue sky dotted with puffs of fluffy white clouds promised a smooth day ahead. Continue reading
After talking about it for several weeks, we finally had the perfect day to venture down to the Dickson Mounds Museum outside Lewistown. Of course, we wanted to take a long, and somewhat out of the way, route there. And, since our big trip around Lake Michigan was coming up soon, a whole day on the bike would be the perfect practice — or test.
We headed out of town on IL 8 West, continuing on the road after it merges with IL 78 South at Elmwood. It being rather early on a Sunday morning when we left the house, traffic was non-existent and the weather was warm but not yet hot. Driving through the various small towns along the route once again reminded me of home and the drives I’d take with my dad. It’s no wonder I feel closer to him on the bike than any other time.
Thoroughly wrapped up in the joy of the ride, we made our way through Farmington to Canton where we headed west on County Road 5 to Cuba, which is lined with a network of ponds. My head pivoted from side to side, watching for wildlife and soaking in the scene. Thinking back now, I realize I must’ve looked like a lawn sprinkler with my rhythmic head movements and wonder if I was subconsciously keeping time with the music. Continue reading
Rewind to 10 days before Christmas (especially if you read my holiday post). It was Sunday, December 14, and it was 52 degrees outside. In Illinois! We both not only wanted to ride … we needed to ride. So, we geared up — me in no less than five layers — and headed out, much to the chagrin of our two dogs who were becoming a little too accustomed to our being home on Sundays.
Now, it was 52 degrees outside; however, you should know I tend to wear sweaters when it’s 70, so it was no small feat for Wally to get me out in the middle of December. One big advantage he had was that it was in the low 50s for much of our summer vacation around Lake Michigan in August (watch for many posts on that ride to come), which means I had learned to deal with it more than in the past. Continue reading