With the rare opportunity for a Saturday afternoon ride, we carefully considered our lunch options. Since I was thinking a little outdoor dining sounded good and we had not yet eaten there, Catalpa Grove Tavern was the obvious choice.
Our tires hummed along the highway, and I soon found myself lost in the rhythm of the ride, easing into a peaceful groove. As the last of my cares dissolved in the wind, we rounded the last corner into Toulon and the Catalpa Grove parking lot.
The “outdoor” bar hadn’t yet opened for the day, so we grabbed two stools at the large U-shaped main bar and explored the menu.
The main dining area at Catalpa Grove Tavern in Toulon, Ill., has a large bar and quite a bit of natural light.
We saw it coming a week away — 50-plus degree weather in early February! It was just too good to pass up, so I took a mental health day from work and anticipated the ride.
Of course, when the day finally came, it was breezier than the forecast had promised, which meant it was much cooler, too. Unwilling to give up my much-needed wind therapy session but knowing I’d hate being out in the cold, we decided to keep our plans but stay closer to home. The only logical destination was just outside Peoria: Ludy’s Kickapoo Creek Saloon.
On warm summer mornings, we often ride early to enjoy some quality wind time before returning home to take care of all that pesky work that comes with a big yard. Those days, our Ride to Eat destination is always the same: Brasky’s Bar & Grill.
Conveniently located just north of Route 6 on Knoxville Avenue in Peoria, Brasky’s is a casual bar with good food and a great staff. And it’s our neighborhood place, which is why we frequent it on Sundays for a quick lunch between parking the bike and tackling the yard. Well, that and fantastic Sunday specials! Continue reading
As an English major and a writer, I have been intrigued by the Spoon River Drive since we moved here more than 15 years ago. Every year, I say, “This is the year we’re going to check it out.” And every year, it comes and goes before I realize it. But once we got the bike, I knew I would finally be able check that item off my to-do list — and check it, I did.
IL 78 heading toward Havana and the Illinois River Valley.
It all happened as a result of the hubby seeing an installment of WEEK-TV’s You Gotta Eat highlighting a place in Norris called Tracy’s Supper Club. I have since learned that Tracy’s is a rebirth of the bar and restaurant that was formerly called Viano’s, an area favorite with a 75-year history. The owners maintained as much of the establishment’s old charm as they could, right down to restoring the vintage bar. Continue reading
Peoria, Ill. to Cedar Lake, Ind.
What a crazy summer it’s been! The short version is that our poor bike — like this blog — was ignored for way too long. I’m ashamed to admit how long I went between rides, but I will say that I am really glad we took that three-day ride over Memorial Day weekend. Since I don’t have a lot of adventures from this summer to write about, I decided it’s about time I shared the story of last summer’s epic trip around Lake Michigan.
It was exactly 199 days before we left that Wally proposed the idea to me: Let’s ride the bike around Lake Michigan and see as many lighthouses as we can along the way. I was shocked to find myself agreeing to it, but then, he did have to deal with my questions. Continuous. Daily. Highly detailed. Questions. Questions about questions. And, even more questions. He was a trooper — and driven.
We bought a large print atlas to explore and plan our route. We researched cities, landmarks, activities and events along the way. We spent hours upon hours on the computer, fine tuning our plan to one of perfection. It would be six nights, seven days and an average of about 250 miles a day, which would allow for plenty of sightseeing stops. Continue reading
The weather was a bit iffy this particular Sunday, but we really wanted to get some wind time before embarking on a major house project we’d been putting off for a while. After making sure all our rain gear was in the bags, just in case, we decided to check out the new BikerSpot advertiser in Bartonville, Sportz Nutz Bar & Grill.
Since Bartonville is just a short ride from our house, going directly there would never have been enough wind therapy to tide us over. So, we made an adventure out of it, deciding to make our way to Meadows Avenue Tap in East Peoria first. We had never been there before and wanted to check it out — a sort of reconnaissance mission for a future article.
Who wouldn’t be curious after seeing this sign?
It was finally time … time for our first ride of the season! After seeing the sunshiny forecast earlier in the week, I had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get some wind. The forecast actually was right (and the ice had finally melted off the driveway), so we geared up and hit the road.
Our initial thought was to check out this little diner-like setup we noticed on a previous ride through Henry. Of course, we forgot to check its hours before leaving the house, but it was all good. We figured we’d eat lunch there if that was an option; if not, we could at least check it out a bit and then look for food elsewhere.
Like we normally do when we head north out of town, we worked our way along a series of wonderfully low-traffic county roads toward Henry. Smiling widely as I took in the deep blueness of the sky, I suddenly noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Continue reading