Day 18:

Chi-Town At Last!


JUNE, 2017

The Frog Journal

18 days straight…damn. We took off feeling good though, a little jealous that Eliot was waking up to his first day off for sure, but happy he made it safe. While Eliot enjoyed sightseeing in Chicago, Andre and Zach had what quite possibly could have been the strangest day-ride of the thus far. The beginning was nice on a trail up until a few miles before Gary, IN where things just got weird. Gary welcomed us with a nice sign that sported the Gay Pride flag. We thought, hmm this place couldn’t be that bad…it was worse than we could have ever imagined.

The first dozen plus establishments we passed were strip clubs or abandoned strip clubs, and one adult boutique store. What topped it off for us was Truckers ’R Us at the end of the strip. Then when we entered the center of Gary, it felt like we entered a zombie town, that people left so quick they took the walls of the houses and didn’t even bother to board them up. The town smelled of gunpowder. We decided not to hang there long. Next we found ourselves on a road seemingly taking us nowhere, until we were pulled over by a police office who informed us we were trespassing on US Steel property (Thanks Google). She escorted us off to what she said was under a bridge that “sometimes floods a bit.” This was not a “flooded puddle” this was a straight up pond with a thick layer of oil shimmering on top of it.

So Zach went for it to find that oil burns your feet when it is absorbing into your skin. They raced to a gas station where Zach was quick to wash his feet off with bottles of water but that was only a temporary remedy…he knew he needed to jump in the lake. Andre and Zach made it a few miles to the lake where Zach beelined for the dock and just dove in shoes, bike clothes, and all! They could see Chicago, the weather was beautiful, and the lake was perfectly refreshing.

There they met Al, who gave them a tour of the remainder of Indiana and biked them up just past the Chicago city limits where we split ways and made our way up the beautiful Lakeside Park Trail in town to Chicago to reunite with Eliot and Hannah at, where else, a deep dish pizza joint! Eliot had beers and pizza waiting for us, a perfect kick off for our time in Chicago. After dinner Andre and Zach went to Kibuna’s who welcomed them with open arms and a great night chatting over beers.

“The town smelled of gunpowder. We decided not to hang there long.”