GPS-empowered odometers are the new digital watches
On Saturday I took a trip to Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore (the National Parks website seems to be b0rken at the moment). As I was crossing the visitor centre car park a couple on bicycles swung in from the road and stopped nearby.Husband: "Honey! 47.98 miles!"
I shouldn't have been surprised that all of the car parks near the beach were full ("come back after 4 p.m.") but the ranger on duty at the inland centre was very helpful and pointed me to the Cowles Bog Trail which, at a little over 4 miles, takes you through the lakeside vegetation and over to Bailly Beach. At around lunchtime the trail was deserted and the sandy soil and resulting plants reminded me nicely of hiking in the Bay Area. The beach was strange as it is set aside for people to pull up in their boats, and there were many many boats anchored in the surf, each with a family group on the sand adjacent to their boat. It is a strange place for a picnic as, at the western end of the beach, there's a coal-fired power station that intermittently spits out an impressive amount of yellow smoke. Nevertheless it seems to attract plenty of people with big boats. I was sure that I saw Steve Martin playing in the water with some kids, but then again I was sure I ran into Red Green and Harold on the trail on the way back to the car. Having seen the volume of sand I tipped from my shoes before getting back in the car I am now convinced that the supposed inland migration of Mount Baldy is caused by this kind of transport.
A nice side-effect of the trip to the shore was that I could take the skyway to and from the city (I294 is a total mess at the moment) and see the skyline in toto. In fact I could also see it through the haze when I was standing on Bailly Beach. Chicago's skyline always impresses me and reminds me why I was attracted here in the first place.
"Mr. Duckman, I don't believe I've ever cut myself on a urine sample before."
One thing about hiking in the heat, but with a cool lake breeze, is that you don't realise just how dehydrated you are. Until later.
If this is really going to be my last year in this area maybe I ought to nip over to the state fair in Springfield next weekend. I was reminded of this by a big poster in the mall advertising the 400 pound cow made of butter ("a state fair tradition for 70 years"). Alas, I couldn't find a web image of this state tradition, although it looks as if Iowa has their own butter cow, and typically it weighs in at nearer 2000 lb. Hurray for the Hawkeye State.