Monday, August 09, 2010

Tri-State: New Buffalo, MI

Living in Chicago the word, Tri-State implies IL, IN, and WI. Today I redifined Tri-State by riding out my alley, down the Chicago Lake Front Path, through East Side (a most uncreative name for a community still in Chicago but whose front yards sit on the IN border), down the Burnham path, finally onto Ave "O" (another uncreative name), through Hammond, East Chicago (that's in IN), Gary, and finally the Indiana Dunes National Park district. On to Michigan City, IN (where my parents had a 24 hour honeymoon back in 1939), and finally New Buffalo, MI.

My several solo treks from home to New York and further east have required passage around the bottom of Lake Michigan, a frightful arm pit of steel mills, abandoned buildings, 18-wheelers, and all things industrial sized that further dwarf my vulnerable 2 wheels. And yet, I've felt called to navigate the bottom of the Lake once again.

Mark and Jeff rode out with me from home to Grand Ave. in Chicago where they headed west for Lou Mitchell's, an iconic restaurant for at least as far back as Route 66, and I headed south and east hoping, hoping for safe passage into Michigan.

Last week when riding through south-central Illinois, Google Mapping for bicycles routed me on crushed limestone paths. I was not up for trusting Google Mapping again, at least not so soon. I opted for US Rt 12 virtually all the way. Route 12 through Chicago is as close to an Interstate as you can get without having the title of I-12. I was not hopeful; concerned to nervous might be better terms.

Turns out 12 is really not that bad; it just sounds bad, but picturesque it was not, no not in any way.

Notice the totally empty Gary-Chicago Airport Parking Lot!

Pleasantly, though the road surface was good, shoulders ample, traffic light, and weather friendly. What more could a rider want?

Company would be a nice addition.

I happened upon a yellow-jerseyed rider 7 miles west of Michigan City, a vacationer from NJ. We swapped stories till our paths diverged and then I cat and moused a 2nd yellow-jerseyed rider.

Later I would re-fuel at Jimmys and who should be there? Yellow jerseyed rider #2.

Refuled and refreshed by Jimmy's fare, a soy tea latte from David's and a few dark chocolate covered almonds from The Chocolate Cafe I waited for Kirk to arrive by car bringing me a fresh set of clothes so I can change out of my towel.

My ride home was equally pleasant and uneventful save the fog that enshrouded the city, this shot as seen from the Lake Front Path about 3100 south.

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