Thursday, July 16, 2009

Severe Weather Near The Windy City

Pictures L to R: Waiting on the train in Indiana; Traffic in the Chicago Suburbs makes for a grumpy Dave; Cornhusker--We're headed in the right direction!; Storm clouds over Lake Sabbonna, IL, where we're camped; Ricky Raccoon passing by our porch.

16 July 2009 Albion, IN to Sabbonna, IN 219 miles

Blame the high miles on the big cities…all we want to do is get through them. Indiana has some big critters—both the eight legged variety and something else, we’re not sure what it is—but it was on our tent—about one and one-half inches long, and ugly!

We stopped in Albion to gas up—and were surprised to see that our tank took 10.396 gallons! I guess we were running on fumes from the campground…After breakfast at the Harvest CafĂ©, we headed out in search of the Lincoln Highway. This has actually been more of a challenge than we thought it would be, especially when we came to the larger towns or villages. At one point we were driving along, following the signs, and suddenly we were headed in a completely different direction. This could be fun… at least until we neared Chicago.

Although the route we were taking was about 20 miles south of “The Windy City,” traffic was stop and go with multiple stop lights and stop signs, and the LH signs were often taking us through the not-so-good parts of town. We did pass by the Ford Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, and were stopped for a while by a cool looking draw bridge that was up in Joliet, IL, letting multiple strings of barges through that were carrying sand down the canal. Which canal…we have no idea!
After passing through Plainfield, IL, (which has a neat downtown historic district), we were literally driving through fields of soybean and corn, and brand new houses that were planted—much like Roseville or Natomas—in what used to be fields. I guess this area is the suburbs of Chicago. We were heading west, toward a state campground, when we noticed the dark thunder-clouds building. After a discussion about tornadoes, I have to admit I was a bit frightened…then…

For the first time on this trip, our NOAH weather radio went off with its severe weather warning—for the storm that we were headed for. No town in sight and the closest motel about 20 miles away, we continued on to the campground. Just before we got to the campground, it started raining. The campground host mentioned that they had one rustic cabin available for tonight if we were interested—no bathroom or kitchen—just mattresses and a table and chairs. The cost? $25 more than the tent site. Obviously, the answer was YES! So now that the rain has passed by, here we are, sitting on the porch watching the fisherman on Lake Shabbonna, the raccoons walk by looking for food of any kind, the fireflies flit around the bushes, and hearing the bullfrogs croak their mating call. There is just something about that Gill luck…

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