Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Green Bay Trail

I hit the road this morning at about 6:05 am. I have an early meeting so I have to be showered and ready to go by 8:30 am.

The Green Bay Trail from Winnetka to Wilmette is a very pleasant way to start my ride. The roads are pretty empty but biking along the wooded path enables my body and brain to warm up slowly. Thanks to my tax dollars, the pavement is kept up quite nicely so I don't have to watch for potholes and my joints don't get jarred at this early hour. I usually pass a few early commuters waiting for the train at Winnetka and Indian Hill Metra stations. I also share the path with a few fellow bikers, runners and dog walkers.

You can tell you've passed into Kenilworth because the riding surface on the trail shows its age. It buckles about every ten feet and feels like a washboard. Once you approach Sears School (and ignore the no biking sign), the way is an easier travel. No kids since school is out for summer. But I figure they would still be in bed anyway.

Just north of Wilmette, Kenilworth's last short portion of the trail is chalky gravel. Fortunately once into Wilmette, the path is better paved. One side of the trail is fenced back yards that years ago were owned by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad or some other large entity. My brother told me tall tales of teenagers using drugs and having wild sex in the woods that are now nicely cut lawns. As a kid I use to take this route in the opposite direction on my way to high school. It is odd to have travelled so much in life and be back almost where I started.

In eighth grade my friends and I were up to no good along the railroad tracks across Green Bay Road from Homers Ice Cream. One of them desperately shouts for us to run away. So off I go not knowing why. I run south along the rail side of the chain link fence separating me from the safety of the notorious woods. After about a hundred yards I figure I've run far enough and look behind me. I then see a person running in my direction silhouetted by the lights of an oncoming train. I assume it is one of my friends and ask him what was going on. Then I realize it is a mustachioed man who is very pissed off. He grabs me and knees me in the gut while screaming something. I can't really remember what he said but I do remember being scared. Lucky for me his kneeing missed its mark and merely put me off balance. He vents a bit more but I am still clueless as to what all the fuss is about. Finally he releases me and goes back to where he came from. I later learn one of my brain dead friends threw a bottle in the road and apparently mustache took it personally. Good times.

Distance Traveled: 24.7 miles
Distance to Date: 49.4 miles
Price of Gas: $3.39

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