Bike to the train museum
I got tired of waiting for Some Guy to take me to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. Well, isn't that why I have a bike? So last Saturday I finally went there myself.
It's about 10 miles from the Woodstock Metra station (Union Pacific Northwest line, out of Ogilvie Transportation Center). I might have saved a few miles if I'd gone to Crystal Lake instead, but Crystal Lake has sprawled the size of a small republic with correspondingly nutty traffic. I didn't want to deal with that, and it was high time I took on some bona fide country roads this season anyway. That turned out to be a good plan---it was a pleasant ride, and the drivers were (*gasp!*) courteous and safe, although I'd still try to avoid Dean Street in the future. Hills plus headwind plus heavy traffic is more than I'd prefer to handle at the same time, at least when I'm riding through a rural area. Or what's supposed to be a rural area. Or at least for now.
The museum wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I still had a geeked-out great time. If only I hadn't had to leave in such a hurry later that afternoon in order to catch my train back to Chicago. The subtle irony of this did not escape me, given that most of the other visitors riding the two demo trains running that day probably hadn't ridden any sort of normal train recently. Whereas I ride both diesel and electric trains all the time, some of which probably even qualify as "vintage," unfortunately. (Dear Amtrak: The fact that the passenger cars currently in use were built in 1979 really isn't something that should be bragged about.) It's just like riding a real train, I thought, complete with the repeating chorus of "are we there yet?" in shrill, youthful voices almost as soon as we'd pulled out of the depot.
This coming weekend is Diesel Days, so I'll probably be heading back to partake in the awesomeness. With better planning I would have put off my trip for another week anyway, since by midnight I was so tired that I ended up skipping the L.A.T.E. Ride. Again. As I had figured that I probably would. (And I'd finally snagged a rider number in the first wave, too.) Well, most of my adventures are pretty spontaneous. I needed to get out, and the Illinois Railway Museum was the first crazy idea that popped into my head at 6am. (Long story.) You do one L.A.T.E. Ride by yourself, and you've done 'em all.