We set out to ride along the Des Plaines River but it was a Mackerel Sky – Never long wet, never long dry. At fifteen miles of rain it was time to turn about and admit defeat and try to get warm. There was a bit of color to offset the drab raining sky.
Once back, we were near Bob Chin’s Seafood Restaurant in Wheeling Illinois where ( we were amazed they let out wet muddy selves in ) and I enjoyed a fine clam chowder followed up by mussels and then finished off with a family recipe for dessert unlike any I have tried. It was pie, with the purple base made from potatoes grown in Okinawa which are regular potatoes with the purple color. It is whipped finely with coconut milk and served on a graham cracker and macadamia nut crust and topped with a layer of coconut with a texture like custard and that topped with whipped cream. It was rich and tasty and not overly sweet.
Of all the place in Chicago, Bob Chin’s is right up with the Publican in restaurants not to miss. It makes a day cycling in the rain and mud seem not so bad.
More birds from my favorite youngest daughter. Birds make me happy.
The gift of beauty
Shared between two hearts as one
Goldfinches bring good luck
If you ride in the meadows of the Big Horn mountains, you might discern small non-descript birds alone or clustered in groups of five or ten along the fences. Nothing much to see until startled they take flight and sunlight sparkles off their wings in the brightest blue.
My favorite youngest daughter captured this in her series of birds. She’ll have a series of eight birds out soon. How fleeting and precious are the moments.
Iowa was so friendly, and the Wabash Trace so nice that it needs a second post. In Shenandoah at the restaurant called the Depot – you can get a locally crafted root-beer. Rich and smooth with just a hint of anise it was a treat.
We stopped at several other nice restaurants, but I couldn’t find one that sourced local Iowa beef, maybe that’s something to find in nearby Omaha which is a larger city, but when I asked the waitress what they recommended everyone said “Onion Rings” and “Chicken Livers”.
I have to admit that all my life I’ve never tried a chicken liver, though my mother a farm girl loved them. So to honor Mom’s memory we tried the chicken livers and they were very tasty.
Maybe this is Iowa foie gras? It was pretty good but very rich.
So, if we’re going to enjoy the table – we’d better do some extra along the trail…
Well, we can’t let youth have all the fun….
Safe riding everyone!
If the Wabash Cannonball still runs, it runs in Iowa along the Wabash Trace, sixty miles of delightful trail in Iowa. The original Cannonball, as legend goes was the death caboose that took the hobos of the depression to a better place. I suppose I’ll defer my ticket till a later date and trust my bicycle along the converted trails.
Iowa is prettier than I imagined with it’s rolling hills and miles of grain. Some of the hills are terraced to conserve the soil, and I could feel the farmer’s love for the land as we rolled along the converted trail, with 73 bridges along the 63 miles and the gentle long inclines that the old steam engines so favored.
The many bridges span ravines, little streams or the Nishnabotna River…
Pictures don’t do Iowa justice. On the cold blustery day the sky is so blue and brilliant the vistas so large I liken it to the ocean. We a red-headed woodpecker, a black vulture flew overhead and a state where the goldfinch is the state bird has to be just fine.
You can hop on the trail at Council Bluffs, and ride the length in a day, the hills are gentle but long and the people of Iowa seem to be friendly. This trail and all the bridges are all volunteer build, so there is a small fee at the trailhead. It’s very worth it to see a piece of history in a great state.
Little acts can change our day. Today I found this in my mailbox.
It was from Tessa our neighbor’s six year old daughter. I learned a lesson too. Small sincere acts of kindness really do lift our spirits. Thanks Tessa, we’re never too old to learn.
Pass it on.
At 6:00 am, the train station is desolate. The streets to the train station are empty and the air is cool. We were soon to be off on the train to downtown Chicago and from there ride our bicycles up along the lake and paths the 120 miles to Milwaukee.
Dawn rises along the tracks and soon enough the ride begins.
Every ride is full of wonders, like the scent of chocolate baking along the streets of downtown, or the sea of spandex when our path merged with a woman’s 1/2 marathon. It’s a chance to find mom/pop restaurants like the Mexican place in Evanston where you can get corn meal pancakes and the restaurant is so small that you have to walk through the tiny kitchen and ask the dishwasher move to get into the tiny restroom.
Hope you ride your bike to new places and find adventures of your own.