USA 2019 Day 17 from Rochester to Hebron

Today will be another warm, if not a hot day. At a quarter to ten, I sit on my bike and start making kilometers. That’s what it’s all about today. This stage is planned almost exclusively off the beaten track and I want to do many kilometers so that tomorrow I can roll into Chicago relaxed and enjoy the panoramic trail directly by the lake with a view of the skyline. However, yesterday I noticed something that could become a problem.

My rear tire has no more tread. Completely run down. But it’s no problem until Chicago, there’s still enough rubber on it. But I should change it as soon as possible because I don’t know how it looks after Chicago with bicycle shops and if it rains again (that’s only a matter of time), a good tread is important to me. I also ride balloon tires, 26 x 2.0 inches. The shop must have it in stock first. In Chicago this shouldn’t be a problem, it’s a big city with a lot of choices. So, in any case, change the tires in Chicago and don’t wait until the last minute.

Only 400 meters main road, then it goes on the announced smaller roads. As soon as I leave Rochester, the typical American street names begin. After about ten kilometers, for example, I’m standing directly at the intersection of the 200 W and the 200 N. The roads are numbered in steps of 100. Between the 200 N and the 300 N lies about one mile. If there is another road in between, it is called 225 N, 250 N or 275 N in relative position. Sometimes the street names also have a relative position to a center. For example “West 375 North” or short “W 375 N”.

In cities, this works again differently. There are single steps for numbering and eight streets make one mile. So you know that it is exactly half a mile from the 16th to the 20th street. If the road runs from north to south, it is an avenue. If it runs from east to west, it is a street. House numbers always increase from east to west and from south to north. Each block a 100-step. Odd house numbers are always on the south or east side, even numbers on the north or west side. The two main streets are Central Ave and Washington Street. These are the “null” streets and their intersection is the city center. According to the position relative to this center, the streets have the compass direction in front. Often another compass direction is added at the end for the relative position to the other axis. So the fictitious address “322 N 7th Ave E” is a 7/8 mile north of the city center in the third block of the road to the east. Anyway, it’s about this way and most of the time, because of course there are exceptions and regional peculiarities.

Something like that goes through my head for hours today. He also wants to do something and is jealous of my legs, which do their work together in unison. They have a task. My head must look for one. He did that when he was triggered by the sign at the intersection of the 200 W and 200 N. This happens when you are on the road all alone for weeks and later even months. What will be on my mind in the future? Hopefully only thoughts!

In any case, I continue to follow the American road network with its right-angled roads. Since I have to go north as well as west, i.e. to the northwest, this means alternating roads to the north and roads to the west. Sometimes I turn left, sometimes right. So I work my way towards my day’s destination. All roads, on which I am today on the way, are hardly used. Sometimes I don’t see another vehicle for a whole hour.

After almost 40 km I pass the small town of Monterey. But here there is nothing to see and also no business. I would have liked to buy a little something as a treat, although I have enough with me. But something small for the soul would have been great. The only remarkable thing is a family driving through the city on a golf cart. After all, it’s a family with a petrol engine. It’s the only vehicle I’ve ever met in Monterey. Otherwise, the city seems to be extinct.

Maybe the inhabitants flee from the heat? It has become exactly 30 °C. Not very hot, but already more than warm. I don’t care, I can stand the wind and if I want to stop, I look for a shady place. So it can be endured well.

In the middle of nowhere, I come across a trail. The Erie Trail. It starts near the intersection of the S 450 E and E 800 S. Well, where might that be? The asphalted Trail is only for hikers, cyclists, and riders and leads up to North Judson. Therefore it is also partly written as North Judson Erie Trail, sometimes only as Erie Trail. I don’t care, because it leads to the northwest. Exactly my direction. Without zigzag. Unfortunately only 13 km. But first perfect for me, because when I arrive in North Judson, I am very hungry. I leave the Trail and also my planned route and follow a bigger road in a direction, in which I suspect the center. I am lucky. It is not the center, but after 800 m I reach a typical American diner and treat myself to a hamburger, a Dr. Pepper and afterward an ice cream for dessert. That did me good!

Strengthened I drive the 800 m back to my planned route and then - oh wonder – on a diagonally leading road to the northwest. It runs parallel to a railway line. I pass something that is marked as a railway museum. But as far as I can see, these are just randomly put together locomotives and freight wagons, which rot outside on stabling tracks. I find that so unfortunate! Unfortunately, the road ends after three kilometers and I have to continue my zigzag course on roads to the north and west.

So it goes on until I have to turn south after 119 km. To the south? Yes, in this area hotels and motels are rather rare. I have to go three kilometers south, there is a small settlement at the Interstate exit with the funny name Dinwiddie and two or three motels. The three kilometers I have to go back tomorrow, but six kilometers detour is still good to get over. I have a comfortable bed for that. It’s been a long day today and I’m glad that tomorrow I won’t have so many kilometers to Chicago.

🕑 Ø
5:44 121 km 21.1 km/h 330 m 360 m


Written on August 30, 2019