2009-11-01 41 -88
Western Chicago Suburbia at a driveway enterance.
Thie was my first successful Geohash in the Chicago area since moving to Hyde Park two months ago (to the day). I was determined to cycle on this wonderful day before winter arrives. After arranging provisions, I departed around 9:15. My current address is ideally suited to Tron hashing. I departed along city streets to leave the lakeshore path for the return trip to attempt the Tron. Before leaving the neighbourhood, I broke a button on my pants and decided to return. Although I could have preserved the Tron, my return covered about 800m of previously covered ground. Next time.
I changed pants and departed again at 9:05am? My cell phone had automatically changed out of daylight savings time. Having abandoned the Tron, I left along the lakeshore path and picked up 18th St. to head east, I mean west, away from the lake. The Bears were having a game at noon, so traffic control was set up around Soldier Field, providing helpful directions across the commuter rail tracks.
Chicago has a nascent bicycle route system that gets progressively worse towards the west. The later parts of my trip would take me over suburban highways, ugh. I followed 18th St. around a couple of dogslegs to Ogden Ave. Cutting SW, I took 26th Ave. out of Chicago proper. 26th had been recently paved along it's entire length, providing a very comfortable ride with lanes just wide enough to let traffic pass. Ogden was rougher than a gravel trail.
As 26th neared it's western terminus, I began looking for a route south to 31st St, the least objectionable route I could find on my map. As every cross street lacked shoulder and sported high volumes of traffic, I kept going. Serendipitously, I found a paved trail system following Salt Creek starting at the end of 26th. This took me past the most objectional sections of 31st street and past I-294.
Through Oakbrook, the road was lined with Golf courses and country clubs. This is the closest area to Chicago with any semblance of terrain. This road was my first climb of over 50 vertical feet since leaving Vancouver. It made for smooth pavement and reasonable light traffic on an otherwise bicycle unfriendly 45mph road, which made it by far the best option. It's terminus at Highland Ave. was the worst segment of the trip. A major road crosses a freeway and Butterfield Rd, a six lane highway. I stopped for lunch to ponder my options. I braved the six lane highway for about 1 km before it turned into a 4 lane road with wide shoulders.
I made my way to the hash point smartly. I carried an old Garmin GPS 12 that the previous owner of my condo had left behind. I turned it on near the point and waited for it to calculate my position. I was standing less than 1m away from the GPS's measurement of the point. In a very non-geohasher way (i.e. not wandering around like a fool), I took a step over. Who needs a GPS anyways?
I didn't have any items to make a marker from, and I was pretty sure that the residents of the area wouldn't appreciate an addition to their well manicured lawns. Given that the route I had taken to the point seems to be the most ideal for cycling, I did not wish to add any semblance of a Tron hash by risking finding another route back. (It turns out that an appropriate route 1km north, the Prarie Path, would have worked well and connected to Chicago's bicycle routes.) I managed to reach about 30km/h on any flat straight stretches until past the 100km mark. After shopping for some Halloween candy at Target, I managed less than 20km/h on the home stretch. I was happy to get home, and have fried chicken and bannock for supper.
On this last segment, the batteries in my cycle computer died, so I do not have an accurate distance for this trip, but given the last known reading of 117km, I know I covered over 130km today.
| Fbfree earned the Bicycle geohash achievement