Sunday morning bright and early, I set out with my most awesome mentor, MJ. We headed towards the breakfast meetup spot, the Canteen, in Barrington IL. It was a fantastic little breakfast spot with great food. There were 11 of us for breakfast, but only 9 would end up riding.

Initially the weather was a little crisp, but as the day progressed it warmed up enough to be perfect. 70’s, blue skies, perfect fluffy clouds dotting the horizon. It was a beautiful day to be on the roads with a great group of riders.

We took off from breakfast and followed Dr.HiViz aka Dr. Gaget aka Nadine. We twisted and turned our way through Illinois and ended up at our first Giant, The Colonial Man.

Then we hopped back on the bikes and wound our way through more back roads and then onto I-55 to find our way to Route 66 and our second giant, The Gemini Man.

Next we wound our way through some more roads in an attempt to find the Metal Menagerie.  We experienced a minor delay when we lost 3 of our pack and picked up some random guys on bikes in some confusion around a traffic light. 5 of us ended up napping atop our bikes on the side of the road while a scout was sent out to locate the wandering souls.  About 30 minutes later with all bikes once again in our lovely stagger, we set out in search of the Menagerie.

We of course zoomed by it the first time, did a u-turn in a church parking lot and came back and again parked on the side of the road.

The Metal Menagerie was the creation of artist Jack Barker, a scrap metal sculptor and collector.  He created this whimsical zoo of metal animals throughout his lifetime. Although he passed away on May 16, 2012, the sculptures are still there to see for now. We met his son who says everything will be auctioned off later this month, which is kind of sad. The sculptures were awesome though—this man was truly inspired by metal.


Then we hopped back on the road following the day-glo stylings of Nadine and headed along the Kankakee river. We didn’t actuall see much of the river, but the ride was beautiful. Sweeping turns, tree lined views, beautiful sky up ahead and not a stop sign in sight. It was awesome


We ended up in Bourbannais near Olivet Nazarene University and stopped for Ice Cream! There was also “The Library” bar across the street so of course my fellow v-star riding librarian Joyce and I had to have pictures taken in front of it.


Then it was time to head home—lazy twisting turns led us up the other side of the river and after a brief potty break we headed to I-55 so everyone could peel off on their separate ways to get home. I ended up leading MJ and I home on I-55 and then Lake Shore Drive.

We pulled in having ridden 244 miles for the day.

Some thoughts from the day:

I’m becoming much more confident on the road. I’m able to actually relax, look at scenery, do the “biker wave” and enjoy what’s going on.

I need to learn not to focus on what is making me crazy about other riders—their mistakes, or their issues. I need to focus on my ride and not worry about others unless my safety is endangered.

I know when to take the lead and keep myself safe—something I didn’t know I was ready to do until we were on I-55 an we were in the wrong lane and about to get run over. Instead of panicking, I took control and moved us over. I was really proud of myself for that.

I over came my fear of Lake Shore Drive. I had been so worried about it after the incident earlier in the season and had not been on it again. I was fine.

I still have a lot to learn. I’m still making mistakes, some little some not so little. But each mistake is something to learn from.

And the best news of the day:

 I hit 1000 miles!!!!!!!!

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