Evidence to the contrary, well-marked roads are a rarity where I live.
So, in case you’d like to replicate today’s ride, I hereby offer directions that don’t rely on township, county or state signage.
Start by turning at the end of the driveway. (Roll along the edge of the drive; the rocks in the center are as loose as you’d expect and deeper than you’d think.) This will keep you from rolling down the neighbor’s driveway and into the lake, which is fairly shallow, but still not a great way to start a ride.
Unless you’re concerned about hydration, I suppose.
Head for the bridge over the railroad tracks. You’ll know you’re on the bridge when you’re between the jolting road breaks at either end. You may find yourself riding over a train, which is also a time-honored bridge indicator.
Follow the road past the house that had the blue election flags in front of it until a few months ago.
When you get to the long green house that was torn down about five years ago, get ready to turn in the direction opposite that suggested by the blue flags.
This is a busy road. But don’t worry: it’s downhill and with the wind. Turn again as soon as you can. (The guy who had the blue flags must turn here all the time.)
Welcome to Edelstein.
The Hub Ballroom was on your left back in early 2009. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Glen Miller played there. All that hardwood floor. It was still smoking three weeks after the fire.
The place across the street might be the biggest empty building in central Illinois. Until recently, people made enclosures for generator sets there. You’ll see a brick school building in the middle of what would otherwise be an enormous metal shed, the architectural equivalent of a generator enclosure, I suppose. This is what you get in an unincorporated village.
The no trespassing signs remain authoritative.
If you have a bell, ring it when you get to the house at the end of the street. I always do. Oh, and turn in the direction opposite the railroad tracks here, whether or not there’s a train on the tracks.
Follow the road past the house with the puppies. If there aren’t any puppies, look for the black cat in the front yard stalking something I’ve never quite identified so I can’t tell you whether the cat is any good at hunting. Seems focused, though.
Cross another set of railroad tracks and pedal through the intersection past a shaggy Shetland pony. If you say hello, the pony will turn in your direction.
At the next intersection, not the one with the pony but the one at the top of a long, gradual climb that takes forever with the wind in your face, count the roads that meet there and number them in clockwise order, starting with the one you’re on. When you identify the fourth road, take it.
Then turn on the next available road, straight into the sun. When you get to the barn that looks like a squarish duck, at least from the front, turn away from the quack.
Follow the road with all the power poles back to the intersection with the pony. The pony will have moved a ways off by the time you get there and won’t pay any attention to your passage.
Don’t take this personally. Turn into the sun again.
Surprise! You’re back on the same route you started on. It’s just that everything is on the other side of the road.
When you get back to the bridge, look for a train under you. If it’s moving, it’s probably not the same train I saw,
Makes no difference as far as these instructions. Just thought you’d like to know.
Turn into the driveway. Yes, I know it’s on the other side of the road. Don’t worry; it’s the right place.
I’d know it anywhere.
But especially where it’s at.
April 15. 12 miles.