DEPART: 6:17 AM
ARRIVE: 12:27 PM 14.94 MILES IN 6 HOURS AND 10 MINUTES (GROSS)
AVG SPEED: 2.42 M. P. H.
This is the day that shall be known as the one that got off on the wrong foot, literally. Got up late and in a rush to get out of hotel and make it to New Lenox. One gigantic problem. I get to the New Lenox NSLB Bank lot at Cedar and US 30 and discover to my horror that I had failed to pack either frozen water bottle or my field-tested walking shoes. The only footwear I have on hand is what I am wearing, a battered set of black walking around the house shoes most inappropriate for anything but puttering around the house. The agony of de feet! Too late to return to hotel, so I walk to nearest (thankfully Open 24 Hours) Walgreens down the road and pick up a pair of Dr. Scholl's plain inserts, powder up the socks and hit the road about 17 minutes behind schedule. (I resolve to prepare detailed pre-flight checklists for each day from now on amidst much self-cursing.)
6:17a - 8:30am Hit stretch between New Lenox and Joliet. Shoulder is either non-existent, or a very rough paved shoulder much of the way. Feet, nonetheless, are holding up well in their black prison for the day. Am ahead of schedule, so I stop outside downtown Joliet to make a phone call to work and get some water. Also called Randall Lowman of the Village of New Lenox and ask him to contact the NSLB Bank and request that they not tow my car out of the back lot. He says it shouldn't be a problem, his wife works for them and he'll call them up.
8:50a Hit Scott Street and Cass Street and, as promised via e-mail a day or two before, there are John and Lenore Weiss of the Route 66 Association of Illinois ready to give me a tour of historic downtown Joliet. John is the author of a book about "Traveling the New, Historic Route 66 of Illinois and Chairman of the Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association. Both Lenore and he are charter memeers of the Lincoln Highway Association. We walk and talk along the way and stop to take a through the door peak at the former Methodist Church on Cass and Ottawa Streets which is being gutted to become the new home of the Joliet Historical Society. This is where US Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway meet in Joliet and where a new transportation museum will be located which will contain displays and info on the Lincoln Highway, US 66 and the I & M Canal. (We joke about the sometime friction between US 66 and Lincoln Highway boosters. (He seems to get a "kick" out my declaring that US Route 66 is like the Lincoln Highway's sexy younger sister!) The Weiss's walk me to the Des Plaines River Bridge and off I go. I have to say one thing about Joliet. 23 years ago when I applied for a position in the personnel department of the City (didn't get it), downtown Joliet was a sort of pathetic place. Vacant stores, run down and not looking like anything hopeful was on the horizon. It has changed much since, and all for the positive. It is past being on the rebound and seems reborn.
9:15-10:15a Head out of downtown Joliet. IDOT gets its revenge on me. US 30 is under radical reconstruction all the way out to Crest Hill near Larkin. I hip hop out of the gravel closed section onto and off the shoulder.
10:15a Hit Crest Hill City Hall area and stop for water and go on.
10:45a (appx) Two very welcome sites. Sue Jacobson and Ruth Frantz of the Lincoln Highway Association pull over to the side of the road. About a mile or so East of I-55. They indicate to me that they want to march along in Plainfield and then take me out to lunch. As I did not then have a volunteer scheduled to pick me up and transport me back to New Lenox, I tell them if they'll do that, I'll do anything they want me to do. At this point, the feet had started howling not so much from the bad footwear as from all the jumping around in and out of the roadwork zone on US 30. They agree and I tell them I'll meet them at US 30 and ILL 59 where old Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway share about three blocks of roadway.
11:15a (appx). Some woman in a white car beeps and waves and gives me a thumbs up just West of I-55 as she turns into the frontage road. Shortly thereafter, Bill Konway, Staff Photographer for the Daily Southtown, pulls over East of Renwick Road and takes some shots of me walking along the shoulder and at the Renwick Road intersection.
11:45am I am going along US 30 West of Renwick. The feet are ready to declare independance from me and establish their own identity.
12:10p (appx.) I stop at the GO Mart at the South Junction of US 30 and ILL 59 to look for Ruth Frantz and Sue Jacobson. My cell phone rings and on the line is Herb Moering, Staff Photographer for the Plainfield Enterprise. Herb wants to know where I am and I tell him and he says he can see me from where he's at. I say I'll hook up with him after I get some fluids at the GO Mart. Walk over to Herb on the West Side of ILL 59 / US 30. Tell him I'd like to wait for Sue Jacobson and Ruth Frantz to get there, so they could be in pics. (Sue and Ruth had not thought I'd make it to IL 59 so fast and had partaken of some of Plainfield's many antique shopping opportunities.) But a few minutes later, they were walking down the street and we took pictures at some Historic Route signs.
12:27p I hobble up to the Corner of Lockport and Division Streets and conclude the day's march.
Ruth and Sue drive me back to my car in New Lenox. I take off shoes, socks and hang my feet out the back right passenger side window. That felt good let me tell ya! Drove back to hotel and crashed like the Hindenburg after some shopping at Louis Joliet Mall. Soaked feet in tub. Got up about midnight, checked out of hotel at 1:am and came home. Do some e-mails, laundry and get packing for next leg of this insanity.
FOR THOSE WHO WERE THERE, PLEASE E-MAIL ME CORRECTIONS OF NAMES AND FILL IN THE BLANKS ON ANYTHING I LEFT OUT.
SINCE I DO NOT HAVE LAPTOP OR REMOTE E-MAILING CAPABILITY FOR CERTAIN LEGS OF THIS JOURNEY, I WILL BE ISSUING BULLETINS IN THE FUTURE AND UPDATES IF, WHEN AND WHERE POSSIBLE.
Next day's walk.
Tom McAvoy (Mad Mac)
Home: 9130 West 89th Street Tele: 708-599-2815
Hickory Hills, IL 60457-1208 e-mail: email@example.com
Work: IDOT, District One, Programming Bureau Tele: 847-705-4386
201 West Center Court Fax: 847-705-4666
Schaumburg, IL 60196-1096 e-mail: McAvoyTJ@nt.dot.state.il.us
On March: SEPT 1-14 ONLY: Cellular Phone: Tele: 708-204-3608
You can still participate, with Tom, on his walk across Illinois.
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