DEPART: 5:44 AM
ARRIVE: 12:12 PM 12.25 MILES IN 6 HOURS AND 10 MINUTES (GROSS)
AVG SPEED: 1.89 M. P. H.
5:30a- Meet Mike Pracht and Dennis Holsteen of AutumnGreen Landscaping and they have no problem with my leaving my car. I gave them some new Illinois Highway maps for their crews and a few more byway maps. I tell them their business is on one of the few roads in the nation that has its own website: www.lincolnhwyil.com.
5:44a - I depart. It is dark and I have put on a highway safety vest which has blinking red lights on it powered by a small battery pack. (Donated by H&H Industries, Inc. 110 W. Main Street, PO BOX 735, Elmwood, Illinois 61529 Tele: 1-800-637-3853) That nifty vest came in very handy. Keslinger Road has a narrow gravel shoulder and high-speed traffic in a larger volume than I anticipated. This thing's flashing lights are visible for blocks. I could tell when oncoming motorists would see it and either slow down or hug the centerline. Designed, I imagine, for use by road workers out on the road in darkness or dawn / twilight, this would also be ideal for road hikers operating during the same light conditions. It is not heavy or bulky and it sure lets people know that someone or something is on the shoulder. I will wear it from now on when I am out early.
7:50a - I am supposed to hit Illinois Route 47 at about 8:30am, but have been making such good time down Keslinger Road, that I arrive 40 minutes early. I take a break, make a phone call to tell Sue Jacobson that, since no one is around waiting for me that I am going to keep on rolling until 8:30 and then, if Sue and Carl go by Illinois Route 47 and see anyone waiting to "March Along" with me, I'll double back to meet them and re-walk the proposed "March Along Segment."
8:20a - The cell phone rings and I get to it in time. It is John Kos, IDOT District One Engineer, my boss's, boss's, boss's, boss's boss. He tells me he is on his way to catch up with me to give me something from the folks in the "Executive Office" or as I call it, "the Skyboxes." I am wondering what it could be. Work? A request to correct my last time card? The streets and maps computer program I've been after Jerry Daleiden to give me for the past year or so? Anyway, I tell him where I am at, and keep on moving.
8:30a - John Kos pulls over on the other side of the road and gets out with a cup of coffee in one hand and an "Instant Energy Kit" (Contents: a fruit cup/can of Wild Raspberry Flavored Peaches; seven mints; a Nature's Choice cereal bar and a PayDay candy bar.) As John and I talk, up pulls Sue and Calr Jacobson, followed shortly thereafter by Ruth Frantz. We are all standing in the cut out for a large silo when a white car with flashing police style lights pulls up. I am thinking perhaps the silo operator put a call into to report a suspicious crowd gathering outside his establishment. But no, out pops Mayor James L. Willey of Elburn and the City Administrator (whose name I forgot to scribble down, someone please supply.) Well, instead of a ticket for an illegal gathering or mob action, the Mayor presented me with a blue Elburn Police baseball cap and welcomed me to Elburn. Very nice gesture. (NOTE TO PAUL HEURICH: We could have used that cap twelve-fifteen years ago after a seat belt survey in Elburn!) We all gab for a while. I ask the Mayor when the Metra Line will be extended to Elburn from Geneva. He says, "they say in five years, but they've said that every year for the past three years!" Finally this mini-mob breaks up and I get on toward my next stop, Kaneland School, about a mile away.
8:55a - 9:05a Freelance Reporter Linda Girardi, working for the Aurora Beacon-News, stops me at Dauberman Road and asks for a taped interview. I am running on time up to that point and people are waiting for me at Kaneland School, but, the public relations show must go on. My left foot small toe was starting to pinch at that point, so I do the interview sort of hopping up and down.
9:15a - I arrive at Kaneland School where Kaneland School District Superintendent Charles McCormick greets me at the Lincoln Highway Banner in the school parking lot courtyard. The banner was obtained by donations from Kaneland School children following a presentation on the Lincoln Highway given by Sue Jacobson and Ruth Frantz. Mr. McCormick heads the largest unit school district in the state area wise, so he has his hands full. But, I have to say, he not only took out the time there to meet and greet me but he also brought out one very cold bottle of ice water! That was much appreciated. Kim Cole of the Elburn Herald took some photos as well as Ruth, Sue and Carl. We gab and gab and finally, I head down the road, where my next stop is an orchard store for an "apple cider break."
10:00a (appx) I meet Ruth Frantz and Kim Cole at the entrance to Tom and Dorothy Milnamow's Pine-Apple Orchard at Watson Road and Keslinger Road near Maple Park. (Tele: 815-827-3317) Took some pictures at the entrance sign and Ruth drives me to the Orchard Store. If you are into apples, apple cider or donuts, this is a must stop. Open September to December each year (and this year until Dec. 21st), apple or donut aficionados will really like this place! They probably have every apple product known to mankind in the orchard store. We all sit down to enjoy fresh made donuts and apple cider and gab up a storm about all sorts of things, including our mutual Irish heritage. Apparently, at one time in the 1910's - 1920's there was a cross country auto race along the Lincoln Highway that attracted a lot of contestants, including some from foreign countries. As a prank, some members of the Milnamow family decided to twist the Lincoln Highway sign on Keslinger and Watson Road to direct cars North on Watson. A few of the racing teams without good maps fell for the ruse and shot up Watson instead of Schraeder Road and got stuck in what was termed a "swamp" at a low point on the road. (Tom believes the French and Russian teams were involved.) The cider is not the clear, bland stuff you get at a supermarket. It is the real thing and is a cloudy (light brown) color and is sweet and very refreshing. The donuts are excellent as well. I gobble up two of them. I lucked out and landed there on baking day. Kim Cole and others take a few pictures, then Tom Milnamow gives me a tour of the cider making plant nearby. The assembly plant for making the cider is pretty complex, including a new flash pasteurization machine. The plant was not in operation, but I tasted the end product and I know it works pretty well. On my next run out to DeKalb, I am going to stop in and stock up.
11:00a I depart Milnamow's and head down Keslinger Road and North on Schraeder Road to Illinois 38.
11:35a Sue Jacobson hails me into a farm driveway on Illinois 38 between Schraeder Road and County Line Road near Maple Park. There at the Weiltze's (?) fresh produce stand, I meet Mrs. Weiltze and her son Joe. Joe was, like most people in this area, a first grade student of Sue Jacobson, who had a forty year teaching career in the Kaneland School District. Their dog, a very friendly brown Labrador goes by the name of "Chevy," not Lincoln. Eat your heart out Henry Ford. Better yet, if you are in the market for truly fresh corn and farm produce, stop at the farm produce stand.
12:12p I arrive at County Line Road and Illinois Route 38. I am three minutes early. I run into the Kane County Bank to ask permission to park my car there in their lot the next morning. I speak with Kevin Leach (/) Vice-President of the Bank and present him with a copy of the media kit, maps, etc. No problem and he wishes me good luck.
Carl and Sue Jacobson return me to Geneva.
1:30p - 1:45pm (appx) I double back to DeKalb and pay a visit to my almamater, the Division of Public Administration, at Northern Illinois University. I meet with Professor Don Menzel , DPA Director and we gab for a while, take a few pictures.
3:30p I return to Aurora and after a few hours of phone calls, etc., I crash.
When I left Joliet on the 4th, my schedule was kind of light and I had not yet made final pickup and ferrying me back to my starting point arrangements. Then and until I arrived at the DeKalb County Line I was adopted by two "Guardian Angels" (Sue Jacobson and Ruth Frantz) and one representative from the angel's "loyal opposition"(Carl Jacobson.) [He is more "devilish" than angelic so I can't give him the "Guardian Angel" label.] These folks carried me through the Joliet-DeKalb corridor, both literally (Carl at the Wheel) and figuratively. They called ahead, made appointments, called newspapers, badgered editors and generally ran the show. It just got to the point where I had to ask Sue Jacobson, "OK, what do you want me to do next?" And with forty years as a school teacher of first to fourth graders under her belt, I knew better to say anything except "Yes, mam." Ruth Frantz, who helped me layout the route of the byway, also ferried me a round and gave me tips and encouragement when they were sorely needed. I thank you two angels (Sue and Ruth) and your devilish driving partner (Carl) very, very much.
FOR THOSE WHO WERE THERE, PLEASE E-MAIL ME CORRECTIONS OF NAMES AND FILL IN THE BLANKS ON ANYTHING I LEFT OUT.
ALSO, PLEASE KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLES THAT MAY HAVE OR MIGHT APPEAR. NEITHER I NOR THE ILLINOIS LINCOLN HIGHWAY COALITION HAVE FUNDS FOR A "CLIPPING SERVICE" AND WE NEED TO HAVE COPIES ANY ARTICLES TO DOCUMENT THE IMPACT OF THE MARCH ON BYWAY AWARENESS.
PLEASE CLIP AND SEND ANY ARTICLES OR TAPE ANY RADIO OR TV INTERVIEWS YOU CATCH AND SEND TO ME AT HOME ADDRESS.
THANKS TO EVERYONE ALL ALONG THE WAY FOR THEIR COURTESY AND INTEREST.
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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