Yet another goddamned bike blog. Except I'm not pretty.
posted by Jennifer @ 8:47 PM
What route did you take to get out there? Illinois Prairie Path? Streets?
I picked up Augusta at Milwaukee and followed the Grand Illinois Trial route (backwards) to the Illinois Prairie Path in Maywood; once in to Oak Park there are GIT signs to direct cyclists. (Thanks, LIB!)I followed the Main Stem to Wheaton, where I stopped and chatted with a couple of friendly folks who talked about how they'd been caring for the trail and its environs for the past 40-odd years (it seemed the other cyclists and the runners--especially the runners, are they always so rude?--were completely oblivious to them), then followed the Aurora Branch to a small park(ing lot) in Warrenville at Batavia Road, where I picked up the "Fermilab Trail," which is a ped path along that road. West of Route 59 the "trail" is actually a sidewalk, traffic is significantly reduced, and the road has wide paved shoulders, so there's really no point in staying on it.At the gate ("Fermilab welcomes you!") you're supposed to have to show your ID or something, but there was a fairly steady stream of cyclists just cruising right in without the security guard so much as waving, but I decided to be polite and stopped to ask permission anyway. Just inside the gate is a kiosk with visitor information that shows the parts of the site that are open to the public and where to find, say, the buffalo. The bike trail continues parallel to the road, but I was absolutely the only person following it and the asphalt was uncomfortably bumpy (and I felt like a dork), so after a couple hundred yards I gave up and rode on the road with everyone else.The "Fermilab Trail" (i.e., the public-access road) ends at the main gate at Kirk Road, where the Kane County Bicycle Map starts coming in handy. I crossed Kirk Road to pick up a ped path that runs parallel to it, which turned out to be in the most appalling shape I've ever seen (and that's saying a lot--I've seen some pretty appalling ped paths in the suburbs, which is why Rockford's Perryville Path took me so much by surprise). However, Kirk Road is four lanes wide, virtually shoulderless, and very heavily trafficked by your stereotypical gigantic SUVs going 60 mph (as well as normal trucks going about the same speed), so I stuck it out. I took that to a ped path along Fabyan Parkway that's in better shape (although good luck crossing Fabyan Parkway to get to it) and flew downhill to a spur leading to the Fox River Trail. According to my various maps, it looks like there's a nice street/road route straight (mostly) west out of Fermilab's main gate that ends up at the Fox River Trail; I decided to stick to the ped paths in order to avoid getting lost, but someone more suburb-savvy might prefer the streets.I took the Fox River Trail north past Island Park in Geneva to State Street, which, unfortunately, is also your basic four-lane suburban semihighway, so everyone rides on the sidewalk. However, the sidewalks across the bridge are frustratingly narrow, so I gave up and walked across on account of all the kids weaving around.Once across the river I cut south and ran smack into an art fair, so I had to weave around for a bit until I finally found the Metra station, which must have been poorly designed because it's one of those places that you can see right over there from blocks away but somehow you can't seem to get to it. And in a case of good old-fashioned irony (or convenience, depending on how you look at it), the UP-West runs right next to a portion of the IPP.
Gosh, how did I grow up out there and not know that the general public is welcome in (parts of) Fermilab? I suppose the gates intimidated me. I'll have to check it out sometime.I'm glad to see you had an adventurous weekend despite missing out on Yerkes. Has your foot been giving you any trouble this summer?
During the Cold War the situation was probably different, and I doubt they eased the restrictions overnight, so maybe it wasn't that noticeable except to people already in the loop. After 9/11 the whole place was apparently on lockdown for a while because I remember the big announcement two and a half years ago that they were easing some of the site restrictions and opening the central corridor back up to public access. These days Fermilab hosts everything from fine arts performances to barn dancing.As for my foot, no problems at all since I canceled the surgery! I wish I knew I was up with that because I ended up paying two doctors $400 for something that really did eventually go away on its own. And people wonder why I hate going to the doctor.
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