Old Plank Road Trail Toodle 5-18-2001

Setting Out

Lee Gernes

I awoke early to check the weather and found it was raining heavily here in Wheaton. I wrote Lee and John to let them know that perhaps we should postpone the ride. No one ever got back to me via email. So at 9 AM I phoned Lee and he was already en route. I decided that if it was not raining where he was, perhaps we had a chance to get a ride in. Perhaps not the full 40 miles but maybe a solid 20 miles.

When I arrived he already had his bike out and was ready to roll. I took a few minutes getting my fairing mounted and my shoes, helmet and gloves readied. A quick trip to the washroom and we were off!

Not far up the trail we stopped and captured a picture of him. This was going to be his first ride of the year. He’s been out hiking but not yet biking and this coming weekend he plans to lead a mountain bike ride for his son’s Boy Scout Troop in the Kettle Moraine of Wisconsin.

The trail is mostly uphill to Frankfort. The trail was wet in places and air was crisp and the sky overcast but otherwise it was a great day to ride. A bit of glass on the trail had to be avoided, but for the most part, we met folks (mostly ladies) walking or riding their bikes on a blustery morning and smiling nevertheless.

Taking a Breather

By the time we reached Frankfort the cold was beginning to seep into my layers of outerwear. But I did not feel any hypothermia setting in so we rode over to the Kernel Sweet Tooth shoppe and would have gone it to eat but stood deliberating whether to attempt the full 40 miles.

Lee said he felt a bit saddle sore so we decided to turn around. It was agreed to try and find somewhere to eat after we returned to the vans and so we set off again on what was now a mostly downhill run.

In the Breidert Green Commons area there was plenty of work being done to the gazebo and the grain elevator that stand as landmarks. Cherry pickers were hoisted up to do work on the side of the grain elevator. The small parking lot on the west end of the Commons was strewn with all sorts of materials being set out for the repair crews working on the elevator and the gazebo.

Heading Back

Once we had crossed the suspension bridge and were out of town we made much better time than on the way in. We in fact stopped at the forest preserve along the trail to see the paved trails inside where Lee could come and train for future mountain biking rides.

The lands inside that preserve are very stunning in their beauty. It is a long way in to the main parking lot of the trail and a bit of a climb when coming out.

Once back on the trail we did a few stretches of sprints before reaching the long downhill section just beyond Cherry Hill Road. It was great to get back just in time to beat the rain that was coming down steadily by the time we left the parking lot.

Food

We stopped at the local New Lenox El Burrito Loco for bean burritos. I washed mine down with a bottom of Jarritos. Then it was back along Cedar Road to the highway and home. A good ride!