I saw a wind turbine today. I’ve sped past turbines while making my way down 74 many times and my alma mater had two turbines I saw every day of college. But today’s turbines were special.
Yesterday Joelle and I picked our way through miles of empty land. If it weren’t for the paved road before us, I could have convinced myself we were actually Lewis and Clark exploring uncharted lands. A bump in the asphalt brought me back to reality, but I decided to start calling Joelle, Sacagawea, anyway. But this sense of being completely alone in a space was draining and it was lonely.
Today, however, was different. Miles through empty countryside became dotted with wind turbines. And like Don Quijote, we felt these whirling giants were almost human; or at least made us feel more connected to humanity.
Yesterday, Joelle said, “I have to remind myself that this trip isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey. The journey is so consuming that if you don’t embrace it, you’re missing the trip. The struggle, man. It’s the experience.”
The past two days haven’t been easy or particularly exciting. To say they’ve been a struggle doesn’t quite seem to hit the nail on the head, but it’s the only hammer I’ve got. They’ve been a struggle filled with sore butts, sunburns, and gas station food. But we’ve already grown acute to little things that make the journey what it is. A Subway worker who sells sandwiches like they were cars. Strangers asking what you’re doing and where you’re heading. Bikers going the opposite direction who stop to swap stories with you.
It’s a different speed out here. But it gives you time to be thankful, appreciative of the little things like a bike, a downhill grade, or a bottle of ice water.
So while tomorrow promises more time in a saddle than my sore derriere wants to think about, my soul is looking forward to another day filled with opportunity to be surprised and thankful for everything involved in this journey.
Left: Odell, IL 7:50 a.m.
Sleeping in: a Super 8 in Watseka, IL, arrived at 4:15pm
Total mileage: 57 mi (plus 5 more for a Walmart run)
Avg speed: 9.6 mph
High Speed: 17.5 mph
Wind Speeds: 23 mph
High Temp: 88
Weather conditions: windy
Elevation Gain: 193 ft. (Thankfully in the strong winds it was mostly downhill)