The road traveled to O’Hare Airport, I-88, is not the way to ease the mind and prepare for a four-hour flight westward when flying typically makes one uneasy. I-88 is the definition of Chicago-driving with utter havoc and ever shuffling chaos. Perhaps, letting the anxiety escalate prior to arrival to the airport would calm some down in preparing for flying. And I think it did calm me. Being a cyclist, I can go months without ever being in a vehicle. An IPA, did also, help calm my nerves before flying.
Arizona is an extremely diverse state and, within a week, I experienced most its awesomeness. I’ve earned my MTBing badge by biking, by myself, in Sedona red rocks for the very first time. Riding over wet boulders and rocks on the cliff side did not excite me much, yet, extruded survival skills. I am not ashamed that at certain points, I was terrified, and walked my rental bike.
The Grand Canyon truly is grand. It is literally too awesome to stare at for too long. And due to a partial government shutdown bullshit, the walkways were layered with pure ice. Luckily, there was a safety railing saving hundreds from their plummeting death that day.
Phoenix has millions (like five) of different cactuses that are wonderfully approachable and huggable. One hug and done. Phoenix/Arizona also likes to make my stay longer than planned. Due to horrific wintery conditions in Illinois, my flight cancellation extended my vacation 48 more hours. And years ago, due to an Arizonan monsoon, my flight was canceled. I am a sunshine addict and maybe the sunshine is addicted to me… Or it could be matching energies.
I had a wonderful trip out West. I learned that I enjoy diversity in people and weather throughout one day. I learned that MTBing is extremely difficult. I learned how friendly Arizonans are. I relearned that assumptions do not usually bring closure. I was reminded heights and ice are my worst enemies. And when combined, it is my kryptonite. Arizona restaurants are mostly Vegetarian/Vegan friendly. Arizona beers are OK, but Chicago/midwest beers reign supreme. Currently, in Northern Illinois, it is negative 25 degrees and feels like negative 56.
Stay warm out their, friends!
Heatin’ that there Whiteout Chili to be later eaten is what I’m sayin’. Grillin’ a few Lightlife Dawgs to be later chilin’ needs dealin’.
Steps up from my normal cycling activities will be underway this (2017:) year and years to follow. I plan to ride close to 10,000 km (6250 miles) this year. My first ever competitive cycling event may take place this July. Also, a solo CUBS parade will be ridden the majority of the length of long Illinois.
Being under the weather to start 2017 has allowed for good rest, just not a lot of cycling. The only two rides this year have been commutes on the coldest of days. Perhaps a longer ride today.
WhiteoutChili MacNDaiya is self-explanatory, however, I used Macaroni, Whiteout Chili, Daiya and Smart Dogs. Click on links for further details. I found two more beers from a brewery not too far away that only furthers my respect for the brewery Triptych out of Savoy, Illinois near Champaign-Urbana. A rum barrel-aged Stout and a black IPA were thoroughly enjoyed in construction of Whiteout Chili MacNDaiya euphoria.
I’ve heard from numerous people about how this winter, in the midwest states, was going to be brutally cold and wet. I’ve realized in my time here in the midwest that January is by far the harshest winter month. Next week for the Illinois Valley there’s a high of 47 degrees F. This winter has had a few extremely cold spells and a little snow, but climate change might have a huge impact on this winter and winters moving forward.
Hang in. Have fun. Happy Weekend.