After a good night’s sleep at the Super8 in Troy, Illinois, I checked weather and concluded that there was less chance of rain if I went home via Chicago instead of Indianapolis. In hindsight, maybe I should have taken the chance on the rain along the southern (and warmer) route.
I rolled up I55 through Illinois under mostly sunny skies. As was usual for this trip (damned the luck), there was some wind in my face but it was mostly from the west. The temperatures hovered in the low 50s (F) so the Gerbing jacket liner and gloves were able to keep me warm.
By the time I hit Joliet, Illinois, just south of the turn east on I80, I began to feel the wind coming off Lake Michigan. Even in May, the big lakes are still cold; they don’t warm up quickly. Consequently, the wind off the lake dropped the temperature down into the mid 40s and carried enough humidity to make the chill penetrate to your very bone. Heck, the 30˚F ride two day’s earlier didn’t feel as cold as this.
As the wind was coming from the northwest, the further I traveled east along the bottom of Lake Michigan, the colder it got. By the time I reached the Michigan state line on I94, I was counting the miles until Benton Harbor, when I knew I94 would take a hard right to a due-east path across southern Michigan. Surely, the temps would warm a bit as I ventured further from that damned lake, yes?
Maybe a little.
When I stopped for gas in Paw Paw, the temps were back up to 53˚F and I could actually turn down the Gerbing thermostat a little. This increase in comfort fooled me into not adding a layer for the remaining 90 minutes to home. Consequently, I was cold again when the clouds closed in and the temperature dropped back down into the 40s (F).
I arrived home just before sunset. As I started to unpack the bike, all that cold blood that had pooled in the constricted capillaries in my legs loosened up and started circulating. In short, I couldn’t stop shivering.
Thank the gods for the hot tub.
The total for the day was 495 miles in 9.5 hours.