California to Jerusalem
Northern Illinois

Even the eagle has to fall before gaining flight speed.

We started to walk up the Fox River Valley from Ottawa on 8 August and were in Woodstock on the 16th. I am now in familiar territory. I feel at home already as we begin up the Fox. I lived here for most of my life. I know these highways and byways.

Though we arrived at the Fox River in Ottawa where it empties into the Illinois River, we didn't actually see it until here in the village of Wedron. A long unused railroad-bridge pier adds to the view of the river.

Farther up the river a hawk flew from post top to post top ahead of us along the road for a quarter of a mile. Finally he flew off far enough that he no longer felt we were chasing him. He was still on a post top as we passed over the next hill.

As we left Yorkville morning fog closed in and gave us shade from a sun that was promising an otherwise hot morning walk.

An American Mercedes sitting in a lot along the road! For all you Germans reading this, this is what some Americans in the Chicago area do to some of your Mercedes. It's not really my thing but many like long limos for special parties around here.

We have arrived at the Fox River Trail in Montgomery. We'll follow the river closely for the next 50 miles to Crystal Lake. I'm really in home territory now. I lived in Aurora, a couple miles north, for eleven years.

The windmill at Fabian Park south of Geneva reminds us of the machines of the past.

Petra plays with the bronze foxes on the bridge in St. Charles. She wears her replacement hat that has since departed. It knew it was not liked and so it disappeared while we were in Chicago a week later. Blue Hat is still very much missed. Two weeks after loosing it, we looked for it again with no luck.

We happened on this welded sculpture north of the St. Charles bridge. Artist Francis Joseph Gragnepain, IV created "FoxCycle," a rather frightening rendition of a fox built totally from bicycle pieces.

Want to switch tracks? Along the old Elgin to Aurora train line below South Elgin someone has created a museum of sorts with a lot of switches and whistle signs. These are the switches.

The Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin seems lost in its wires. Click the link to learn a lot of details and history about this former railway along the Fox River from Carpentersville to Yorkville. You can also find out how you can ride a trolley yourself.

The statue "Pioneers" by Trygve Rovelstad stands behind Petra and Don Cerny on the Fox River front in Elgin.

This is the 1936 Elgin half dollar commemorating the life of the pioneers. Designed by Trygve Rovelstad, the reverse uses the original, flatter version of this "Pioneers" work. The statue was designed from it.

Many walked the Fox River Trail between St. Charles and Algonquin.

In Algonquin the Fox River Trail changes into the Prairie Path at the McHenry County border. The walking population stayed high, so different from all the other pathways we have walked save the Katy Trail in Missouri.

The sign for the Grand Illinois Trail is on the right post in the previous picture. This bicycle trail makes a big circle around northern Illinois as shown on the sign. We have been on it more or less since Moline. We still are there.

On 16 August, seven months to the day from setting out in California, we are standing at the square in Woodstock, 3,200 miles (5,200 km) and 220 days later. We walked 2,400 of those miles (3,875 km). This is a made-up picture. I cut Petra from another picture to put her next to me. No one was there to take our picture together. Petra was not feeling patient to have her picture taken, hense the stiff look.

On 1 September we'll begin again now walking to Milwaukee to take a boat to Michigan. From there it'll be straight east and a bit south to New York City.

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Copyright © 2009-2012 Mike Metras,