Chicago March 2013

The weather was a mix of a couple of warm days and a colder day just below freezing. I managed to get out and ride all three days, getting in about 65 miles. I have found that the skate park on the Lakefront Trail is empty whenever the weather is either really cold, or over 100 degrees. I got back to the rocks on the Lakefront Trail near the Museum of Science and Technology, and once again managed to get a pinch flat on my rear tire tube while riding them! At least this time I knew to look for TWO holes and not just fix one and wonder why the tire wouldn't stay inflated ...

I also did more exploring in the neighborhoods, trying to stay on bike lane streets. Lots of industrial landscapes to photograph. I found an interesting cement company yard below a bridge, beside a river. On the cold day, I rode all the way up to Evanston. I had forgotten my winter gloves, so I ended up riding with my fingerless biking gloves. It was so uncomfortable I ended up stopping for decaf (and carrot bread) when I got into Evanston. Holding my cup in both hands, as well as running them under the hot water in the bathroom, fixed everything. I explored Loyola University's campus as I made my way back along the lakeshore.

Skate Park

It's a lot of fun to ride on these smooth curves, but I'm pretty apprehensive about riding the sidewalls, since any fall here is guaranteed to be on a hard surface. Maybe if I had pads, rather than just a helmet, I could learn how to ride these things better? It's still a lot of fun, but the videos I took showed me that I'm definitely a beginner on them. Check the video below and you will see.

Rocks and ice along the lake - good day for a swim?!

On the morning I took these pictures, the sun and temperature was beginning to melt the ice, and you could hear the crackling going on as the thin ice broke when the barely visible waves rocked back and forth. Check the video below and listen to it (though most of the sound is the wind).

The most amazing thing of all is that I talked to a guy who I thought was riding the rocks like I was. It turns out he only had his bike there as transportation to his daily swim(!). He swims a half-mile out - WITHOUT A WETSUIT! I was going to get a picture of him doing it, but I got a flat tire and was repairing it when he finished and came over to talk to me. He was shivering the whole time he talked to me, but he didn't seem concerned about it. Incredible.

Cement factory

Prairie Material's yard near Goose Island, as seen from a bridge above the river. In the first picture below (click on it to see a larger version) you can see a couple of long barges in the river, with piles of gravel on them. A machine on the bank beside them seems to be able to move back and forth on very wide railway tracks, looking something like 10 feet between each track. Perhaps it feeds the gravel into the big covered conveyor belt system (I'm assuming) that you can see particularly well in the last picture below?


This was the first time that we had been to this restaurant, which features authentic Mexican food, including chapulines, which is some kind of flavored, toasted crickets(!). Sandra ate a single one, smothered in guacamole, Christina ate a couple plain, and I ate six plain ones. They had an interesting flavor, you just had to ignore the anatomical correctness! They tasted pretty good, but I don't think I'll be heading back there just for them.

The restaurant features very interesting (and huge) paintings on the walls, as well as a decorated bull and cricket glass lights (hanging from the ceiling on the right side of the picture to the left). Christina spotted that each of these large paintings contained a vertical stack of cups, like the ones pictured to the left.


Miscellaneous Photography

These are just a few of the pictures that I took on this trip that didn't fit in the sections above, but that I liked enough to put in this trip report. I have been playing around with my Photoshop adjustment layers and HDR toning, both to make pictures seem more realistic, and to give some artistic effects to some of them. I have a lot to learn, but it's been easy to quickly create some interesting shots.