Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 20, 2011 – Geneseo, Illinois to Bureau, Illinois (50 miles)

What a beautiful fall day!  Cal rode the rest of the Hennepin canal today.  He arrived at the Illinois River - the end of the trail is at Bureau, Ill.  Bureau is a very small village, so we drove into Princeton, Illinois for the night.

The structures that caught Cal’s attention today, along the canal, were the aqueducts that transported the canal over the creeks and rivers. The uniqueness of this canal is that it was the first canal to use concrete for its locks, and aqueducts. What is so amazing about the aqueducts is that they are strong enough to support the weight of the water for a 7 ft deep canal.  The engineering used to build the Hennepin was later used in building the Panama Canal.  As mentioned before the canal was finished in 1907. The canal today is not in prime workable condition. The structures are still there, but the canal has not carried traffic since 1951. Today Cal took more photos of the canal which he will post.  Cal met other people on bikes today, as well as we both saw someone canoeing on the canal.  It would be a great waterway to canoe. 

Hennepin Canal and Tow Path (Bike Trail)

Canal Agueduct

Canal Aqueduct with river flowing underneath

Aqueduct Structure
Gate at upper end of Lock - Gate is closed with water flowing through it

Gate at lower end of Lock

Draw Bridge over the Canal

As to me – I browsed at several antique/gift shops and did find a few items on sale at a women’s shop in Geneseo.  At I met Cal at the Hennepin State Park for a picnic lunch. Interestingly, as I was approaching the exit on Interstate 80 for the Hennepin State Park, (I-80 goes over the canal) at that moment I saw the flags on Cal’s bike! Perfect timing! In the Park, there are large areas where goldenrod is blooming. It is such a delicate bloom, but I thought about those of you who have ‘hay fever’ issues with goldenrod pollen – the time is here!     

This afternoon I spent time browsing at a huge antique mall in Princeton.  By the time I left my feet and back was tired!  Such hard work!!

Tomorrow Cal will be on roads taking him from the Hennepin canal to the I & M (Illinois & Michigan) canal which begins 12 miles east (upriver) on the Illinois River.  It is his understanding the tow path along the I & M canal is gravel, so that will slow the progress! Tomorrow I hope to check out the towns of Peru, La Salle and Ottawa.  These are town we usually fly by on I-80 as we are going to Chicago or farther east. 

It is so nice when Cal does not have to think about traffic on roads.  So far we have been on ‘low volume’ roads and of course along the canals there is no traffic.            

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