Ride the Drive and a mud slide for a fun holiday
Living in Lincoln Park for 20+ years I used to love walking, running, blading and biking along the lakefront. In fact, as a desert rat now, Lake Michigan is something I miss almost as much as my family and friends. (In fact, somedays I miss it more than family or friends because while Lake Michigan can get pretty angry somedays, it never brought me down. That’s another story.)
So I was delighted to learn my nieces Connie and Jenny and their teenagers – Lexi, Julia and Drew – were planning again this year to Bike the Drive. I drove from New Mexico in plenty of time to get a short practice ride in with my brother in central Illinois and then find a bike to borrow when I got to the family compound in Lake County, Indiana (thanks Mandy.)
If you’re not familiar with Bike the Drive (see event link), it’s held the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. LSD is closed to vehicular traffic from about 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. By this year’s estimate, more than 20,000 cyclists rode at their own pace up to 30 miles on the north and southbound lanes. It’s a major event and well organized with beaucoup le food tents and vendors in Grant Park and at other rest stops along the way.
While the heavy fog kept from view “the lake that thinks it’s an ocean,” my spirits were anything but dampened. It was great being on the drive again. “Oh, the North Avenue Bridge. How many times have a run, walked, bladed over LSD on this bridge? Belmont Harbor. Oh, the totem pole. The Belmont Avenue exit for Wrigley Field.” I loved it.
Drew took off like a shot and I didn’t see him again until the end of the ride. Jenny loaned her jacket to daughter Lexi, so mom with freezing forearms ended up riding like the wind. Connie and I stopped a couple of times to wipe our glasses and were able to find each other along the way. We stopped for cookies and bananas at the northern-most rest stop in front of the former Edgewood Hotel (now a condo building but still pink!)
While chilly, we had a great time and are making plans to do it again in 2012. But that was just that morning. Perhaps the main event came that afternoon when generous and fun loving Mike and Mandy allowed their front yard to be turned into a mud slide.
It was wacky – I’d never seen such a thing but apparently it was not the first time. “Oh, c’mon Uncle Mike …” I heard after burgers and hot dogs.
It was a “man thing” at first but later baby Cooper, seen sitting in front of his dad in this photo, got his turn using a sled. Even the girls got onto the slippery slope but Aunt Kris is going to save them from humiliation today by not showing their photos. (Saving them for a graduation party or wedding reception!)
Both events reminded me why I want to move back closer to my sister and her kids – good folks who know how to have good, clean? fun.