Saturday, June 14, 2008


This is pretty damn random.

After GRR last year we ate at a Pannekoeken Huis in suburban Minneapolis, which I guess is a regional chain of family restaurants featuring these wacky Dutch pancakes called Pannekoeken. And when they serve them to you, they say, "pannekoeken," loudly enough for at least several nearby tables to hear.

Today I saw a Pannekoeken Café, on Western just south of Lawrence (east side of the street, so on the outside of Lincoln Square, as in the real triangle of Lincoln Square, in case the incredulous among you want to StreetView it). I was on a southbound Western Ave. Express bus coming back home from Devon, where I went to get urad dal flour, because it was the only place in the city I was confident I could find it. It's a long trip. In retrospect, the recipe I'm following allows a substitution involving mung beans, and I almost certainly could have found mung beans in nearby Chinatown, so I probably should have just gone there. But by going to Devon I saw Pannekoeken!

OK, enough of that. Tomorrow is for cooking and going to Urbana. One of these days I will bike to Urbana, but not tomorrow.


Danielle in Iowa said...

Is there even a good way to bike to Urbana? It seems like you could end up on gravel roads fast!

Al Dimond said...

Matt Montgomery (who commented on a recent post on this blog! Hi Matt!) has rode most of the way from Chambana to Elmhurst (the suburb 18 miles west of Chicago where we both grew up). I think he took Route 47 (which actually runs through Mahomet, west of Champaign, and comes through the 'burbs well west of Elmhurst) most of the way.

There are paved, lightly-traveled roads gridding off just about all of east-central Illinois. Some of the pavement is in crummy condition because it hasn't seen work in decades, so I'd have to find some information about that. Then again, I couldn't possibly hit potholes worse than the ones I hit in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and I'd have more time to dodge them because I wouldn't be flying downhill at 35MPH.

If I were coming from the city I'd probably want to stay farther east than Route 47. Last time I drove back, instead of taking the Interstate, I took US 45 and then cut over to Route 1 south of Kankakee (45 follows a major arterial road through Kankakee, and then comes up west of the city, through towns like La Grange, Hillside, and Rosemont, to name a few), which is a fairly direct shot from Chicago to Urbana. Some parts of that route would not be bikeable, including a few limited-access sections of 45 between Urbana and Paxton, and route 1 where it turns into the Bishop Ford Freeway. Though actually the Bishop Ford is Route 394 (and later I-94), and Route 1 cuts west (I think) and follows surface streets through the south suburbs, eventually following Halsted for quite a long way.

Really I'd be more concerned about the distance. 150 miles is much longer than I've ever gone in a day. I'm sure I can do it, however, because I'm a male between the ages of 18 and 27, and therefore invincible.