By Jim Bowman
From Maggie B: Our bike ride took us through the crowds of Fullerton, North ave, Oak St, and Navy Pier. And past that it was a blissful ride down to Promontory Point, where we swam off the rocks. A woman in her 70s told me the water was very nice, much better than yesterday, when it was quite chilly. This was confirmed by another bather of the same age, emerging from the water after swimming in from a far out place. Do you come every day, I asked her. Oh yes, it's an addiction, she said. Today I swam out to the fifth buoy, then cut towards the beach, then back along the wall. I didn't bring my goggles, I told her, so I'm not sure how far I'll go. Do what you can, she said. So I did. Breast-stroked it to somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd buoy, then back to shore with a little backstroke thrown in.
Back on the rocks another bather inquired about what he had heard earlier from my conversation with the ladies. You biked all the way from Lincoln Square, he said? What is that, about 12 miles? I checked w/Cory and told him it was somewhere between 12 and 15. What about you, I asked, did you bike here? Oh I just live down the street. The rock-bathers grew from just a few to over a dozen in the hour we were there. Some teenagers, a serious eastern-European looking distance swimmer, some possible students. Swam, ate pear slices out of tupperware, swam some more, then back on the bikes to head north.
We passed back through the prairie restoration project all along the south shore. A Mayor Daley project, apparently. Well, it's pretty good, I must say. We encountered concert-goers near Northerly Island, holding out fingers to signal the number of tickets they were looking to score. Phish was the band--a younger cousin of the Grateful Dead. We wove our way through them, ringing bells, and kindly shouting out "on your left" as we passed. The crowds were thinning but still strongly present at North Ave and Fullerton. Runners, bikers, families with kids wandering dangerously close to in front of us.
A beer was desired and the Clocktower Cafe around Addison proved to be the perfect spot. A quiet deck overlooking early evening golfers. It all felt right so I added a portobello sandwich to my order and fed myself. Back on the path, I parted ways with my companions at Wilson and worked my way through Uptown towards home. Just as I walked in the gate I felt the first raindrops coming down. They fall quietly now, as I sit, freshly showered, content from my day.