Ride 8: Trail to Tampico

  Biking Illinois: 60 Great Road Trips and Trail Rides  

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Whiteside County, IL                   August 19, 2005

I had never been on the feeder portion of the Hennepin Canal, but I wanted to check it out. While the feeder lacks the engineering features of the main canal, it is  pleasantly scenic and isolated. A short ride on a country road leads to Tampico, where President Ronald Reagan was born.

It had been a long, hot  day, but I was determined to squeeze in three rides. I started in late afternoon and ended up racing the sun to get back to my car. On the positive side, at least I got to ride in the shade. The beginning of the trail is paved.

This looks like an overflow drain.

The trail gets  muddy where it runs under I-88.

Corrugated steel tubes like this one are also used on the main canal trail.


Concrete telephone poles like this one were cast and installed when the canal was built.

This looks like another drain, but it has a shield to prevent large debris from passing through.

I hadn't taken a picture of my bike for a long time, so I leaned it against a concrete telephone pole. Although I have a number of bicycles, this is the one I used for every ride in Biking Illinois.

With the sun at my back, I saw beautiful reflections on the canal.

Here there is a turf trail on the east side of the canal.

I guess this is too short to call it an aqueduct, but the canal goes over a creek here.

I took  one last look north before I left the trail to ride to Tampico.

Although a similar sign stands east of town, I rode through to the west side (only a few blocks) so I could take a picture with the sun shining on the sign.

And here it is, Ronald Reagan's birthplace.

This mural in downtown Tampico shows several scenes from Reagan's lifetime.

The Ronald Reagan Trail is an auto route, not a bike trail. My only question is, shouldn't this be the beginning of the trail instead of the end?

I wondered if the Dutch Diner had anything to do with Reagan's nickname. Also notice the local newspaper is called the Republican.

As a keen observer may notice from the lengthening shadows in the photos above, I was running out of daylight. Although the ride in the book is out-and-back along the trail, I decided to stick to county roads on the way home where I could ride faster. A tailwind helped me push the pedals toward Rock Falls. I made it back before dark, but barely.


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