Sunday, September 17, 2001  -  Matteson
A week after finishing the GIT in Rockford, I rode the Tour of the Ozarks century ride in Rolla, MO. On the way home on Sunday, I got the idea to look for the one GIT checkpoint I had missed, Caboose Park in Matteson. After twenty minutes of wandering along the dark streets parallel to the Old Plank Road Trail, I finally went into a fire station to ask where it was. Ha! It turned out to be right across the street from the fire station, a caboose on rails plopped down in a dark parking lot. The fireman was very helpful, but he said that he had never heard of it being called " Caboose Park." As I walked over to take a few pictures of the caboose, the motion-activated lights came on. Out of curiosity, I walked over to the adjacent trail and found that it was indeed very easy to miss the park--a wall and trees blocked the view for all but a few feet where a trail spur ran off toward the caboose. The first time through, I just hadn't been looking in the right direction at the right moment. So, at 8:00 PM on September 17, I officially completed the requirements of the Grand Illinois Trailís Trail Blazer program, visiting the last checkpoint.
This was Matteson's  elusive caboose.
In the summer of 2001, I was honored along with 15 other GIT Trail Blazers in a ceremony at Starved Rock State Park. I was unable to attend, but I received a certificate and a T-shirt in the mail.   To read the official press release announcing the GIT Trail Blazers, click here.
These photos show the front and back of the T-shirt:
Front of Trail Blazer T-shirt
Back of Trail Blazer T-shirt
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