Saturday, June 21, 2003

June 21, 2003

Only 8 more days till Groundbreaking Sunday!

Another beautiful day for bike riding. Went 36 miles in a new direction this AM. Chicago Ave west to 25th, past North Ave, over the bridge into Franklin Park, west on Grand into Elmhurst, north on York Road until I passed O’Hare Airport. Rode all the way to Elk Grove Village, pedaled through some quiet industrial parks, back on a busy road, took Highway 83 south across the 290 extension back in Elmhurst to St. Charles Road where I picked up the Prairie Path near what used to be the Ovaltine factory but now is a beautiful apartment or condo complex. That’s when the cable on my shifter broke and I couldn’t go over 10-11 mph so I mostly coasted back to Oak Park. Overall, a very good ride.>

Last night thousands of people gathered in Oak Park to celebrate the release of the new Harry Potter book. The police blocked off Oak Park Avenue between Lake Street and the el tracks because of the crowds. When I paid a visit about 9:30 PM, the streets were absolutely jammed with cars and parents and kids, many decked out in varous costumes related to the books—which I have not read. Many of the local merchants stayed open late and changed their names to something Harry Potter-related for the evening. Over a hundred people were in line at Winberie’s to sample something called “Butter Beer.” Lots of TV cameras covered the “event", which was more like a street carnival. The best part for me came as I passed by Logos Bookstore and a fellow came out of the store saying, “Live snake. A big one.” The woman following him had an enormous live albino Burmese python wrapped around her chest and her back. The yellow and white snake seemed very docile and unbothered by the crowds. It was beautiful and I’m sure it could crush a person to death if it was frightened. The man said they keep it well-fed on rabbits and birds so I wasn’t too worried. I did touch it several times, that’s as close as I want to be to a python.

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