A TOTAL ECLIPSE
will be viewable from IL for the 1st time in our lifetimes
. It is an event that you will always remember! Although the eclipse takes 3 hours, the "ring of fire" will last about 2.5 minutes, peaking ~1:23pm on Monday 8/21 (obviously clear skies would be nice!). This will not be viewable from Chicago so we are heading south!
The bike ride would be in Southern IL in/around Shawnee National Forest. The Tunnel Hill Trail
is ~55 mi. long and will be the highlight. It is mostly limestone so a bike with wider tires will work best. Shawnee National Forest
has tons of hiking trails (bikes not allowed) and we will visit the Garden of the Gods
, among other areas. We will plan to bike 1 day and hike 2 days, exact days and itinerary are flexible. Heck we may even bike and hike each day?!
We will drive down on Friday leaving in the morning (5.5 hour trip) and camp for 3 nights. We will drive back to Chicago after eclipse sometime on Monday. There will be long and shorter ride options for all cycling abilities, biking 30-60 mi. a day. Please email
if you can provide a ride or need a ride and we will attempt to coordinate carpools, or if you have any questions.
Due to the popularity of the eclipse, we expect most if not all of the many 1st come, 1st served campgrounds in Shawnee will be full. So those camping should plan for the worst but we may get lucky and get a site in a campground (with toilets and showers). If not, we'll be hauling our gear in to whatever good spot we find, hopefully no more than a 5 min. walk or so from a road or car drop-off point. There is a horse camp near Eddyville, IL that has showers available to hikers for $3.
"Primitive camping is allowed in the Shawnee National Forest with the exception of developed recreation areas, natural areas, along lake shores, near streams or on trails. Primitive camping outside of recreation areas is free and is allowed any time of year. Clean up all personal garbage and make sure all fires are completely out. You would need to leave your vehicle at an approved overnight parking area such as the backpacker's parking lot at the Garden of the Gods Wilderness area or at a designated trail head. You would not be allowed to leave your vehicle overnight at any designated Day-Use area or where blocking a road or other access."
This will be a self-supported ride so bring your own camping equipment, supplies, spare tubes, food/drink for most meals (in a well-iced cooler), jugs of water, baby wipes, toilet paper, plate/utensils, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. There are many motels in the area that are also options for non-campers. Many of these are already fully booked. Participants should feel free to join us for any part or all of the weekend fun.
Good Tribune article from 6/6/17