Bike USA: July 30-August 8 – Muscatine, Joliet, Chicago (written by Max)

Well so like we predicted, it became a lonely ride after departing RAGBRAI. The Patels in Iowa City were super nice and the town’s small downtown has two comic book stores, free jazz, and ridiculously good food. It was a nice break from the hectic week before. Plus taking a crap in a non-portapotty was pleasant. The following day we rode to the Muscatine Phantasuites. A bit expensive but we stayed one night on the moon, sleeping on a velvet lined Viking spacecraft. To elaborate would just make it sound more weird but it did involve watching hours of Son of the Beach, Powerpuff Girls, and Johnny Bravo.

Movie of the towpath trail in Illinois
It rained while we were on the trail.

We followed a really scenic trail the next couple days, but the limestone and heavy storms really clogged up the cables and chain on my bike. It was fun having to lift everything over a fallen log, but it wasn’t fun getting about thirty mosquito bites. We met a guy riding from Boulder, Colorado to Tajikistan, raising money on the way for orphans. We had lunch together and I donated some money. After all, it’s for the children.

Giant Heart
Giant Heart at the Museum of Science and Industry
fun with mirrors
fun with mirrors
fun with mirrors at MSI
MSI Chicago
MSI Chicago
Movie of a 3D painting
Movie of a futuristic bike
MSI Jordan
Colin would’ve like this museum

We’re in Chicago now. Basically, we’re just visiting a bunch of museums during the day and reading all the comic books we bought at night. The food is phenomenal in this city. And I do mean CITY for once. There are nightly shootings and actual mass transportation to prove it. We arrived last Thursday night August 3rd to our cousin Leo and his wife Stacy’s apartment. Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we spent at Wizard World Con 2000. Holy wet dream, Batman!

 Cynthia Rothrock
action movie star, Cynthia Rothrock, the Lady Dragon!
 Lou Ferigno
the Hulk himself, Lou Ferigno

We met director Kevin Smith and his friend Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob), Lou Ferrigno (the Hulk!!), the actors for Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Biggs, Chewbacca, Sabertooth, and Darth Maul. Plus we saw Spiderman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Bart Simpson, Vampirella, Scooby Doo, and a really overweight Superman. I shook hands with comic book creators David Mack, Stan Sakai, and Mark Crilley. Oh man it was awesome. We got an enormous amount of free stuff, plus I won a T-shirt and watch from an action figure sculpting studio. I bought way too many comic books and artwork. Oh man it was awesome.

Stan Sakai
Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi!
 Mystery Machine
Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine

To top that off I learned that my Taiwanese popstar cousin Lee-Hom is getting into Hong Kong films. He was going to star in Black Mask 2, but that fell through. Right now he’s working on a Tekkan 3 movie!! Dang, I’d be willing to cut my left arm off and become the parapalegic-stuntman-who-gets-his-arm-ripped-off to work in the HK movie industry. Even if it is run by triads. That boy Lee Hom sure has a bunch of albums now. I gotta milk this blood relation thing before it’s too late.

Which reminds me, we visited our maternal grandmother’s youngest sister last night. Grand Auntie Six and her husband are the cutest couple. Especially since they drive a VW Rabbit. Thank you for treating us to dinner! We also visited their daughter Alice and Alice’s family. Thank you for the cookies and ice cream! Oh man those three kids are hyperactive and super intelligent. So far we’ve met some amazingly smart kids on this trip. They basically make me think I was a complete television junkie moron with the imagination of a very unimaginative thing. (See!)

China Buffet
Leo, Stacy, Max, Mark, Great Uncle and Great Aunt Six
Alice's Jia
Max, Leo, Great Uncle and Great Aunt Six, Stacy, Alice holding Anna, her husband Andrew, Ethan, Alex (or is that Alex, Ethan?), Mark kneeling

That’s it for now. I’ll add details later.

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