Friday, July 24, 2009

Indiana & Illinois

After a restful night in Plymouth, Indiana, I hit the road to get into Illinois. First on the list was Indiana Dunes State Beach. I had to see what a mid-west beach looks like. Yep, it's a beach on lake Michigan. It was really sandy, sunny and warm. Lots of people out, made me want to go swim.


I continued towards Chicago, passing some of the steel mills.


Had I realized Chicago would be nothing but traffic all day (instead of clear from 10am-2pm like some locals advised me), I would have gone around it.


I stopped to assist some overheating Harleys and one of them offered to take a pic for me with the City. This is about as close as I got, because the traffic was so bad I tried to split out of town ASAP.


I sat in traffic for hours attempting to leave Chicago. It was pretty lame...I-90 is a toll road and the only free routes are state routes. If you get off the highway it's hard to get back on. Construction everywhere. I'd like to go back to Chicago someday when I've got time to explore the city instead of trying to battle the traffic.

I finally got out of the city and back on the lonely state routes. It's beautiful countryside, lots of crops.


After a while I noticed a weather system developing off to the north west. I stopped to take a pic and met 2 bikers headed west too.


As we talked, we noticed that storm was coming our way, quick. I quickly headed west, trying to out-run the storm. No luck. Huge gusts of wind came from nowhere, it got cold quick and started to sprinkle. I stopped in Galena, Illinois just as the Civil Defense sirens went off. Tornado time. I quickly unpacked the bike and parked it under a tree to keep the hail from damaging it. The hotel management asked us to go to the basement while the winds were at their worst. They said it registered 85mph. I watched it blow around trash cans like leaves, I can't believe my bike didn't get blown over. Check out these shots...especially the green sky (hail).


After the storm passed and we returned to our rooms, the weather channel said that a tractor trailer was blown over onto a car just a few miles east of town on the same road I was on (SR20). Yikes!

Tomorrow, Iowa and beyond.


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