Saturday, July 25, 2009


After sleeping thru the stormy weather in Galena, I got up early to head west. Passed thru Dubuque, Iowa...a pretty little town. I really liked the bridge that crosses the river as you come into town.


Stopped to take a picture of a neato gothic looking church as well...the sunlight made for an interesting pic.


Iowa is flat and the roads are straight. The redeeming factor is that it's pretty and the people are really nice. Everywhere I stopped people wanted to talk and were real friendly.

View Larger Map


I ate lunch at an A&W, they give you a cold mug and the root-beer comes from a tap. Passed a town with my last name, had to stop and get a pic of the sign. I was tempted to go visit but I was short on time, trying to make up time from the storm delay from yesterday.


The wind had been blowing pretty hard all day. I hate riding in the reminded me of Texas, bleck. And just like Texas, about the time I noticed a really strong crosswind, I found more wind farms. But this time, I was out in the middle of no-where, alone. So I took the bike on the dirt road across a farm to get up close to one.


They really are massive. The sound of the blades spinning was crazy, it made me nervous that I'd some how get chopped up. It's very evident that there are very large forces at play listening to that thing. The substation is humming and gives the air a very electric quality. I even made video, will have to figure out how to post it.

Shortly afterwards, I crossed the state line into South Dakota. At one point, I realized I had passed a lot of Lewis & Clark signs trying to tell me something. So I pulled over at the next one, in Elk Point. Apparently they had camped here back in the day, on the side of the Missouri River.


My destination was Yankton..but upon arrival all lodging was booked up. And camping. Apparently there was a high school reunion and a local state park that did it. So after looking at my options, I traveled back east to Vermillion, home of the University of South Dakota. I stopped at a motel with a mini-golf, a pool and a bar. Drank beer with the owner that night, Dave.

Here are some more pics of the midwest that I liked.


Tomorrow, further into South Dakota and heading for the Badlands.

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.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ohio & AMA Superbikes!

Woke up the next morning and hit the road. This is the hotel I stayed the night at, with the bike out front all ready to go (not next to the window like it was at night). I think the Harley dude's safety issues were unfounded, that town was small and safe.


From Aberdeen, I headed north on SR41 into Ohio. A beautiful stretch of road.

Two words: "What Barn?"


There were 2 things I wanted to see in Ohio: The Serpent Mounds and a covered bridge. After an hour or two, I took a 5 mile detour to the Serpent Mounds. The hilly area where it lies is the rim of a meteor crater, formed millions of years ago. It's supposedly a very cosmic spot, having all kinds of meaning in astrological circles. I broke the rules and stood in the middle of the serpent's head. No ill affects or special powers granted that I am aware of. I didn't stand in the cosmic vortex a.k.a. the serpent's tail, for fear of getting my karma sucked out of my head :)


I have to admit, I was a little bit fascinated with the simplicity of the men's toilet. Yes, that's a wall to piss on with a drain hole.


As I continued north, it started to rain again. Beautiful countryside tho. I decided to skip the covered bridge tour, since it was raining and I was really looking forward to seeing Tracy again.


As I got into Lexington, I finally started seeing familiar roads again. I rounded the corner to my destination, there was Tracy and her brother Andy waiting for me in the front yard. They took this shot.



Look at those smiles!

Later that night, we went to a bonfire at Grant's house. He lives way out in the country so we were able to have a huge bonfire and drive around on motorcycles and act rowdy...the way it should be. The fire was about 40' high at one point. That's Grant doing a wheelie on the 3 wheeler. :)


Next day was Superbikes! We went with a bunch of Grant's buddies, Andy & Karen and their neighbors Jeremy & Jess. Tracy and I rode over, which gets you some pretty rad parking with the rest of the bikes. Jeremy & Jess rented a golf cart and they picked up Andy and Karen from their car.


Stopped by the Ducati owners tent to rest and grab some schwag and snacks.

One of Grant's buddies playin around on a Honda 50. I need to get one of those.

Monday, Grant, Tracy and I went for a scenic bike ride around Richland county, thru the Amish country and Mohican State Park. Beautiful place, it reminds me of Fall Creek Falls State Park in East TN.


I got to see a covered bridge anyway, and take a cool shot. Ohio is a beautiful state.


Also traded up rides...Grant's 1998 SuperHawk is FAST! It has the big 48mm carbs and you can feel it!


Visited with family the next 2 days and put Tracy on a plane back home to San Diego. I stayed over the night, to leave the next morn. Woke up the next morn to a bunch of rain waited around for a while for it to clear...and had lunch with Andy and Grant before heading out. I made it to Plymouth, Indiana that night, and got rained on a bit on the way as well. Rain seems to like me lately.

View Larger Map


Tomorrow, finish up Indiana, then head past Chicago and on thru Illinois.