Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 08, 2010 – Day 33 Welcome to IL, how about some lightning?

All of us were up early this morning; Linda fixed breakfast while I loaded Green Girl and got ready to leave. I ate so much dinner last night I was still feeling stuffed so I held back and only ate one bowl of cereal and another one of fresh strawberries and blue berries. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to fit into Big Red when the time comes.

Is he finally gone?

He's gone. I put ice in his helmet.

We said our goodbyes and it was time for me to get on the road. I queried Garmin & Company for the nearest fuel stop and headed off to Buffalo, KY. Arriving at the Buffalo EZ Stop I was underwhelmed to find all of the gas nozzles and grade choices duct-taped shut. Perfect. 

Buffalo Hotel

Buffalo traffic jam

Buffalo Post Office - just so you'll know it's a real place

At least I got to visit another small rural town which I like to do so I shot some pics of the local attractions and got back on track. I had two days to make it to David & Noah’s place in Kansas City, MO so I’d need to ride around 275 miles per day. Today I’d ride the slabs for awhile and make good time, then if I got ahead of the game a bit I’d bail off and ride more back roads.

The plan worked for awhile at least and when I was ready for a break I took my maps and GPS into McWotsitsface’s for a bit of strategy planning and a low-cal mocha. My route was taking me west on several hi-speed freeways which eventually led me to Owensboro. At that point I’d had enough entertainment playing with semi-trucks and dialed things back to a more leisurely pace.

As I was riding along in a westerly direction with the sun high overhead I found myself squinting due to the intense reflection off Green Girl’s chrome surfaces; particularly the large surround containing the speedometer cluster. For awhile I tried riding with my left hand covering the worst area and that helped but it was awkward and soon became tiring. I tried to think of a way to cover it without damaging the surfaces and came up with the idea of using that blue painter’s masking tape.

As soon as I arrived in Corydon, the next town I tried the Dollar General to see if they carried it. Sure enough they did and after covering most of the offending areas I was once again rolling; this time without the squint. The tape was a cheap fix and would be easy to remove when it was time.

Corydon Traffic Jam
These people carry nearly everything
Green Girl gets dulled up

As I continued into the afternoon I noticed the sky was developing a rather unfriendly look to it and when I approached the bridge over the Ohio River leading into Illinois things were looking grim. I paused to record it as I had a feeling I’d soon be getting wet. My guess was solid; as soon as I hit the bridge ramp I felt the first splat. This was not going to be lightweight stuff; this was the real deal. 

As soon as I rolled down the other side I noted a friendly welcome to Illinois sign but it was raining so hard by then I couldn’t stop for a photo; instead I kept going and took the first exit to Old Shawnee Town.

There I found a deserted park complete with picnic shelter just the right size for Green Girl and me to hide under for awhile. I dug out the Frogg Toggs and put on the jacket figuring it would be enough. In a few minutes the downpour stopped so I rode around the village and looked things over.

In the process I discovered what looked like a monster-sized hunting rig made from a converted military vehicle. I guess if you wanted to slog around in soft mushy ground it would probably suffice; I can’t imagine what else it would be good for. I wonder what the fuel consumption would be for it. Five mpg perhaps? Two?

We left Old Shawnee Town and soon found our way back onto Illinois 13 West and the rain had stopped. The heat in that damn Frogg Toggs jacket once again began to build so I stopped and shucked it off. I must have looked like I was having problems because another biker pulled up to see if everything was alright. I thanked him for stopping and in a couple of minutes was on my way again.

This part of my route west followed the Ohio Scenic Byway through Illinois. It seemed odd as a name for a highway in Illinois but who knows what the people were thinking when they named it? Maybe they got a good deal on the signs?

This Illinois corn doesn't look like it's doing very well.

Around 3:00pm I again noticed the sky was looking black in the direction I was headed and sure enough, the rain began again, this time in earnest. I held off putting on the rain gear as I hate stopping for that only to have to reverse the whole process 10 minutes later. Of course this was the time I should have done it as the skies opened up and really dumped on me. Then the lightning started and it was really some serious stuff. Bolts were firing all over the place and one hit so close to my right side the thunder was deafening. I spotted a driveway I could pull off the road in and stopped to put on my rain jacket. I didn’t bother with the pants as my jeans were already soaked. I also swapped helmets as the Schuberth has a Pinlock system that prevents the visor from steaming up from your breath.

The rain continued as hard as anything I’d seen and I had to partially stand to see over the windshield in order to see what was ahead. At least the traffic was light and I was making good time. The next town on my route was Chester and it was less than 20 miles ahead so I hoped it would be big enough to have a motel or two. By the time I arrived the rain had stopped and I was happy to locate the Best Western.

After checking in and changing into dry clothes it was time for dinner and since the motel people had given me a ticket for a discount I rode to Reid’s Harvest House to try their smorgasbord. Hey why not, I believe in variety and smorgasbords offer a variety of food, right? While I was there several of the staff were clustered in front of the TV watching the weather report. Apparently there had been a report of a tornado touching down close by and the warning sirens had gone off. Perfect, just what I wanted to hear, first a lightning storm is banging all around me and now a freaking tornado alert.
I gobbled up plenty of food just in case there was some sort of emergency and waddled out to Green Girl for the ride back to the motel. Once there I picked up some quarters from the front desk and plugged them into the coin-op dryer and dried all my wet gear.

There seems to be an inordinate amount of short people aka children running loose in the motel tonight. I like kids. Sort of.
Get outta my way kid...

Tomorrow I’ll head to Kansas City where I’ll stay with David and Noah. David sent me an email earlier asking for Green Girl’s tire sizes so he can try to run down a set for me. Isn’t that a nice gesture? I hope he can locate some as her rear tire is pretty bald and the front one is getting there.

Life on the road….

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