Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mackinaw City Michigan 2011

Once again, at O’Reilly’s and there’s not much going on around these parts this weekend. If you read my story about my last visit there was so much going on that weekend that there was no way of getting a hotel room that I had to pitch a tent, tonight is another story. The motel I stayed at a few years ago and was full last year, again because of the busy weekend only had 2 other rooms taken with the same kind as me...bikers, and no not wanna be. Tonights action will have to be written about later if there is any action and for as long as my story while in Ottawa was maybe not much more to talk about except for the action that happened downtown Ottawa last night, which I guess I did still write about, didn’t I?

Well, last night was a late night once again and I love the city of Ottawa, the people are so friendly, the Canadian women beautiful, willing and able and what more could I possibly say. I spent most of the night at Pier 21 since Morgan was keeping me such good company and Borechuck was right, the place got busy with a bunch of people form the Blue’s fest which ended at 11:00. The band was ok, but I did decide I better checkout the Irish pub I was at last year, remember, the Dubliner downtown in the Market place where all the action is going on. I did get to meet many more Canadians and like I’ve said, they’re all very friendly and remember the women beautiful, willing and able. I ended up with a group of Blue’s fest goers who were well on the way to drink as much as they could, but when their half my age, they think they can hold their own, but without the experience. Well, since they wanted to get drunk and fast, that meant shots and as long as they were buying, I guess I’d be drinking. Sorry I didn’t get all of their names, but someone for me to party with before having to head back to the hostel for a well deserved night of sleep and for me, a few drinks will really help me sleep.

There were only 4 of us in the 6 bed jail cell so I didn’t have to worry about keeping too many awake with my snoring but according to Victor, remember the 63 year old Australian riding bike along the Trans Canada, I guess that wasn’t a problem with me last night, the snoring that is. Maybe that’s the ticket, more hard liquor than beer will do it and keep me from getting too stuff up which also brings on the snoring. Anyway, who really cares except for those sharing a room. For some reason even after a late night I did wake up early, about 6:30, but decided I could still sleep in so definitely did and was on par with my start for the morning, a 9:04 departure. I did get scolded by the guy at the front desk for walking around the hostel without a shirt on, but when I pack my bike in the morning on a hot day, I usually only wear my shorts since I’ll be working up a sweat just getting the bike packed. I think if it would’ve been one of the ladies behind the desk, it may have been another story, I don’t think I’m that outta shape. I did catch Victor on my way out even though I never did get to meet the other 2 guys in the room, but they left plenty early that it didn’t make any difference as long as I wasn’t missing anything.

Ok, as for the bike ride, this Trans Canadian hwy sucks especially outside Ottawa and before Echo bay which is just before Sault Sainte Marie. It’s a 2 lane highway and with stop lights that there are some stretches that the traffic seems to run pretty slow and remember how those in Vermont drive below the posted speed, well today there were plenty of Canadians doing the same. The only good thing they have which allowed me to get in front of others were passing lane sections along the way and even on a two lane highway with the oncoming traffic, it definitely makes a difference being on a bike that you can hit it and get around a few before the cars coming the other way hit you, and as long as I’m writing this, you can tell I didn’t get hit, thank God.

So for what did happen along the ride, not much to talk about except for 2 stops at 2 different McDonald’s for a quick burger and especially their fries where I ended up walking out of both of them without ordering. When I have to wait for over 5 minutes just to place an order and in a hurry like I was, I’m not going to sit around and way. The worst was the one in North Bay because I’ll swear, they had more kids working behind the counter in the kitchen than they did people standing in line or those at the drivethru window, that when I’m waiting as long as I did, I’m out of there. I did finally stop at a Wendy’s on a gas stop and their fries just don’t do if for me. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, but when I did make it to Sault Sainte Marie I decided to pull up next to a biker in front of me and ask him if there was a toll for getting over the bridge and whether they took Canadian money because I had some to get ride of, change from last night that although paying in American only get Canadian back, but so far everyone is on par.

Well, the guy I met was Bob a retiree from Michigan who spends his summers in his Michigan home and winters as a snow bird in Florida, not a bad gig when you get to ride bike year around and he had a pretty nice bike, which the thing I noticed and had to ask about were the red rims he had. Him and I spent quite a bit of time talking while in line to get through security back into the states and I can say I made it without incident. They did ask if I had anything to claim, but nothing that I carried with me except maybe some of the prime rib from last night, if you know what I mean.

So, in the end I did make good time to Mackinaw city, got a room at the cheap motel I’ve visited before and now it’s time for a few drinks and something to eat. Today was a brutal day on the bike, about a 10 hour trip just to get hear which is pretty much like a trip to Sturgis, but without the extreme heat and cross winds that South Dakota have to offer. This Canadian trip was cool enough for a jacket the entire ride, except for the stops. More to come, if I have anything to write about tonight or the ride home tomorrow. Have bike will travel.

Ottawa Ontario 2011

Back in Ottawa on my way home from NH and I love these Canadian cities. Got a bed at the same hostel I stayed at last year and right now sitting in the Ket talking with Shannon who I met last year. She took such good care of me last year that she remembered my order. Prime rib medium rare, twice back potatoe and Caesar salad, how could it ask for better help. Sorry you don’t get to see the pictures yet this year until I get it figured out how to get them attached to my blog, but at least I get to write about it. Have a lot more people that I’ve already met in Ottawa to get to, including Brian who also remembered me from last year. This time we actually did have those drinks together and if you don’t remember the story, check out Ottawa, 2010 just for that story, More to get to, but right now I’m gonna concentrate on this meal in front of me.

As usual Shannon did me good with a great piece of meat and even better service and of course I’m invited back for next year. Hopefully she’ll be here cuz it’s always nice seeing her smile. Have now moved on to Pier 21 which I’m sure I was at last year when they had a live band playing and it is the same tonight, but I think I’m not only here earlier than last year, but they have a blues fest going on that they don’t expect the bars to start hopping until later. Oh well, Morgan and Borechuck are taking good care of me and if I could load and attach my photos to my blog, you’d get to see what a Borechuck looks like. For me, I’ve enjoyed talking with Morgan, a Sociology major at the university.

Now for a followup on what I did on my vacation at Tamworth before getting on to the rest of the happens which led me to Pier 21. You know, if you’ve read the blog that I made it safely to the mountain home of the Mathews and again, as usual, if you could see the pictures, you’d see what I mean. Tuesday was a day of relaxation for me and no plan on going for a bike ride because I’ve hit’er hard getting here that at least one day of the bike will be a good one. That lasted about half an hour because there was no Mt Dew in the house that I hopped on the bike and made a quick trip into town just for a 12 pack. Ready and set to go now that I’ve had my dew for the day that I decided to go with Jeff and his little girl Alyse for some kayaking. Well, more that they decided to join me since that was my plan for the day. I was put to work even though I was looking forward to a nice relaxing day, but riding a lawn mower around isn’t too bad, except for all the rocks you need to try and avoid. These lawns around here have a lot of rock beds that you hit it once with the blade and realize it’s another pile to mow around.

Day two was my plan to make it to the Washington Mt Auto road to ride the bike to the top. Have already done Pike’s peak which is twice as high, that is sea level that last year when I attempted it, I got stuck in Conway o a day of rain. This time, the weather has been nice and hot for just such a ride and the skies look clear that I’m looking forward to being able to see a lot from the mountain top. The one thing which is the worst trying to get any where around Mt Chocura is if you have to got North of Conway to get somewhere. They main road goes right thru town which is full of stop lights that I swear what should take an hour ride to the Auto road was an hour wasted just getting through Conway. I don’t know all of the back roads like the locals, but I’m learning. Anyway I did make it to the road and today was a $15 ride to the top and believe it or not, I road half way and had to turn around because like the guide said, if you’r afraid of heights, riding the auto road might not be for you...and again, if you believe that, you don’t know me very well. I love the thrill of anything like this and the guy collecting did warn me that there was about a mile stretch at mile 5 which was gravel. Hell, that’ll be nothing like the last 3 miles climbing Pike’s peak, remember that? I enjoyed most of the ride except for the cars that felt they had to stop for each other coming down or going up the mountain. Do you know how hard it is at a steep climb having to stop the bike for some cars that apparently can’t figure out how to move over for each other, well I’ll tell you, it’s not fun at all. I was behind 4 vehicles that either they’d stop for the cars coming down or the cars coming down would stop for them and believe me, there’s more than enough room to pass without having to stop. Anyway, close to the top and had just past 5000 meters high when I was being blown all over the road and nothing but clouds. I guess that day of seeing a lot won’t be today and once I did get to the peak, it was really cloudy and windy. If you could see the pictures, you’d see what I mean, but soon, believe me soon and you’ll see pictures attached. I did meet a guy and his daughter from Pennsylvania who had just climbed the mountain and were waiting for his 19 year old son coming up a hard pass to get there for the climb down. I’ll tell you, I give those people who climb these mountains a lot of credit for what they do and I know for my little Chocura Mt climbs that that’s nothing like a mountain like this. Hung around as long as I felt hoping the weather would clear and I’d be able to see more and I did a little, but it seemed it would never clear that it was finally time to head down. Thank goodness no one in front of me that I could ride down as fast as I wanted and believe it, I kept it in first gear most of the way and off the brakes. There are plenty of pull offs for the brakes to cool, but I didn’t need to use them. I did hit a stretch where I was in third gear to you can imagine how fast I might’ve gotten going until I came to another sharp turn or over the edge. So I had to add a little thrill to the ride and I love rides like this, you feel you’ve just accomplished so much.

I did make a trip to the other side of the mountain once I got down because I thought I’d check out the Cog rail side that you can take to get to the top. A train specifically built for this mountain just to take people to the top and I guess there are some pretty good stories about just how this rail was built. Not much on that side of the mountain and I think more people actually take the Auto road or a bus up that road to get there than the cog. I was pretty cool and the side that had the museum so you could see some of the story of building the rail such as the special shovels the guys would ride down when the work whistle blew. Apparently they would hit speeds in excess of 90 mph, riding a shovel down the rail. The whistle would blow at 5:00 and some of the guys would make it to the bottom at 5:03, trestles and all. From there I found a great road, the Bear Notch road down to the Kankamangus trail which is definitely worth the ride, which you’ll hear more about.

Day 2 night we finally played some games I could partake in. Well, I guess I could have day 1 night, but I’m not a big fan of speed scrabble. Day 2 and I did play a little speed scrabble as long as we were assured to play Continental, the card game we’ve played for hour here before. Well, we did just that and I enjoyed the cards much better than scrabble even though I didn’t come in last playing scrabble, speed scrabble that is.

Day three and today is just full of all sorts of what I thought were surreals. Jeff, Wendy and the girls were leaving early that although I was locked in the dungeon again, made sure I got up to see them off early that morning. Sure I went back to bed, but had to get up at least an hour later when Mark, Julie and the girls were ready to leave. Yes, 2 families with 2 young girls as well as Dominick, how could I forget Dominick, but it was me and a few families with kids, which I love playing with the kids as long as I don’t have to be the one to take care of them when they’re ornery or upset about who knows what a child will be upset by. I did have a great time with the kids and all of a sudden later Day 3, well, before noon and all are gone except of the Mathews and their 2 little ones, Pente and Lilyanna who is only about 2 months if even that. Most of the day after the other families had left were cleaning the house and after that, it was time for me to leave George and Niki alone with the kids while I did some more kayaking and swimming. Just after George the third and Sheryl showed up I did decide it was time of me to ride route 113 backwards since I’ve only ever ridden it one way and I’m glad I tried the other route. I saw things that I’ve never seen the other way and you always have to ride a road both ways to really appreciate it.

Day 3 evening and we have even more visitors, Niki’s sister and her 2 kids as well as Niki’s mom showed up to visit for a few days, Sorry, I don’t remember all of the names, but do remember Keane and Bennie the kids. George the 4th and I played war with Keane for the first time he’s really played a card game and I think he’s hooked. That and we showed him how to shuffle the cars like a Vegas dealer. Later that night and it was a new game of Continental, which was a lot of fun.

Ok, how‘bout todays ride and how I ended up in Ottawa in the same hostel I was at last year. Well, this time I did plan ahead and figured since last time was questionable getting a bed, this time I reserved one a day in advance. Couldn’t do it over the internet for some reason when I road into Chocura to use the libraries free internet, but finally had phone service that I called and reserved so only have to worry about getting hear. This morning was no different than any others leaving NH that when getting to bed late I’m in no hurry to get up and get going and today was no different. I figured Ottawa is just over a 6 hour trip that I have plenty of time. I did get going after 10:00 with about half of the household up since the rest were in bed with child, but that was cool with me. I did get my usual ‘tootles‘ on the way out so I’m good to go. As before I‘m heading to the Kankamangus trail so I can ride it all the way west and remember what I said about Conway, well, this time I was sitting in traffic for almost half an hour before getting to my turn. There’s something about the roads around NH and Vermont and not only the roads, but everyone does drive slow, even slower than a slow speed limit like the 50 that most of Vermont has posted. They don’t have many roads posted at 55, but that’s only a number that not only I don’t follow, that is unless I’m from Vermont cuz then I’ll make sure I drive slower. Oh well, I did my usual passing to make sure I had the lead and could set the pace so made to the Vermont just in time of put my helmet on. It’s gonna be helmet most of the way home from this point on.

Oh, and the other big news of the day, my bike turned 8 today, 88,888 miles for an 2006 so I keep packing on the miles. I had thought I missed the photo op of my odometer last night that I checked it out and had 7 miles to go, almost as far as the Dunken donut, but had to pull over to take a a picture, let’s see if it turns 9 before the years over.

This time I’m not going to make the same mistake with directions as I did last time in upper NY with highway 2, but I guess I did it earlier than last. I pulled off from the freeway to early through downtown Burlington where I figured I better find my best route to highway 2 and according to the gas attendant in the middle of the college, go back the way I came and head north another 5 miles before exiting. I did and what I difference getting the exit number as well cuz I might of pulled off too soon with the way the roads are signed around here. There are so many highway 2‘s which will take you to other roads that instead, why don’t they just list the main road instead of all of these connecting roads. Well this time, I got upper NY figured out and even though it’s a very boring stretch of road, I did make the Canadian border so time to leave the country, only for a few days. I did have to ask security if this was the right exit for Cornwall and after he made sure I backed up, apparently I was invading his personal space as he reached for his gun, this was the exit to take. Surprising they don’t have a sign that says Cornwall Canada, but I wonder if the Canada side marks the Indian reservation on the US side any better.

I passed my test on the way in and found out I’m about an hour away. That won’t be any problem except for the thunderstorm possibilities, but I can say, I made it with only sprinkles that now it’s pouring out, but I’m happy to also report I don’t have to ride thru it. Ok, now to the hostel and running into an old dude, Victor from Australia who is 63 and riding the worlds longest transcontinental highway, the trans Canada highway from Vancouver to St John’s, remember the most Easterly city I visited a few years ago. He’s one of my roommates and just pulled in on his bike, which happens to be man powered and apparently he’s travelled the world on different adventures. He’s originally from Southern Ireland, but has been in Australia for years before retiring to take this bike trip. Not only was he fun to meet and talk with, but if you remember my trip last year, I met a guy Brian that was staying at the hostel that I met here last year. He stays here when his wife kicks him out of the house, so guess what weekend this is. He did remember me and like I told him, maybe this will be a regular happening. Ok, enough writing and I’m gonna start enjoying the festivities now that the bar is starting to fill up. Untile next time have bike, will travel.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tamworth New Hampshire

Home at last, at least my home for a few days and happy to be here. Today was another hot ride and although we live to ride in the sun, it can really start beating you up. Anyway, we’ll get to that, but what about last night’s festivities. Not much if any fireworks over the lake so I think they must’ve been saving them for tonight and up here in the mountains of NH, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any. Plenty of hoopla going on at the bar last night and although it was bunch of rich boaters and only a few bikers at the local biker bar, the kick around the lake this year is country music dancing. I was talking to a guy about how it always seems these boating communities always have something new popping up each year that all participate in even if it’s not their style. That was definitely the case with the line dancing last night cuz out out of all the couples there was one that looked country, but the rest, just following the crowd. Reminded me of boyz weekends we use to have at a buddy’s place down by Milwaukee because every year we went down there for the holidays, there was something different that the boating crew took up. I guess it’s just one of those things that if you want to fit in do what the Jone’s do. The bar did turn out to be fun although I was expecting more people out, especially since they have Monday off from work, but apparently there might’ve been another bar I should have thought about visiting. Oh well, didn’t want to drink too much since I had to hop on the bike for a 5 mile trip back to the hotel. Ended up at the same place I stayed last year and for about the same rate, I can handle that for a night.

Ok, now for the ride today, which was pretty much uneventful. I did get going the same time as yesterday, by about a minute. Sunday I was on the road by 9:03 and today it was 9:04 so I’ll call that average for now and I’m sure glad I don’t have to get up for any kind of riding tomorrow. The one thing I’ve liked about he riding is not having to worry about rain, but I have learned that this much sun can be just as bad for the body. I started out with a long sleeve shirt once again cuz it was a bit chilly, but decided to keep it on more of the day than not since my arms are already hurting. No matter how much I lubed with the sunscreen, it can only do so much and it definitely didn’t keep me from burning. The one good thing, although I’m against it was the helmet law I had to abide by in NY and Vermont. That was probably the one thing that saved my forehead from frying to a golden brown, but if I could fry to a golden brown, than I guess it wouldn’t be a burn now would it?

The toll roads weren’t too bad traveling today and maybe you’ll ask like everyone else here at Tamworth has, but how was the traffic? There wasn’t much traffic especially on the toll road, but once you get on Vermont 7, that’s a whole other story and you don’t want to be following a motor home. I did get stuck behind one about 5 cars back, but the first chance I got on the slow winding road, I tried to pass as many as I could. It’s a bit easier kicking it up on a bike than it is getting the kick from a car, most cars I guess that 2 passes and I was finally by and wanted to make sure I didn’t get caught behind it again so hit it a little faster than the speed limit. Did have a few surprises along the way wondering why everyone was pulling over to let me pass only to finally realize there was a cop coming from behind. On these roads I spend more attention on what’s in front of me than what’s coming up from behind.

I do have to say that the drive from Syracuse NY east is a beautiful drive and if you only know the state of NY by the big apple, you’re missing a lot more it has to offer. I’m glad I took the southern route around the lake because it is really a great ride East and even the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire are great rides. Ok, I won’t be writing my daily happenings since I’m where I’m gonna be relaxing for a few days, but on the return trip, I’ll try to be sure to capture all of the happenings.

Canandaigua New York

Back at Jos’es one year later and it doesn’t look like they’ll have a live band like last time, but once again the place to be if on a bike. Sounds as though they will be shooting off fire works over the lake just outside the door so it you like fire works, that’ll be the thing to do. Another hot day hitting it hard on the pavement so haven’t been taking pictures of the scenery and flying through traffic at 80 miles an hour you gotta catch it fast. That reminds me, if I said my Friday night ride to Colby was uneventful, I forgot about having been pulled over for speeding. Had the cruise set and by time I saw the coper it was too late. A lady trooper who did treat me well, she only gave me a warning and it must’ve been because I was a ‘Colby boy’ as she put it.

Last night turned out to be a lot of fun at the Red Owl Loung and I hadn’t noticed it before, but walls were covered in red shag carpeting. I didn’t ask if they decorated based on the name or named it based on the shag, but at that point, who really cared. There was what seemed to be a family reunion cuz one of the guys I was talking bikes with and his girlfriend had his mother along and eventually his sister which his mother made sure I met showed up, then his niece and wouldn’t you know it, the ex that mom still made sure I met. Guess maybe her mother had an eye for me for her, but sorry mom wasn’t gonna go there. I’ll tell you everyone in the bar were smoking up a storm and the only ones not smoking were 3 other out of towners like myself. I was surprised even when hitting the restaurant that I had to choose smoking or non and if you know me, you’ll know what I chose.

Good thing I had that cheap room next door too because I made a night of it and stayed until they kicked us out which was later than normal since the owners, another couple showed up and joined the family reunion so we all got at least one free one, which was nice. That would also mean not an early start this morning. I did forget to mention that I checked out the plastic covered mattress to make sure there weren’t any bed bugs and i swear they must’ve left that plastic on it from the factory. Good thing the sound of plastic didn’t keep me a wake, but it wasn’t something I expected, but for a cheap motel, maybe I’m expecting too much.

Hit the road about 9 ET and did make pretty good time to Cleveland, but again another hot day that it didn’t seem to matter how much I lubed with the sun screen I could feel the burn coming on. This weeks Rock and Roll hall of fame star was, wait for it, the women of rock and roll. Like usual I didn’t buy a ticket for the full tour because I wanted to make sure I at least made Canandaigua for the night and of course there was another stop I needed to make along the way. That’ll be coming and you might’ve guessed why I headed south on my way out instead of North thru Canada, which will be on my way home.

Only spent half an hour around the rock and roll hall of fame and I needed something to eat that I hit up the hot dog stand on the corner across the street, well, that turned into me almost not getting my polish. When I ordered one he said it’d be a couple of minutes cuz he didn’t have any that were hot enough, but while I was waiting the hot dog patrol showed up to shut him down and the tow was on the way to haul him away. I did talk to this coper and again, they came through for me because I would get my polish before they hauled him away. A couple of run ins with the law and so far, so good, now I just hope not to get pulled over for flying down the road like I have been which I have to say is some awesome riding. Cruising at 80 passing traffic that when I do hit the construction or city traffic and have to slow it down, I feel like I’m crawling along. Nothing like laying back on the bike with the cruise set and just hanging out...that’s what I love about riding.

Ok, enough of that, but the stop I had to make since I chose the route and chose it just for that reason, was the Anchor bar in Buffalo NY, for the original Buffalo wings and once again they didn’t disappoint. Had my usual with the birch beer and this time unlike last year when I was through Buffalo I knew I wasn’t going to make the mistake to try and find cheap accommodations there because I wanted to head East young man...and I’m happy to have made such good time to Canandaigua and now this place is hoping, karaoke night and there’s been some pretty good music picked and some good singers. Isn’t that how many of these boating communities turn out to be on a holiday weekend, nothing but a big party.

Did forget to mention that I got some great directions from this couple that almost parked their bike on top of mine, but they turned out to be ok that I wasn’t gonna complain. They had just come from the Buffalo area and live in Niagara so knew my quickest way to the wing capitol and even though it was hotter than hell (not that I’d know) I had to put on a long sleeve shirt just to cover the burn and tonight, it’s still burnin so lets see what I can fry up at this here bar. Stay tune, hope to be in NH tomorrow and if you’re lucky might see this before than. If not, just stay tune.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Howe Indiana

Howe Indiana

In the Red Owl Lounge with a bunch of drunks and it’s not even 9:00 yet. Howe Indiana someplace in the middle of the state and I only ended up here thanks to mother nature, i’ll get to that in a bit.

Started my trip Friday the 1st after a long week of work and headed as far as Colby, cheese town for dinner with my parents and a couple of hours behind me. Anytime my parents are offering to feed me, especially steak with potato, salad, mushrooms and onions, I’ll make that trip. Relaxed for the night stayin in even though I thought about checking out the Colby bars, but that’ll happen in a couple of weeks when I head back there for Colby Cheese days.

Did get an early start this morning leaving after Strawberry shortcake around 8:30 and gave me time to meet Chris, one of the Wausau crew who you’d know if you read any of my other stories. Figured a stop at the Harley shop on the way through would be a good idea, cuz you never know, could use a new bike and if I find a shop that would give me a good trade on a high mile bike, I just might be riding out with a new one. Probably not, but they’re always nice to look at. Made my way on the fast pavement to Janesville for my usual stop at Kutter’s Harley. Again, if you read any of my other stories, you’d know why. Wasn’t much of a stop since Lucy, the PR lady and Aron the mechanic who helped me out last time weren’t around, it was just a stop to re-lube with sunscreen. Another hot day and it was already getting sticky, good thing I’m riding cuz it is pretty nice with the natural air conditioning, that is until you’re stopped on the freeway for some unknown reason. Good thing I’m on a bike because I can get around any traffic easier than in a car. If it were California, it’d be even easier since they’ll let me white line it out there.

Now things are hopping in this bar since someone just put on Kid Rock’s Rock and Roll Jesus, but the hooker has left the building.

Ok, back to the trip and how I ended up in Howe Indiana. Well, did hit a stop and go about 10 miles south of Janesville and when finally made it past the cop who had someone pulled over at the top of the hill, saw it was because of a caulker slowdown. Some sort of vehicle emergency that they had someone laid out in the median and it was hot that I can’t imagine that was a very good place for someone having some kind of attack. It was a good thing I was heading South, cuz even on the way to Janesville the traffic heading North was slow, all those F.I.Bs heading North to God’s country...and if you don’t know what a F.I.B. is, well, let’s just say it’s some sort of bastard.

Did get around Chicago pretty quick taking the I39 to 88 and I355 around to 80 east, but I have no idea what it is, but one I hit the Indiana state line the traffic was stop and go once again. Did see the overhead saying slow traffic for the next 10 miles, but it is absolutely ridiculous that it’s stop and go for 10 miles, where the road either takes you south thru Indiana or North to Detroit. I did figure out my way around faster than the others and again, it’s only because of being on a bike, maybe I feel I get away with a little more than usual. Well, what I figured out was stay in the right lane and when I hit an on ramp, hit it until the last minute for all of the exits only. No one else using the lane that I might as well, bet you it saved me some time.

Now to Howe Indiana. Hit it hard again once I was on I80 through Indiana and there wasn’t much traffic to deal with, finally. Was able to make some pretty good time and thought about stopping into South Bend to visit everyone I met at Notre Dame last year, but with the threat of weather in the area and some ominous clouds around the city, decided to keep heading East. It looked good ahead and I thought with the time I was making that I’d shoot for Toledo for the night. Not sure what Toledo has to offer, but it sound like a new adventure and Toledo being on the lake, maybe a nice stop. Well, about 20 miles east of South Bend saw some pretty heavy lightning, but kept pressing on cuz I swear I saw a break in the clouds. Hit the rain soon and made the mistake of taking an exit off the toll road which I thought I’d be able to find a hotel at since it was just sprinkling, but guess what, gotta head 12 miles West to the nearest town and 15 miles toward the storm for the next. I did see a sign for a storage area 3 miles down the road that I headed in that direction hoping for a garage or overhang to find. Well, guess what, nothing to take coverage under and the storm was on me. I pulled over under the nearest tree, but that didn’t do anything for me nor the bike, started getting soaked and only stopped it a little once I put on my wet leathers. Thank God for good leathers that are built to keep me dry even if they get wetter than all get out. It was a good idea that I did stop even if I was getting wet cuz it was strong winds and sure enough hail...which reminds me of the first time I dumped my bike in Myrtle Beach when I first got the bike hoping to save my bike from the hail. This wasn’t as bad, but enough to wait it out.

Finally less rain and made it back on the toll road to pull under an overpass to let it clear a little before heading East. I did have a trooper stop by and visit, and according to him, LaGrange was the exit to take for a hotel about 20 miles up the road, but they had thunderstorm warnings until 7:45. I didn’t figure that out right way since my bike was telling me 5:30, but that’s right, I’ve already lost my hour for the day. Ok, back on the road, the LaGrange exit and according to the toll collector, the Pioneer is the cheapest motel in town, and that’s for sure... not even an owner that understands English, or maybe it was just me not understanding her. Well, guess what’s next door, sure enough the Red Owl Lounge and a restaurant across the street that had an ok prime rib, and according to Lee, one of the drunks celebrating his 52nd birthday, Indiana is the place for beef. Maybe not Howe’s restaurants version, but I’ve heard it before, about the Inidana beef. BTW, one of the few states that still has smoking in the bars and restaurants...with a smoking just sittin down next to me at the bar.

Oh well, Howe Indiana for the night and tomorrow I’ll hit Sturgis on my East...Sturgis Michigan that is just 4 miles up the road. And the talk of the night is the twin tower beam that went through town on the way to Elkhart Indiana with thousands of bikes following it. That might explain why someone asked me if I was one of the bikers following the beam.