1869 miles later I arrived back home tonight.
I left Iowa in a T-shirt thinking it was much warmer than it was! This stretch of roads I have traveled dozens of times so I was in the 100 MPH state kind of mood and too stubborn to pull over and put my jacket on. On the flip side of things it was another sunny day and I was still rolling on 2 wheels! Today was a day for wrong turns. First as I was traveling across Iowa I missed my turn north and all I could do was laugh at myself because this isn’t the first, or the second, or even the third time that I have missed this turn! I have actually lost track of how many times I have missed this road and I am not sure why, there are great big green and white signs stating where I need to go and every time I fly right by. As per usual I went up the road to one of the no U-turn spots and made a not so U-turn?! I went back took the turn I was supposed to take and boy when I caught up to that minivan that had been following me they were just a little confused. I just waved and rolled on by laughing out loud at myself. You would think if I am able to navigate myself all the way across the country and back that I could probably find my way home maybe from now on I should start leaving breadcrumbs.
I logged onto my Instagram account as I was rolling along and to my great surprise the first thing in my news feed was a picture of myself with my bike! The Alabama friend I had met the previous day put a lovely post about me up. 5 minutes of Instagram fame, I love being a unicorn!
I couldn’t help but notice as I got closer to Wisconsin the wind was picking up at a high rate of speed. It was beginning to become one of those days where when you pass a semi you get a big burst of wind coming out the other side that pushes you over towards the ditch or the median. But the sun was still shining and I was still rolling on two wheels so life was still good.
I crossed over the mighty Mississippi once again and found my way home, stopping an extra few seconds on the offramp to throw my jacket on finally. I pulled in my driveway, checked my oil, unhooked my bag and helmet from the bike, and met up with this fine piece of iron to continue my adventures for the day. What an awesome machine! We made five or six stops and nd everywhere we were this thing was the center of attention. Pictures, stares, and a few people had to touch it! Now there is something I will never understand, I have a few friends with some pretty bad ass paint jobs on their bikes and it never fails people have to touch them. I can’t help but wonder,what exactly are they expecting to feel other than cold smooth paint !?
Not exactly sure where we were headed for the day, I took off winding down the back roads and up on top of the ridges couldn’t help but notice that my bike was more of a sail in the wind than anything, I found myself riding a little more horizontal towards the road then perpendicular!
After a little lunch in New Diggins I headed us South crossing into my fifth state for the long weekend, Illinois. Council Hill Station is always a treat! There were a few people there from Des Moines Iowa we had a nice little chat about bikes, roads, places we’ve been and things we’ve done.
From this spot I had planned on running down into Galena Illinois and I was beginning to run low on fuel so needed to get somewhere before too long. In the midst of talking with the folks here I completely changed my course of direction and decided to hit up Bobbers bar in Winslow Illinois instead.
This is where the day got a little interesting. First after heading down to Stagecoach Trail I remembered I needed to get fuel and that there was a small gas station in Scales Mound. I turn into scales mound to find out that the gas station is closed and they do not have pay at the pump. Thinking I knew where I was I headed out the back side of town on a small windy road only to discover that I in fact did not know right where I was. That’s OK I’m always up for a new adventure and when the road came to a T I made a right hand turn which would take me back to Stagecoach Trail with any luck. A short bit down this road it suddenly looked like we were going to run face first into a wall, I did not remember seeing any dead end signs ….then it hit me, not the wall but my memory. This road has a tunnel under the train tracks what an excellent feature I was at this point very happy I somewhat got us lost to wind up here.After getting back out on Stagecoach we soon came into Apple River where there was a gas station and my motorcycle flashing low fuel at me was very happy about this fact.
I think at this point I was three wrong turns into my day but it’s just all part of an adventure right? Leaving Apple River I knew I had to make a left-hand turn once I got into warren Illinois and then that road would take me into Winslow, I thought wrong. Soon I arrived in Nora Illinois and remembered I had done this once before because I had missed my turn. I pulled over grabbed my trusty phone which actually had service so I was able to use my Google maps and looked up the fastest route over to Winslow. I recognized the names of a few of the roads so away we went. I took a right on Quarry Hall road only to discover it was gravel. I don’t think twice about this I just continued to head on, then I looked in my rearview mirror and realized my travel partner was quite a ways back. Ooops! Probably should’ve made sure the gravel was OK with them. After a few miles we came up to a paved road and I was laughing hysterically, turned around and said, “Hey, so by the way I forgot to ask, are you OK with gravel?” We laughed and continued on our adventure where I continued to miss two more turns, a stop sign, and wind up on gravel twice more. Eventually though we found our way to Bobbers! Excellent outdoor river side bar themed like a giant fishing boat! The bartender there is hilarious I’ve stopped a few times this year and she has entertained me and kept me there longer than intended. Today my friend asked where the bathroom was and she pointed behind us and said, “Turn around and pick a size.” ….this is what we saw she told us most guys pick the hole to the right! …Then was kind enough to point my friend to the actual men’s room.
After striking up a conversation with a couple standing by the river we came to find out that we had some friends in common, what a small world it is! We swapped some stories about a few people and good times we all had and couldn’t help but wonder if we had been in the same place at the same time before since one of our mutual friends owned a bar that we have each been to to listen to some bands. Crazy the people you meet out on the road!
Next up dinner time! I was half starved and luckily about 10 minutes up the road a good friend of mine manages The Vault in South Wayne Wisconsin and they happen to have excellent food! I guess I should say it was only supposed to be 10 minutes up the road, the way that I took to get there since there were a few other wrong turns, took more like 20 minutes! Still having a great day just laughing not a care in the world. Though I was starting to feel like Dorothy out here looking for Toto in this wind seriously it was a little nuts.
We arrived at The Vault I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to eat but my lovely friend Miss Fish recommended trying out the nachos with beef brisket on top, turned out to be fabulous and the pizza was also excellent! So if you ever find yourself traveling through South Wayne Wisconsin make a right hand turn off of Main Street and find the vault! Actually that depends on whether you are traveling east or west through town and on second thought why would you take turning directions from me at this point?!
Use google maps!
The day was starting to get away from me and I wanted to make it home at a decent time since tomorrow is back to reality! One more stop at the Cork down saloon by Yellowstone lake not far from home and the day was done.
Here I am roughly 5 miles from my house and what do I do? Yep you got it, made another wrong turn! It was more like an 8 mile ride home. No idea where my head was today but what an excellent adventure no harm in racking up a few extra miles with some wrong turns in the wind right?
I have no idea what the weathers going to be for the morning so I’m just going to leave the bike right here at the front door in case I decide to ride to work.5 states, 1869 miles, dozens of conversations, and a lifetime of memories all in 4 days time! Life is a highway!