July 22nd and 23rd, 2011
22.07.2011 - 23.07.2011 32 °C
I layed in bed until 8 a.m. on Friday and decided that I didn't really want to travel. I was feeling a bit beat-up by successive days of riding and the oppressive heat. I checked with the girl and the front desk and it was no problem to stay another night. Yay !!
I didn't do much except for walking a couple of blocks down to Walmart to pick up some Gatorade and some bananas. I was thinking my electrolytes might be a bit low. I basically vegged-out for the entire day except for a bit of time checking out the tires on the Wing, checking the oil and cleaning off some of the bugs. All was well.
I rode the bike up the street to the Shell station and filled-up. For some reason, they couldn't accept my Visa card so I paid cash. I then road over to Applebees and had an early supper. They couldn't accept my card either. When I got back to the hotel I phoned the Visa people and found that they had stopped my card because there had been $1200 worth of stuff charged to it. I have a suspicion that the weasley looking guy on the front desk of the Super 8 in Franklin, Ohio, was a shyster. Fortunately I have my Canadian Visa card and a Mastercard and American Express if that fails.
After a good night's sleep, I was up and raring to go at 5:30 a.m. this morning (Sat). I loaded up the bike, paid my bill and then hit the road at 6:30 a.m. At that time, the temperature was already 24C and it was very muggy. I hit the interstate (I-70) and was delighted with the lack of traffic. I rode towards Indianapolis then onto #465 which is a multi-lane freeway ring road that diverts through traffic from the city. In no time I was around the city and onto I-74 headed west.
The first thing that strikes you when you get out into the rural area is the amount of corn that is being grown in the U.S. It's all you can see for miles and miles, in fact all day that's what I saw growing. I guess it goes into the production of alcohol to supplement gasoline supplies. Just around Peoria, one farmer has a sign on his fence that said "This is the Road to Freedom". The next sign said "Better American Corn than Mid-East Oil."
I stopped in a small town called Farmerstown and topped-up the gas tank. I went over to the McDonalds across the street for a coffee and Egg McMuffin. The shop was full of retired men sitting at one table and all their wives sitting at another table. They were all having fun talking and joking with each other. I asked one old guy why they don't sit together and he just looked at me like I was crazy. He said, "I get to see her all the time at home."
I went around the towns of Bloomington and Peoria. Again, they had ring roads around the towns. How civilized. Traffic was moving along really well and before I knew it, I was crossing the bridge over the Mississippi River and into the State of Iowa. Unfortunately, there was no place to pull off and take a photo of the Mississippi. As soon as you're across the river, the roads become bumpy and narrow. The traffic also increases a lot as well as an increased number of trucks. One of the trucks that passed me was from Kelowna. I waved but I didn't get a response. The temperature got as high as 32C during the afternoon but around 1 p.m. it moderated a bit. I was wearing my soaked cooler vest and it was keeping me quite comfortable.
As I travelled on towards Des Moines, Iowa, there became in increasing number of thunder heads. You could see rain falling in the west. Rain was off and on lightly for quite a while then there was some lightning and the rain just dumped. I rode through the downpour for about 20 minutes. It felt so good to be wet and cool I never even thought of pulling over and putting on a rain jacket. I rode on for another half-hour but I could see there were more thunderheads ahead. I came upon an exit with a couple of hotels and restaurants so I went in and checked into a Super 8. Not the best place I've stayed but it's cheap. I had a great steak dinner across the street at a local steakhouse. They had a huge indoor barbeque and you cook your own steaks over real charcol. I opted for the 10 oz. rib eye rather than the 24 oz.
While I was eating, I noticed the waitresses looking at something out the window. I went over to see what they were looking at. It was a tow truck pulling a fairly new house trailer in from the freeway. The trailer had been in an accident. The whole chassis was collapsing. No one knew how bad the tow vehicle was damaged.
I took a bit of a walk after dinner and took a few pictures. Indiana and Illinois were beautiful but I was really struck with the beauty of Iowa. I travelled by many old farmhouses that look like they could have been the set for the "Field of Dreams". You'd almost expect to see a baseball field in front of the houses with lights all surrounded by corn. I think I have to watch "Field of Dreams" when I get home.
There are some spectacular thunderheads building around Grinnel tonight. The Weather Channel is showing storm warnings but I don't know how close they are to me.
Tomorrow, I will head west on I-80 and then #29 up to I-90 and then towards Rapid City in South Dakota. That will probably be a lot for one day. There is a chance I 29 will be closed and I may go through Omaha and across Nebraska. I'm looking forward to getting back on roads other than inter-states.
Distance today = 771 kms
Distance to date = 13,515 kms