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Day 2
June 6th, 2004
KOA Campground
Benton, Illinois


I was up early, but dismayed to find out it did little good.  Dennis the Menace was up at the crack of dawn causing havoc in the campground.
While loading the bike the father stepped over for a chat.  Being polite I asked what their final vacation goal would be.  "Yellowstone.  Are you going there?"  I shot back, "I DON'T think so."  I don't want to be within a thousand miles of these jokers.  In fact I thought about calling Yellowstone and warning them of what was heading their way.

It took me 30 minutes to load out and get on the road.  I have a pretty good system for striking camp, and I can do it in the time it takes most guys to check out of a motel for.

The morning was warm and hazy, and I took SR 37 north to SR 154.  Fisherman were stirring about on their way to a nearby lake.  I saw many of them out on the water when I crossed the bridges.

The crossroads of 154 and 148 is poorly marked, and as a result I took a wrong turn.  I quickly noticed it and corrected things.  Sasser was mostly asleep when I passed through.  The highway slices right through the business district and shops were either closed or boarded up.

A car wash on the west side of town has a nail parlor attached to it, and I wondered how that combination came to be.  I guess its not a bad thing to get your nails done while the car is being washed.

The air had a sweet scent to it.  The green grasses and crops had a unique look and feel. The smell was nothing like I ever noticed in Alabama.
In Pinckneville I left 154 for SR 127.  The highway is a virtual straight shot north.  I fell in behind a string of slow moving cars and SUVs,  I left them breathless when I shot the 1300 by them in a quick swoop.

I was passing through Nashville when I noticed the gas mart I stopped at last year and had a mediocre pizza.  I won't be making that mistake today.  I found myself several times on this tour coming across something from a previous ride.  I guess I have been around the country enough now to warrant repeats.

With the screen trimmed down, I enjoyed the ride.  The roads and countryside were mostly quiet on this Sunday morning.  A few rural churches were beginning to come to life, but not much else was happening.

The first break of the day came at a McDonald's in Greenville.  The entrance sign to the city announced it was home to Chris Schummer, the 2002 3 point champion.  I remembered a similar sign on another Illinois town I passed through a few years ago.  That one said it was the home of a skeet shoot champion.

I'm beginning to like Mickey Ds for morning and afternoon breaks.  They always have a place to sit, which beats sitting on the curb in a hot sun in front of some gas mart.  I had a coke and apple pie.  I called station 2 for a weather report.  I was told there was rain in the St Louis area, that was no problem, my direction was north.

I stayed on 127 out of Greenville, and the riding was good.  The road surface is smooth, and I enjoyed riding past farmhouses and pastures.  One section of the road near Greenville was bordered by large trees having a tunnel effect on the highway.























The riding was good on SR 127.  North of Greenville,
the highway entered a tree tunnel.

It was beginning to get warm.  I was wondering why I had not passed through the jet stream yet, I knew I had to be close.

The 1300 is a very powerful and smooth motorcycle, and keeping it anywhere close to the speed limits on these 55 mph back roads was downright next to impossible.

Chris informed me last night President Reagan had died.  I was saddened but took comfort in the knowledge he was better off.  The last 10 years of his life were not very good.  All the flags in Illinois were half mast.

I saw more than a few Harley riders, none of which wore helmets. 

I stayed on 127 till I came to I-55, where I went for a short jog north to SR 104, and then to SR 78.

It is summer time in the midwest.  Many of the towns I passed through were having their annual city street parties.  I saw banners for events named Sodbuster Days, Summer Fest, or so and so founders day.  Many towns were in decline, and these events were a way to salvage city pride, and perhaps hold the town together.

I rolled into town a called Virginia, kind of hungry.  I saw 2 boys walking down the street and stopped to ask them where the best place to eat could be found.  They referred me to the Virginia Inn.  "Its right across the street from the courthouse, can't miss it," I hear one say.  A good name for a cafe, after all, I am a southern boy.





















 
           These 2 young men helped me locate a place to eat lunch

Virginia was right in the middle of their summer carnival.  The courthouse lawn was packed with booths and rides.  They had all the stuff you'd think such a small town celebration would have.  Dunking booths, kiddie rides, cotton candy, and vendors selling everything from belts to quilts.
  
I parked the 13 across the street and went in the Virginia Inn for lunch.  My waitress noticed my accent, and said she had spent time in Mississippi, and understood southern English very well.   I saw goulash on the menu and when she told me what it was I said, " I don't think I'll be havin that baby, just bring me the fried pork chop sandwich."
























Many towns in the Midwest were celebrating summer
events, like this one in Virginia, Illinois.

My selection proved to be a good one.  The thing was HUGE.  It had a light flaky crust and was very tender.  I checked messages and got back on the road. 

Out of Virginia I took SR 125 to U.S. 67.

The scenery began to look and feel more flat.  I was nearing the Mississippi River and her flood plains reached out in many directions.  The riding was not as good as earlier and the air temp gauge on the 1300 dash was rising steadily.  Whenever I was not moving, I was warm.

I can say now, having been on the 1300 on some hot days, the heat it generates is not any greater than that of the 1100.  Having said that, both bikes are hotter than most bikes.  If you have a low tolerance for heat, better look at something else to ride. 

The small town of Good Hope was also having its summer celebration.  I pulled to the side to watch the local volunteer firefighters give a few demonstrations.  I smiled as I watched them flow water.  

The local park was full of the usual stuff, so I found a snocone booth and ordered up a cherry.  It was one of those old fashioned deals where a guy puts in a block of ice, and inside the blue tinted case, crushed ice appears.  The cone was 75 cents and as I passed the dollar over I said, "never mind keep it the change."  I mean how many cones do you have to sell to even make 10 or 15 bucks?

A lady seated behind the table asked where I was from-  "Alabama." I said.  "So what brings you to HERE?"  "Nothing m'am I was just passing through and thought it'd be nice to see how y'all were doin in Good Hope."

I took my cone, parked under a tree, and did some people watching.  

Traffic picked up when US 67 took me near Galesburg, I have to say I was glad to leave the route for SR 17 at Viola.

Soon after I turned on SR 17 something very inspirational happened.  I was riding along when I saw a motorcycle pull out from a farm's driveway.  I could see the bike had saddlebags and the rider had on a tank top, no helmet and shorts.  I assumed it to be some kind of cruiser or Harley.

Imagine my surprise when I got close enough to see it was a wineberry ST!  I pulled abreast of the rider and we acknowledged each other.  It is safe to say, mine is probably the first 1300 he has ever seen, he looked shocked.  I passed him and when I looked back to my mirrors I could see him lurch forward and wave a clinched fist a few times, as if to say, "Way to go! Way to go! keep going for it man!"  I felt like a sports hero.

A short ride later I turned onto SR 11 and was treated to an excellent view of the Mississippi River.

I turned left onto SR 92 and crossed the Mississippi into Muscatine.  Although I'd never been here, I recognized the name.  Chris' school use to play a team from here every spring.  Muscatine would travel south each spring while there was still snow on the ground, giving them a leg up on their local competition.   Chris said they won their conference almost every year.

























                  The Mississippi River from Muscatine, Iowa.

In Iowa I switched to SR 38.  I followed it to I-80 where I connected to a road called X40.  It was on the map, so I assumed it was paved.  It was.
I took a break in Wilton.  I drank fancy water and called my wife. 

The day was drawing to a close as leaned a few curves into Wapsipinicon State Park.  To most people's surprise, Eastern Iowa has a few hills, and woods.

In the park I had to look for the campground host. I found his RV on small site near the front.  I paid my 7 bucks to the state of Iowa and made sure I picked a site FAR from anybody else.  I needed some sleep tonight.

After setting up camp I made a quick ride into town for something to drink.  The park is practically located in the town of Anamosa so I didn't have far to go.

When I found the gas mart store I figured I might as well top off the tank.  The best they had was 89 so I bought only 5 bucks worth.  I figured it would be good enough after I mixed it with the good stuff already in the tank. 

I was still full from lunch, but when I saw how good the fried chicken breast looked, I bought one to eat back at the campground.
The 13 and I put down 507 miles today.  

I took more pictures today and spent a few minutes at the camp table sorting through them.  When I finished that I made notes for the next day's ride.  I see on the map I am not too far from the "Field of Dreams," movie site.  I'll check that out in the morning.

I was too sleepy to watch a movie so went to bed kind of early.  
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