9.17.2014

Old Iron Run: Illinois to Kentucky or North Carolina?

The road trip was going to change today. Wyatt and I were going to split up with each of us headed in a different direction. This run had been short and fast; a lot different from what is usually a 10 day road trip, however, he only had a small window of opportunity for Milwaukee so, we latched on to it and did not look back! So, the master plan for the morning was for us to ride from Union, Illinois to Joliet, eat breakfast at the Bob Evans and from there Wyatt would head east to New York and then over to Vacation Land. I would head south through Indiana and into Kentucky or possibly into the Tarheel State. Leaving Union was pretty straight forward, albeit, foggy. I called a stop at the first gas station that we came across. We watered our steeds, ate a snack and I got my fix of caffeine-we were set!
We continued on east towards Chicagoland. According to the directions in front of me we were on the right path; every so often I would check off a mileage point in my mind as I reset "Trip B" on Ole Girl's odometer. Traffic was starting to thicken and the fog was burning off. Eventually we arrived at the point on my odometer where we needed to make a major turn, however, the highway that we needed  never appeared! Okay, I will give it a few more miles or so, maybe I didn't reset the trip meter soon enough? That was not the case and soon we were literally at the end of the road and needed to make a big decision on what road to take! Of course all of this came to head as my 20 ounce cup of liquid fuel needed to be...well you know! And you probably know that you can not think rationally when you have to...well you know! Well, as I was doing the two-foot shuffle and trying to figure out where to go, I decided that I REALLY needed to go-but where? Thankfully there was a Burger King a couple doors down from the abandoned lot that we were occupying. Before the levee broke,I made it inside; I bought 'breakfast' on the way out, a cinnamon roll for Wyatt and I-very depressing indeed! I apologized profusely from my concrete seat in the parking lot, to Wyatt for the mistake! I was really bummed out! We rallied and figured out a new route. Although we would not being stopping in Joliet, we would be able to stay on course without any further delay. I packed the atlas up and we were off. It did not take us to long to arrive at our split-up point and I managed to catch Wyatt in a blurr...
Vaya con Dios! 
I entered Indiana in a funk. My head wasn't feeling good and I still had that persistent cough that seem to be rattling my faceshield more often than not; I was also bummed out because Wyatt and I would not be tramping around North Carolina with our other hermano. My mind seemed to plunge deeper into self-absorption as the interstate conveyed me further south. The ocean gray cloud cover only served to accentuate my malaise. Plans to meet up with Hermit would not be, however, I decided to ride some of the roads he had suggested. Those roads helped a little, however, by the time I arrived in the Frankfort area, I knew that I would have to abandon any thoughts of enjoying the Indiana back roads. Crystal clear to me was this: I needed to get my mind right. To do that would require the speed of the super-slab. I rejoined Interstate 65 and moved on deeper south. Thankfully, Indianapolis traffic was not as bad as it had been during our family road-trip. Ole Girl and I plunged deeper south, stopping at a rest area somewhere north of exit 19. I cinched down my gear and chatted it up with a retiree driving a Volkswagen Beetle...
By now I figured that I would be riding to Corbin, Kentucky. I made this decision after consulting the Plexiglas protected Indiana state map inside the small restroom building. This seemed to infuse me with a sense of purpose and served to feed my need to see-whats-over-the-next-hill. Ole Girl and I hit the bricks with a new purpose. Back out on the super-slab our chatty retiree drove past us as though we were standing still! The sun appeared in a great display of late afternoon golden-wheat sunshine. Louisville was coming up quickly and it looked like a knot of steel due to the bridges spanning the Ohio River. Construction was in full swing and Ole Girl was needing a tank of fuel. The closer she got to the 200 mile mark, the more I needed to find a watering hole for her! The only thing I was finding was more construction and an onslaught of rush-hour traffic! No service signs, more traffic, and closer to being bingo fuel!

I finally decide to get off a the next exit just to see if I could get lucky. I exited and found myself close by to a small airport, should be gas by an airport? Yes! I had to go half way around it but I got lucky or did I?
I pulled into a gas station that seemed to have more cars than usual. I found a pump and when I walked in to pay, I was stopped by a deep line of customers-what was going on? Was there some kind of disaster and now everybody was leaving Louisville? The chatty lady in front of me explained to me that this gas station decided to have some crazy super low price run on gas. I paid, went outside back to my pump and discovered that it wasn't working or some other issue. Sometime between getting that squared away and returning, somebody decided that they needed my Goretex rain suit more than I. For as I walked back up to Ole Girl, I saw two dangling bunngy cords minus my prized rain suit! I know I am good for loosing an item from time-to-time but I know that it was secured before leaving Indiana! I had had that rain suit for so long! Besides the sentimental value, it was a very practical piece of gear that I used often even when I wasn't on two wheels! Wow! In the short time I was inside somebody decided that they needed a rain suit-I hope it is serving them well! I was really, really bummed out now! Thankfully the sublime sunset melted out my dissapointment. After leaving Louisville I made a stop at a Kentucky rest area and happened upon a Hotel Coupon guide. Wyatt being the savvy man that he is told me about this coupon guide that are normally found at rest stops. They have a bunch of coupons for discounted stays at various motels and hotels in various geoprahical areas. They are handy! Continuing on east on Interstate 64, I continued to mellow out except for when the super-slab became a parking lot somewhere outside of Lexington. Ole Girl was starting to go Cherynobl on me. I was at wits end when the Virginia Chapter of the Hells Angels roared up to my right on the shoulder. Probably returning from Sturgis. I was about to join in as the last bike rolled by, however, I figured that if I did, Ole Girl's new rear tire would get a flat! I came up with Plan "B" and executed it. By now I needed to eat. I would be making my dinner with my Jetboil but where? Why at the Lexington Target of course!
I enjoyed a sumpteous feast of flatbread, Indian food and instant coffee! I left Lexington with a full stomach and veins that were coursing with Starbuck instant coffee! The southerly view in front of me on Interstate 75 was perfect! Ole Girl and I soaked in the beauty of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the waning summer sunshine.
The warm air, green mountains, pink contrails and smooth road surface wiped out the foggy, confusing morning and the lamentable afternoon! The ink-black night appeared and shortly afterwards, I found Corbin, Kentucky and I found a fair deal at the Super 8 using my coupon guide!

2 comments:

  1. Sorry I missed you I.V.
    As you found out, ALWAYS give Chicago a wide berth. I stay west of 47 and never go north of Kankakee.
    I'm no tech geek by any stretch, but I was given a Garmin navigator some years ago, (never would have bought one for myself) and completely dig it. Especially for the bike, where you can't leave a map on the seat for reference. No more pulling over, lost, checking the atlas, then proceeding, hoping I remembered correctly. Back in the day I used the old tank bag map with notes, but the GPS screen is very liberating.
    Sadly, I'm now hopelessly addicted to one more technological gizmo.

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  2. Hermit-Yeah, I knew what I was getting myself into and being that stubborn Marine that I usually am and the time constraint, we plowed our way through. They need to move Milwaukee to a better location! Ah yes GPS! I am too cheap and again stubborn for the GPS! LOL Now on a family trip, my wife is a righteous navigator!
    Mi Vida Loca!

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