"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dirt roads, typhoons & buffalo stampedes

Thursday morning Terri and Ron had some errands to run so Niles,Deb, Rudee and I loaded up on the bikes and headed into Indian Territory.
Our goal was to try and find the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre which is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Southwestern South Dakota.
We started out in almost perfect temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. Our route took us through Hot Springs South Dakota where Niles wisely suggested we have lunch and gas up the bikes.
With those chores done we rode on. The landscape changes from mountain to rolling prairie with only an occasional tree and very few homes and ranches. The traffic thinned out to almost nothing and it felt like we were the only one for miles and miles, it was turning out to be a really nice ride.
Off in the distance we could see a large business of some sort. I thought it might be a truck stop since we were on a state road and had not seen any gas stations for probably 30 miles or more. Once we got closer we figured out we had entered the Reservation when the business turned out to be a casino. The nearest decent size town was probably 50 miles away and we had not seen a house for probably 10 miles, yet here was this sprawling casino, it looked so out of place.
We finally made it to Oglala South Dakota and we knew our turn off was only 10 miles or so out of town. That's when the ride changed some. We ran into some road construction. Now this was not the type of road construction we are used to seeing in Indiana. Here when they repave a road they take out all the pavement leaving just a dirt road to drive/ride on. This road was mostly soft sand, and rutted mud. Not the kind of thing most "sane" people would be riding a motorcycle on :-).
We hoped the construction was only for the short stretch of highway through the tiny town but when we got stopped by a flagman Niles asked one of the local residents and they told him it was at least another 2 miles. Yikes!
We decided not to risk going any further and turned around, which was no easy feat in itself. Next to the road was a paved sidewalk. No one was using the sidewalk and we had not seen anyone outside except the road crew so we headed for it. Riding on the sidewalk we backtracked the 1/2 mile or so to get back to where the pavement ended. Whew made it. Rudee snapped a photo of us on the side walk. Yep that's the "road" on the left of us in the picture.
We decided to abandon our plan of seeing Wounded Knee and turned the bikes North at the first paved road we came to which turned out to be BIA-41 (Bureau of Indian Affairs?).
Riding North we could see the clouds building and the more we rode the worse they got. The nearest town with any kind of services was Hermosa but it was still about 60 miles away.

Here is a shot of the storm as we got closer.

I turned my radio onto the weather band and they were announcing that Hermosa was under a severe thunderstorm warning and this storm had already produced baseball size hail and high winds. Yuck!
The closer we got to town the more we realized we were not going to make it and started to look for someplace to take cover. The bad thing was there was no place to be found. We had not seen a house, barn, outhouse or chicken coupe for miles and miles. We were all getting a little nervous and by this time the storm was looking pretty fierce.
We finally spotted a house ahead and Niles headed for it. There was a car parked in the driveway but no answer at the door. We quickly covered up the bikes as the rain started and we took refuge on their covered patio behind the house.
We just made it to the patio when the storm hit and it was a doozy! The wind howled and it was bad enough that a limb, about 10" in diameter, was broken off of a tree in the back yard near us. I have to admit it was little scary there for awhile. The worst of the storm lasted about 20 minutes.
We waited for the rain to finally stop and then got our rain suits on and headed out once again.
We had about 30 more miles to go to get back to the campground and our route would take us through a section of Custer State Park. The storm had caused the temperatures to drop from the mid 90's back into the low 70's and we were glad we had our rainsuits on to cut the chill.
We arrived in the State Park and had only ridden a couple of miles when we came upon some buffalo running in the field beside us, pretty cool until we realized the rest of the herd was on the opposite side of the road and were crossing right in front of us! We got the bikes stopped and waited hoping these humongous beasts would not mistake a touring motorcycle for a hot looking buffalo cow :-)
We watched as about 20 more buffalo ran across the highway before we were able to move on.
While waiting on the patio Niles had called Ron and Terri to let them know we were in the storm but OK and had made arrangements to meet them in Hill City to eat supper since the weather was clear there. Well things change when Rudee and Phil are heading into town. The clouds started building again and we got into another downpour less than 5 miles from Hill City :-(. We made it though and had a nice meal and got the chance to dry out some before heading home.
This was one of those days we will talk about around the campfire for years to come. Remember that day in South Dakota when ...... :-).

I'm not sure what kind of mischief we will get into today, it will be hard to top yesterday. I'm not sure my heart can take that much excitement 2 days in a row but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Riding the Black Hills

We have spent the last few days exploring the Black Hills on the bikes. The weather has been great except for one little incident.
Monday we decided to head for the Lead/Deadwood area of the Hills. The ride over was great, traffic was light and it was warm and sunny. We rode to the town of Lead S.D. first and visited their big hole in the ground, the Homestake Gold Mine. This mine was in operation for over 100 years and the hole is huge. We spent some time looking around the museum gift shop but passed on the mine tour itself.
Next we rode through Spearfish Canyon which is a scenic twisty drive following a creek. There was even a waterfall along the way. This road reminds me of some of the roads we have been on in the Smokey Mountains.
The day was heating up and temperatures were getting close to the 90's so we headed for Deadwood which is one of our favorite towns here in the "Hills". I love the historic buildings that line the main drag. Most have been refurbished to what they looked like in the "boom" days of the late 1800's. Rudee likes it because each of the restored buildings houses a casino :)
We parked the bikes in a parking garage. We had set a time to meet back at the bikes so we could all explore on our own. As we were doing our things the skies suddenly became very dark and it started storming. We were inside one of the casinos when we heard a loud roar and looked outside to see tons and tons of golf ball sized hail stones falling. The noise was incredible and I was sure happy both us and the bike were under cover.
The hail only lasted for a few minutes and the skies cleared up and it quit raining. We called Niles and found out they and Terri and Ron had ridden out to see Wild Bill Hickok's grave site and were in the cemetery when the hail hit ...... ouch! They were able to take cover under a pine tree that offered them some protection though and there was no damage to their bikes.
We met up shortly afterwards and headed back to the campers. Welcome to the Black Hills!
Tuesday Ron and Terri joined Rudee and I on a short trip to Hill City S.D. which is only about 15 miles from Custer. We had reservations to take the 1880's train which is ride in vintage cars pulled by a steam engine. The ride winds through the hills over to Keystone S.D. We boarded the train and started our hour long ride. The tracks were used to haul the gold and other minerals from the mines in Keystone over to Hill City where it was transferred to the main line and sent to Rapid City. The main line is now a scenic bike path so this train is now "track locked". We enjoyed our trip and had time to walk all the of shops on the main drag in Keystone before our return trip. The cost of the ride was $22 each but I found a coupon on line for $2 off each.

Wednesday started out with Rudee and I riding into Custer for breakfast. On the way back to the campground I was able to meet and interact with a S.D. State Trooper. I was not paying much attention to the old speedometer and he stopped me for going 52 in a 45 and gave me a warning. I guess they are pretty strict around here and with the Sturgis Rally approaching I think they keep a close eye on the motorcycles.
Back at the campground we loaded up and headed out. Today was going to be another riding day. We rode into Custer State Park and paid our $12 for a week long pass. We spent the day touring the scenic roads of the park. I think the pictures show it better than I can describe it so I'll just post some photos
We are having a great time and looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful area. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

South Dakota

Once we got backed in and set up Niles and Deb surprised us with a great meal! Niles grilled steak and chicken while Deb took care of all the side dishes. It was Great! Thanks Guys!!

Here is our site for the next 12 days.

The sites here have a nice amount of room between them and we have some shade trees as well. The rest of the campground is mostly open. They all have full hook ups but there is no cable TV and we only get one station on the antenna. Satellite would work on most sites but we canceled ours last year since the KOA provides free cable.
This campground is fairly new with gravel roads and pads but dust hasn't really been a problem since we are at the far end, maybe closer to the office it could be.
We did get the bike unloaded and I wiped the travel dirt off and we took a short ride through part of Custer State Park. On the ride we saw a small herd of Buffalo, another of Antelope and stopped next to a Prairie Dog town and watched them for a while. Those little rats make a lot of noise and are fun to watch.

Our plans for the next 2 weeks are pretty loose. We have already seen all the popular sites here when we visited five years ago so this trip we may just do some of the "lesser known" sites. Of course we are going to do a lot of riding since the roads and scenery are some of the best. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 26, 2010

So what time is it??

Before leaving Ron and Terri last night we all agreed to be ready to roll at 8:00 am. Rudee takes care of our alarm clock (she uses her cell phone) and she set it for 6:45 to give us time for showers and to get the rig ready for the highway. One thing we never anticipated about being fulltimers and traveling is the changes in time zones and the effect it has on you. Maybe other fulltimers don't have this problem because they are retired and can be less structured? Anyway, she started getting ready for the day after her phone went off. I was already up and having coffee when she got up and told me I had better get moving. After our showers I asked her what her hurry was since it was only 6:45. She then looked at her phone and realized she had missed a call. Our son, Matthew, had called when he got off his night shift at 7:00 am eastern time and we were in the central time zone (6:00 am) and Rudee thought it was her alarm :-).
She was mad the whole day (not really) about missing her "extra" 45 minutes of sleep :-).

Ron was out walking their little dog Daisy when I came out around 7:00. He came over and told me they too had some clock trouble. They use an atomic clock for their alarm and I guess it sets itself to changing time zones. Well it had not gotten the "signal" to change and was still on eastern time when they went to bed. Terri compensated for the hour difference and set the alarm. I guess sometime during the night the clock "woke up" and reset itself for central time so their alarm was an hour early too. :-)
Since we had an early start we drove over to the Pilot Truck Stop and fueled up. They had a nice restaurant inside so we had a nice hot breakfast as well.

Heading west on I-90 we stopped at Al's Oasis near Chamberlain S.D. There was plenty of parking for big rigs and they have a restaurant, large gift shop and a grocery store all hooked together. A lot of times when we stop our rig draws some attention. This time was no different and a truck driver approached me. He wanted to look things over since he also had a Montana, a Harley and owned his Kenworth that he was using to make a living with. His wife was with him and we spent a little while explaining things to them. He was really excited to see that it really is possible to "take it with you".
Our big purchase at Al's was a bag of grapes to snack on in the truck. I think Ron and Terri just browsed.

Heading west again we set the cruise control and settled in. When traveling like this I usually feel comfortable driving between 60-65 MPH. The speed limit in South Dakota is 75 on the interstate but I don't feel safe towing at anywhere near that speed. Ron and I talked some back and forth on the CB. I have always had CB radios in my tow vehicles and I keep them on channel 19, the "truckers channel" and here is why. I passed a truck and flipped on my signal to move back into the right lane. The trucker called me on the CB and told me the turn signals on the Montana were not working. He could see the one on the truck flashing and knew I had turned it on but had a problem. With him following me I did a "light check"over the CB, no turns or brake lights but had running lights ..... hmmmm, better check this out.

We ended up getting off at the next exit we found with a truck stop a few miles up the road. Ron went to wait in line for fuel while I checked my lights. The plug in from the trailer to the truck seemed a little loose so I unplugged it and plugged it back in and had Rudee run through the lights for me. Everything was working! Looks like the plug was just vibrating loose a little and not making a good connection. I guess they call these trucks "freight-shakers" for a reason. :-).

Back on the road with Ron leading we went about a mile when he called me on the radio and said his heat gauge was in the red and he was pulling over. That doesn't sound good. We got off the highway as far as we could onto the berm and when I walked up to Ron's truck I could see the antifreeze running out onto the ground. Not good at all!
Ron had the hood up and we could see the problem. The upper radiator hose clamp had failed and the hose was leaking. All we needed was a hose clamp that fit and refill the coolant.
I went back to our rig and pulled out my tool box. I knew I had a couple of small hose clamps but thought they were too small. I opened the tool box and right on top was the correct size clamp! I grabbed it and some hand tools and Ron and I had it on in a couple of minutes. He had a gallon of anti freeze and we supplemented that with water from our rig and were back on the road in about 15 minutes. Another crisis handled.

The rest if trip was pretty uneventful. We started seeing the Black Hills in the distance and knew we were getting close and were ready to be parked and relaxing.
To get to the campground we are staying at we had to go through Hill City S.D. and then turn in Custer S.D. We took US 16 which is a nice 4 lane road that winds through the hills (they call them hills but they look like mountains to me, LOL). As we were coming into Hill City we heard a familiar voice on the CB. Niles and Deb were on their bike and had ridden out to meet us! We followed them the rest of the way the campground.

We are now settled into site #19 at Custers Gulch Campground. The park is really nice and our site is very large. I think we are going to like it here :-). I'll add some photos soon and of course, I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

road trip day #2

I was up again really, really early, like 4am early :-o
I'm not sure why I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, maybe just keyed up from all the excitement happening getting ready for this trip or maybe it's the anticipation of the trip itself. Whatever it is, Rudee hopes I get it worked out soon. She is tired of me waking her up so before the sun comes up! :-).
I drank some coffee and surfed the web a little bit. The weatherman on TV was talking about storms in Davenport which was only 40 miles or so North of us. I couldn't see any lightning and hoped they would clear out before we headed that way.
It finally got light enough for me to see outside and, by the looks of the cloud cover, the storm was coming our way. Sure enough about 30 minutes before we were set to leave the rains came.
Luckily the worst of the rain was over pretty quickly and it was only raining lightly when I rolled up the hose and electric cord.
The space we were in was a little tight getting out of. There was a large Class A diesel pusher motor home parked next to us. He had parked so the nose of the motor home was at the absolute end of his site. With the way the sites were angled to the road this caused his very large mirror to be sticking out into the road. I knew I could miss the motor home but that mirror just looked like it wanted to reach and grab any unsuspecting rig that got too close.
With Rudee's standing outside to help watch, "sorry Dear, I know it's raining but you said you don't want to drive the big rig :-)", I slowly moved out of our site and made the turn on the road. I was able to miss the mirror by just a few inches but a miss is a miss and we were on our way.

We drove in light rain for about the first 100 miles before it finally quit and we were able to turn off the windshield wipers.
The traffic was fairly light and we made good time. We took I-80 in Iowa to I-380/US 218 north through Cedar Rapids. We turned back west on US 18 and took it a short way to I-35 which took us North into Minnesota where we jumped on I-90 west.
We made the best of our stops and combined lunch and fuel at a truck stop in Clear Lake Iowa. For you oldies fans, this was where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Booper had their last concerts. They got on a small plane in very cold, snowy weather and crashed just after taking off killing all aboard.
We did make it to Mitchell South Dakota (around 6:30pm) and are staying at RonDee's Campground ($22/night, Escapeess discount) which is really just the back gravel parking lot for the Days Inn. There do have full hook ups including cable TV and there are a few trees so it's not as bad as you might imagine. We all walked over to a Perkins Restaurant nearby and had dinner since it was getting late and nobody wanted to cook. We had a nice relaxing time. Once we got back to the 5er I was ready for bed. It had been a loooooooong day!

Today we are heading for Custer which is about 350 miles. We should be there sometime this afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

road trip 2010 Day 1

Rudee got off work at 1:30 and after signing off she started tearing down her work station for travel. Her work computer has 2 large flat screen monitors that travel, along with our living room TV, on our bed.
While she was doing that I was busy rolling up cords and hoses, raising jacks and hooking on.
We pulled out of the KOA right at 2pm. Rudee called Ron and Terri who were parked at the McDonalds just up the road waiting on us. They were finished eating and by the time we got to the interstate they were turning onto the ramp right in front of us. Perfect timing!

Rod led the way and we headed west on I-74. Traffic was light until we hit Danville Illinois and didn't seem to let up the rest of the way. We went through a couple of construction sites that slowed us down to a crawl but thankfully they were short.

We made a stop in an Illinois rest park because Rudee fixed me a huge glass of iced tea to drink on the trip and of course I drank it all and then .......... well you get the picture. :-)

Ron also needed to fill up with gas. He tows with a Ford V-10 truck and only got 140 miles before his low fuel light came on, not sure if he was totally full when we left or not but we'll need to keep an out for fuel stops when we need a break instead of just stopping at rest parks like we usually do. I guess I get spoiled with the Freightliner's 280 gallon diesel tanks. We started the trip with 3/4 showing on the fuel gauge and will probably not top back off until we reach Rapid City.

We are parked at the Galesburg East Best Holiday Trav-L-Park in Knoxville Illinois. We ran into a rain shower about 5 miles from our exit but it passed quickly and the rain stopped while we were parking the rigs.
The park is not bad but the female 1/2 of the owners was apparently having a bad day. Rudee had called them about an hour before we got there to make sure they had sites available and the sites were long enough to accommodate us. She talked to the gals husband and he assured us all was fine. The first thing she said to me when I walked in to register was that we should have given them our name when we called. She was not nice about it at all, and was just being a grouch about everything, not sure what her day had been like before we got there but it must have been bad. She complained when I didn't know my license plate number and then made a big deal about not being able to park us next to each other. Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.
"Hey lady, I'm on vacation and you are NOT going to ruin my day" :-).

Today will be a big travel day. We are heading north west through Cedar Falls up into Minnesota before turning west on I-90. We are shooting for Mitchell South Dakota and R&R Campground for the night. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 23, 2010

not rolling yet

I mentioned in yesterdays post that we are slowly getting things ready to hit the road for a couple of weeks. This morning I woke up early, "Oh dark thirty" as Rudee likes to call it, and was running the pre-trip check list over in my head. I have been doing what I can to the outside of the rig while Rudee has been inside buttoning things up. There are just some things you can't do until it's time to go since you still have to live in your rig.
When you are parked for a while it seems like things get "spread out" even though there is only so much space inside our little home. We have been trying to get things back into their place but it seems like as soon as we put something away for travel we have to get it back out to use it again. Oh well, guess I'm just anxious to hit the road.
I was thinking back to the last time we moved and realized it was Memorial Day week end, almost 2 months ago, since we rolled the 5er out of the KOA!

We both have to work today. Rudee is getting off around 2pm and I am hoping to be able to get away shortly afterwards. I volunteered to do some computer work for my boss and spent all day yesterday getting the majority of it done. I figured I would rather work here at home than end up having to chase inspections down all over the state. My hope was to get everything done by noon Friday so we could finish packing up and sneak out of town :-). I don't want to jinx it but it's looking like it may work out, so far.
Ron and Terri Remley are our travel partners this trip. They have a very nice Raptor 5th wheel toy hauler that Ron has been doing some remodeling on. He is fixing up the garage area so it can be used as living space when they are parked. He was describing the changes he made and I am looking forward to seeing it in person.

Our goal for traveling today is only 200 miles or so. We have a campground picked out in Knoxville Illinois that is right off the interstate and has large enough pull through sites to accommodate us. Saturday will be the longest driving day when we will head for Mitchell South Dakota, about 550 miles. We should arrive in Custer Sunday afternoon in time to take a bike ride to dinner. :-)

Yesterday was our anniversary. Rudee and I have been married for 32 years. Wow, those years sure did fly by fast! We have been so busy working and getting things ready for our trip we didn't make any plans to celebrate. I guess our trip is our anniversary present this year, should be a great way to celebrate don't ya think? I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

week is flying by

Wow, our heads are spinning. This week is flying by and our vacation is coming up fast. I hope we're ready? :-).
Last Saturday we rode in a charity poker run. We met up with Mike and Penny Kadinger for breakfast and they followed us over to Old Mill Run Campground in Thorntown where the ride was originating. Steve and Trish have a camper parked there and were waiting for us when we got there.
We all registered, picked up our t-shirts, door prize tickets, map and drew our first cards. The money raised all goes to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. Poker runs are pretty fun. They have a route planned out with stops along the way. You pick a card at each stop trying to build the best hand you can.
The first stop was a gas station about 20 miles away. No one in our group seemed to be having any luck on the first 2 draws and our hands didn't look too promising.

We made a stop for lunch on our way to the next stop which was also at a gas station. So far I had 3 cards, a 4 of spades, Queen of Spades and a 6 of diamonds ........ not going to set the world on fire with those :-(. Rudee's hand was as bad as mine and none of the others in our group even had a pair.
Back at the campground we checked in and drew our final 2 cards. Rudee finally paired up with Jacks but we figured (correctly) that others would have better cards.
They had a small meal and passed out the prizes. The winning hand was 3 of kind (10's) while 2nd and 3rd place each had 2 pair.
We did win some door prizes though. I got a nice hat and Rudee got 2 gift cards to the video store.
The best part of it all was spending the day with friends and helping out Riley Hospital.

Sunday was our youngest grand daughter's 4th birthday and Amanda invited us to their house for a party. Ryan cooked burgers on the grille and we all pitched in a dish. We had a great time watching Olivia open her presents and of course we had the traditional cake and ice cream too.
This is our last week of work before vacation. We are leaving Friday and caravaning with Ron and Terri Remley to Custer South Dakota. Niles and Deb left last Saturday, they arrived safely and report that the campground is great and told us to hurry our butts up :-).
So far we have slowly been getting things ready to roll. I have the awning, rug and chairs all put away. Rudee and I even washed the Freightliner before loading the Harley. I'm kind of ashamed to say that there was green mold on the sides of my truck! Yikes! I need to travel more!
I am hoping we can get some connectivity while we are away so I can post to the blog some. I guess next time you hear from me we will be "on the road". I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

catching up

Things have been non-stop here at our little "home on the range". Saturday we rode the bike over to Plainfield to try and get some service work done at the Harley dealer. Can you believe it's already time for the 5,000 mile service work?
The dealership does not make any appointments for Friday or Saturday but leaves the whole day open for first come first served ride up appointments. We showed up 10 minutes after they had opened and found out we would be bike #11 in line. They figured it would be afternoon before it would be done. Rats! We decided against being without wheels for that long and will just get the service done another time.
We called Rob and Jany Runion and they joined up for a day of riding. We picked them up and rode North to Monticello Indiana where we walked the boardwalk of the Indiana Beach amusement park. They do not charge to get into the park but to ride the rides you have to purchase an arm band. We decided to just watch all the other dare devils on the rides :-).
Peru Indiana was our next stop where we had a nice supper at The Siding Restaurant. Stephanie Mockler was racing her mini-sprint car at the Peru Raceway and we wanted to go and root her on.
Stephanie is the daughter of fellow motorcycle rider and good friend Linda Mockler. To meet Stephanie away from the track you would never guess she was a race car driver. She has the look of a cheerleader until she gets behind the wheel of that race car then she turns into a tiger. It's obvious she doesn't like following anyone, that girl wants to be in front!
The races were exciting and Stephanie was a hard charger but luck wasn't hers tonight. She got hit from behind and spun out virtually eliminating her from contention. She finished in 8th place, out of the money :-(.
We made it home shortly after midnight and went straight to bed.

Sunday we slept in a little later than normal and really had a hard time getting fired up to do anything.
I had made arrangements with my son in law Ryan to help me do some maintenance on the Freightliner. Ryan works at the local Co-Op field office and they have a large work shop where we can pull the truck inside and use their tools if we need them.
I met Ryan at the shop and while he changed the oil I worked on the motorcycle ramp. Last time I used the ramp I noticed a problem with the winch. There is a large plastic wheel that the winch cable wraps around. The wheel acts as a guide and is supposed to turn when the cable is moving over it and it was not turning anymore. The bolt that holds the wheel on was bent so I took it all apart and installed a bigger, heavier bolt which should not bend.
I also recharged the air conditioning system with Freon. I have to add a couple of cans about every other year to keep things cool. I guess there is a slow leak somewhere but right now it's easier to just recharge it instead of paying someone a bunch of $$ to try and find the leak and then fix it.
We are getting the truck ready for our next trip.
What?? Another trip you ask?
Yep, this time we are loading up the entire traveling circus and hitting the road for South Dakota. I wish I could say we were starting to travel for good but I cant. We are taking a 2 week vacation, doing some sight seeing and lots of riding but alas, we still have these pesky jobs that we'll have to report back to :-(.
We still have this week end to prepare and all of next week to work. We plan on leaving as soon as we can on Friday afternoon/evening. We'll drive until we get tired and find a campground for the night. Saturday will be the big travel day and are shooting to be in Eastern South Dakota before stopping. That will leave us with a leisurely drive Sunday giving us plenty of time to get everything set up and the bike unloaded before it gets late.
We are both looking forward to getting away from our jobs for awhile. I think we are both ready to take a permanent break from them but we still have some bills to get rid of.
I keep telling myself it will happen soon but there is a guy in my head yelling "now, now. I want it now!!"
Patience has never been my strong suit :-). I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

long, long weekend

I had a frustrating start to the week last week. My printer has not been working for several weeks and they can't seem to be able to ship me a new one because they are all on back order. Monday my work cell phone took a dump. I made the necessary calls to get a new one and was told it would be sent to me overnight and should be here Tuesday. Well Tuesday arrived and I got an email that the phone was delayed (surprise, surprise!!) and would not be here until Thursday. I already had Thursday and Friday off so I called my boss and took Wednesday off as well since I really couldn't do much and my equipment was falling apart around me.

Our plan was to ride the bike to Des Moines Iowa to attend Wing Ding which is the national GWRRA rally. We were traveling with 2 other bikes and our plan was to leave Wednesday afternoon. We met up with Fishers and Runions at the Mc Donalds parking lot here in Crawfordsville about 2pm and were on our way. The weather was great and the traffic was light. We had a nice ride to Peoria Illinois where we had reservations at the Paradice Casino Hotel. We checked in around 6:00 pm and immediately headed for the casino to eat dinner in the buffet. The food was just OK but we had a nice time sitting at the table swapping lies.
We all went into the casino and tried our luck. I did OK and Rudee and I came out $10 ahead.

Thursday morning we headed out onto the interstate again. The weather cooperated again and we had sunshine and comfortable temperatures. The Harley did great on the highway and we were very comfortable riding the longer distances and were pulling into our motel in Des Moines before we were really ready to stop.
We stayed at a very nice Holiday Inn that was about 4 miles from the convention center where the rally was taking place. As soon as we got checked in and unpacked we rode downtown and found the rally. Even though it was late afternoon we decided to go ahead and register and start walking through the rows and rows of vendors.
This rally is the biggest of all the GWRRA rallies and there were over 100 vendors here all set up in an air conditioned building.
We only shopped for about an hour but I bought a new open face helmet. Rudee wants to stick with the current flip face helmets we have or I would have gotten her one too. The flip face helmets are heavy and get hot in the warmer months. Since we got a helmet headset when we bought the Harley I put it in the new helmet so now I have a choice of flip face or the lighter open face.
Friday was our official "rally day". We arrived at 9am when the doors opened and didn't leave until they were almost ready to close. I made a few small purchases and as we were about to leave found a small booth that was selling prescription sunglasses. I stopped and talked to them awhile and ended up ordering a pair. They used a measuring device on my current glasses to get the prescription and they will order the lenses and put them in the frames I picked out then ship them to me. I will finally be able to wear some decent sunglasses and actually read my gauges and the GPS!
Friday evening we went to a local high school where they had several motorcycle drill teams competing. They were all very talented riders and it was fun to watch.
The high School was next to a park where they had a carnival set up for the locals to celebrate the 4th of July. We took the time to walk through the midway and Rudee and I shared an ice cream cone while we watched all the families enjoying the start to their holiday week end.
Saturday morning we checked out of the motel and started our trip home with Rob and Jany Runion (Fishers had to leave Friday to get back home). Since we didn't have to be home until Monday evening we decided to take stay off the interstates and take a more leisurely route.
Our first stop was in Knoxville Iowa at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum on the grounds of the Knoxville Speedway. We were their first customers of the day and if you are a race fan like I am the $6.00 admission was well worth it.
They have several cars and lots of memorabilia on display and we enjoyed spending time looking everything over. They invited us to stay for the races that were being held that evening but we had already made a reservation in Quincy Illinois for the night and decided we should keep on riding.
On the way to Quincy our route just happened to go by another river boat casino and of course we stopped in to play a little. We spent about an hour playing the slots but our good luck from earlier in the week had worn off :-( and we didn't win anything.
Rob called his Dad who used to work around Quincy and he recommended a restaurant to us that overlooked the river. We arrived at the Pier Restaurant and got a nice table overlooking the Mississippi right as the sun was starting to set. We all enjoyed our various dinners. Rudee and I had a seafood casserole that was quite good and Jany had a steak that look yummy. Rob decided to have a shrimp appetizer dish for his meal.
Back at the motel we all spent some time in their hot tub before turning in for the night.
Sunday morning we were all going to meet up in the lobby for breakfast but Jany called and told us that Rob had been sick all night. I guess the shrimp he had for supper didn't stick around with him too long.
We ended up spending most of the morning hanging around the motel letting Rob get some rest. He emerged from their room around 11:00 and said he was feeling better so we hit the road again.
Our next stop was just a short ride to Springfield Illinois. We had reservations at a Hilton Hotel which ended up being an extremely nice 26 story hotel in the heart of downtown. We were on the 15th floor and had a great view out of our window where we enjoyed watching fireworks later that night.
Rob was not feeling well again so we left him to rest in their room and Rudee and I went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. The museum was interesting and had some neat memorabilia from the Lincoln's time in the white house. We spent about an hour and a half there before we got a call from Jany that Rob was up and ready to go again so we met up with them and went to the Lincoln home site.
The entire neighborhood where the Lincoln's lived is a National Historic Site and has been restored to look like it did back in the 1850's. There is a visitors center that was just closing when we got there but that didn't stop us from enjoying a walk through the streets checking out the houses.
We also took a short ride checking out the streets of Springfield before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Monday Rob was back to his old self but he was in no hurry to eat shrimp again :-).
We followed US 36 east all the way back into Indiana arriving home about 3pm.
We both enjoyed our short trip and were glad that we and our friends all got home safe.
No big plans this week except to try and catch up with work that we missed by being off. I'm sure we'll squeeze in a ride or two though. I'll keep you posted.