05 Chicago – Epilogue

US Map with RouteTips

  1. Prepare for cold weather including a good sleeping bag and tent with rain fly.
  2. Watch out for other drivers. Some of them are crazy.
  • Total Miles = 4,332
  • Gallons of Gas = 108.3
  • Total States = 13
  • New States = 7

Highlights

  • Red Iguana and brews at pool side with Vic
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • A mocha the next morning after freezing at Walton Creek “Camp”ground
  • Italian sandwiches and D’Tour in Chicago with JC
  • The Great River Road
  • Hanging with the Dresser Guys in Prairie Du Chien
  • Beating the storm into Sioux Falls, SD
  • Angostura State Rec. Area in the evening on a point over looking the lake with grazing deer below us
  • Coffee at the Sugar Shack
  • Lake Stop in Wyoming
  • Good Times Campground in Drummond, MT

Lowlights

  • A motorcycle wreck where the bike was nearly unrecognizeable on US 40 in Colorado
  • Freezing in the Rockies at Walton Creek “Camp”ground
  • Wounded Knee Memorial

Thoughts

Tent camping keeps things cheap but it makes for more fatigue during the ride. Personally I like to spend every other day or so roughing it, but, It can be exhausting. This is especially true when temperatures drop and you are not prepared (my bad) or when temps are in the 90’s and above with high humidity.

4/18/15 Update

Camping has become easier as we learned some tricks from backpackers and other riders. We now find camping enjoyable, however we pick and choose when and where. If it is going to be wet and cold, we look for a motel. We have camped in unexpected downpours, but avoid setting up camp in the rain. It’s also nice to get cleaned up in a motel after several days of camping or a long and especially difficult day.

05 Chicago – Day 14

Last Day

Norm was up before me again, maybe it’s something related to Semper Fi vs. the Nav experience. We broke camp, loaded up and were off about 0800.

We entered Missoula about 0900. I took the first damned exit and we ended up traveling through town for several miles until we found a restaurant with gas. We had breakfast in Missoula at the Crossroads Travel Center. I had my last biscuits and gravy with eggs and hash browns. It was excellent but way too much. I planned to put off seeing my doctor for a month or two while my cholesterol pills kicked in.

Outside Missoula we passed through a smoke filled valley where fire was still burning near I-90. Most of it had burned off into the hills but you could still see some flames here and there close by. Traffic was one lane each way as there were still some crews working on the fire near the freeway.

After stopping in St. Regis for gas we encountered another fire going into Coeur d’Alene, ID. It wasn’t near the road or as big as the one outside of Missoula but you could definitely smell it and see large plumes of smoke.

After another gas stop in Post Falls we drove on. It was pretty darned hot and my butt was aching severely. Norm wanted to press on to Ritzville before stopping which was about 84 miles. I couldn’t make it and pulled over for a stretch at the Sprague turn off. We parked near the freeway entrance at a big gravel pit. After some water and stretching we continued on and gassed up in Ritzville.

Sprague, WA

Our last stop of the trip was at the SR 26 turn off where we pulled into the shade of the Mini-mart. We drank some water and, before hitting the freeway again, shook hands.

Norm was in the lead as we entered the Tri-Cities. He took the US 395 exit from I-182 to Kennewick as I rolled on to West Richland. We were home.

Note:

Total miles = 4545

Connell Forrest

If anyone has a photo of the tree which was called the Connell Forrest I would like a copy. Contact me at email.

Click for Photo Gallery Days 9-14

05 Chicago – Day 13

Testicle Festival

The last couple of mornings after Wisconsin had required sweatshirts under our riding jackets. This morning it was already warm. With the sky was clear the day would only be getting warmer so we went without.

Our first two stops were Sheridan and Billings, MT. Billings had a Flying J which offered pay-as-you-go wireless. To get service you access the internet via your browser and a web page automatically pops up asking you to enter account info and a credit card number. I didn’t bother but if I had needed to update a blog this would have been fairly painless.

While testing my PDA access just outside the door of the mini-mart a biker couple stopped and asked the typical, “Where ya heading?” I told them we were going west. The lady asked if we were going to the “Testicle Festival”. I had heard the term before but didn’t know any details. She was happy to give an avid description and even pantomime some of the sordid details.

Buffalo statue in Sheridan, Wy

The Testicle Festival: The festival is held in Clinton, MT which is about 20 miles east of Missoula. Click here for more details.

In Big Timber we stopped for gas and a pizza at Prospectors. The food was good and plentiful. We departed about 1330 and pulled into Bozeman about an hour later. We met Jim and Debbie in the only shade provided at the gas station. They were personable folks on their way to Sturgis. They were also riding a Fatboy so we compared notes.He had some nice saddle bags and told me they had been custom made by D & F Leathers (Duane and Fumiko Peterson) in Scottlake, Washington. I had been looking at saddle bags for sometime and after the Mountain Home KOA my rear disk brake rotor had been chaffing my throw overs and I’ll need new ones.

They warned us about the Missoula fire. They had been stuck on the road until late the night before in stop and go traffic. The road was down to one lane due to the fire being at the freeway.

The time changed for us again from Mountain to Pacific after crossing the Continental Divide just out of Butte, MT.

Good Time Camping and RV Park

Good Times Camp GroundWe pulled into Drummund about 1745, gassed up. Norm noticed a sign made on a computer taped to one of the pump poles and inside the gas station advertising for a school position. We figured it’s a pretty small district if they advertise at the gas station.

We then looked for a liquor store. We drove around a bit but couldn’t find one. At the local IGA store we got some snacks and asked if there was a liquor store in town. One of the check-out ladies said, “Yes, right next door, but it’s closed.” She gave it a second thought then told us to check the tavern on the same corner, Swede’s Corner, and ask in there. She thought the owner would be there and open up for us. We did just that. As we entered the tavern the bartender asked if he could help us. We told him we were looking for a pint of whiskey and rum. He looked at the lady at the end of the bar and she told us she’d open up for us. We walked next door to the Liquor & Video Express & Flower Shop and bought a couple of pints. I’ll never understand how they came up with that combination of goods to sell. Good people though.

Good Times in the morningWe went back to the grocery and picked up some mixers. While there I asked about the campground indicated by a sign across the road on Old US Highway 10a. They didn’t know about it other than it was “rustic”. We had dealt with rustic before so asked if they could suggest a better place. They suggested the Good Time Camping and RV Park located west of town on the frontage road.

We found Good Times (literally and figuratively) without problem. The campground is new so the buildings, heads, and office are in good shape. There’s one tent site where they put everyone with one communal fire pit. We were the only tent campers though so had no problem finding a space.

Anna, the owner, and her daughter Lori were exceptionally pleasant. They don’t offer much at the office in the way of food or beverages, however, if you ask for something they’ll do everything they can to help.

There is a small lake at the edge of the campgrounds but we didn’t spend any time there. We were intent on setting up the tents and by then day was giving in to evening. It was our last night out and we enjoyed it sitting at the picnic table watching the sun dip below the Bitterroot Mountains and telling each other what a great trip it had been, what good a rider the other was, and reliving some of the experiences. The compliment fest never got to, “I love you man,” but I think we were each regrettful the trip was almost over.

Good Times in the morning

Good Times Camping and RV Park Review

Interesting blog by bicyclist who also stayed at Good Times

Notes:

Butte, MT: Found 3 wireless APs near Day’s Inn. One was the Day’s Inn plus two others detected with unencrypted access.

Flying J Wireless access cost (Billings, MT.):

      • $4.95/day
      • 24.98/month
      • 199.95/year.

 

 
 

05 Chicago – Day 12 (cont.)

Deadwood

Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial from US-385

We waited for the bikes to die down then got back on 385 North. Norm had asked me if a person could see the Crazy Horse Memorial from the road. I didn’t know because we had come from the other direction last year and didn’t see it from the road. It turns out you get a great view from the road going north.We entered Deadwood about noon, parked the bikes in the common lot at the heart of town, and then walked around. I had been through Deadwood last year but we didn’t stop. Deadwood is really a gambling town which fits its history. There wasn’t much in the way of souvenirs or t-shirts. I ended up buying a Sturgis pin and patch which seemed bogus because, due to Norm’s fear of large crowds and chaos, we wouldn’t be visiting Sturgis proper.

Downtown Deadwood
Downtown Deadwood

Back in Sioux Falls I had found a good Deadwood patch. Norm told me to get it then because I might not find another one later. I thought he was absolutely wrong. With all the bikes I knew would be in Deadwood they would have to have some good patches/pins. Wrong.

Another downtown Deadwood
Downtown Deadwood

We had a beer in one of the local bars then found our bikes again and followed 385 north to Spearfish, SD. I was leading and missed both Spearfish exits. I was getting low on gas but made it to Beulah, WY and gassed up there. We were bucking a good headwind after Gillette so we pulled over in Rozelle so Norm could clear his head. I think he was getting a little rummy so good call by him.

 

The Lake Stop

Me finding wireless at the Lake Stop
Lake Stop Lodge w/me in front checking for wireless

I was in the lead again and missed the Buffalo exit. I was low on gas again so I just took the next exit that had gas. We ended up at Lakestop Resort at Lake De Smet.Norm was having trouble staying focused so we decided to call it a day. The resort had a decent motel for a good price. It’s run by Pete and his wife, Bambi. They moved from Pennsylvania where he worked in the IT industry. Now he’s out in the middle of near-no-where and enjoying himself. Bambi takes care of the café, cooking, and kids while Pete takes care of maintenance and business planning.

Lake Spot facing east toward Lake De Smet
Lake De Smet in the background

Before meeting Pete, Norm had asked  me if I thought they had wireless at the motel. I figured there was little to no chance. Well, shock! That’s me at right using my PDA to test the wireless. It was slow but they had it.

Update: 4/18/15

Although the annual three-day Memorial week end fishing derby still takes place at Lake De Smet, Lake Spot Motel is no longer listed in any search I did.

05 Sturgis – Day 12

The Sugar Shack

I woke about 0730. Norm was already up. We broke camp then rode to the park rest rooms and took wash clothe baths. They had showers but we were both anxious to get going. We couldn’t think of anyone who would care about body odor anyway.I had noticed some squeaking on my right floor board so tightened it.

Somewhere between yesterday and today we gained an hour by entering Mountain Time.

We stopped at the junction of US 385 and SR 79 gas. We then drove into Hot Springs and stopped for breakfast at the Family Restaurant. It’s located on the left at the first stop light. I had my favorite biscuits and gravy again. It’ll be one of the last times I get to have it. We’ve only got two more days on the road and I’ve got a doctor’s appointment soon after I return. I’ll be lucky if my doctor doesn’t just shoot me when he tests my cholesterol.

When we were back on the road after lunch I remembered a great hamburger joint on US 385 called Sugar Shack. Tom, Aaron and I had burgers there last year and they were excellent. It was still too soon for more food, but I still wanted to stop for ‘membrance anyway. When we approached the Sugar Shack Norm was in the lead so I tried getting his attention by honking and turn signaling. He was side tracked by all the bikes going in the opposite direction, coming from behind, and in front of us. Even though it was the Friday before Bike Week there were a lot of motocycles on the road and, of course, they were loud.

Sugar Shack
Me next to Norm’s Trumpet in fore ground

I turned off anyway figuring he’d notice I wasn’t behind him sooner or later. I parked the bike along side the road, but away from other bikes. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened to be where I stopped. I then got some coffee. I was enjoying sipping the coffee, smoking a cigar, and watching the bikes when Norm returned. Norm asked if I shouldn’t park it in one of the lines already started. I replied, “Nah, just park anywhere.” Norm parked his Triumph next to two Hogs and in no time the they left. More Hogs showed up and parked next to mine. I think Norm was feeling left out since it appeared no one wanted to park next to him. I told him, “It’s a perfect example of ‘Think Different’,” and suggested Norm get a an Apple sticker for his bike, especially since he was an Apple computer guy. Norm’s

05 Chicago – Day 11 (cont.)

Wounded Knee

We moved on through the farm land of South Dakota until we reached our day’s objective; the Wounded Knee Memorial. It’s quite a ways off the beaten path but I figured it would be a significant attraction considering the history of the place. It isn’t. It’s a pretty run down place with a few signs marking and describing occurrences during the Wounded Knee Massacre in December, 1890. There are a couple of structures made from weathered wood with some sort of plant fronds for roofs with a few Native Americans making trinkets for the touristas. I purchased a baby wrist band for my soon to be born grandchild but the craft work was very expensive considering the quality.

There was a gift shop/museum nearby but it looked a little worse for wear. It’s under-lit and gloomy inside with the wall covered by history, poems, and quotes of AIM leaders. We were the only ones in the place other than a young girl who was probably the proprietor. The photos were interesting and the common ones you would find in any history book regarding Chief Big Foot and the slaughter. They did have an interesting t-shirt for sale which I would like have purchased but they only had a couple of smalls. The caption and picture on the t-shirt are shown at right. I could see why we didn’t find a flock of touristas with kids in tow. Too many embarrassing questions to answer and the writings on the wall were a bit threatening for most white folks’ taste.

After that we visited the burial site of the massacred Indians. It’s up a hill with rutted-dirt roads leading to the top. It was no problem for Norm getting to the top but I had to keep the Hog moving so hit the crest a little fast. Norm commented he was surprised I had been so aggressive getting to the top. I told him, “I was trying to catch some air.” He just looked at me for a moment. I at least had him wondering.

 

The grave site contains a mass grave and marker plus more recent graves. Several people have been buried in the Wounded Knee cemetery since 1890. Some of it was decently groomed but much of it was over grown.

I still think about this place as I go through my daily life several weeks after being there. The condition of the memorial seems to be analogous to the conditions of Indian life. I hear people say, “Give them their casinos,” as if this makes everything right. I think it’s just a way of ignoring what’s really going on so that we feel better about the situation and don’t have to think about it. How can we as a nation defend civil rights in other countries when we still haven’t solved our own Indian problem?

On the way to Wounded Knee we saw lots of
sunflower fields. South Dakota is second in the
nation in sunflower seed production.

Wounded Knee Memorial from cemetery
Wounded Knee mass grave
Mass grave marker with
gift shop/museum in back ground

Pine Ridge

After Wounded Knee we reached Pine Ridge about 1715 and gassed up. Here was where I discovered why Norm was adamant about not driving through Sturgis. We pulled into town and found a spot to gas up. The place was pretty wild with lots of people, cars, trucks, and vans revving their engines, honking, people yelling, etc. It was Pow Wow day on the res. Norm was nervous and kept saying, “Let’s go. I gotta get out of here.” He convinced me that crowds really do make him nervous.

 Angostura SRA SD

We stayed the night at Angostura SRA arriving about 2100. A young guy was tending the check in desk. He gave me the form to fill out. When I came to the “Vehicle license number” I asked, “Do we really need a number or can I just write in Harley and Triumph?” Neither Norm or I could ever remember our license numbers so this had worked at the motels we stayed in, but, apparently not in the state parks of South Dakota. The kid politely answered, “We need a number.” I then asked, “Can I write in any number or does it actually have to be our license numbers?” He apologetically told me he needed the real numbers. As I walked out the door to read the bike license plates I said, “Damned bureaucrats!”

Fortunately the young guy found it humorous and laughed along with Norm. We got a camping spot on a bluff overlooking the lake. After setting up camp we mixed our drinks and watched the sunset behind the mountains which were separated from us by the lake. We watched hawks, a deer near the lake’s edge, boats, and the stars come out. The Milky Way divided the sky.

05 Sturgis – Day 11

S&W .50 Magnum

After leaving Sioux Falls we stopped in Mitchell, SD to visit Cabela’s Sports Store. Having been out of hunting and fishing for many years I had not heard of Cabela’s. There are about 20 of these stores around the nation. They are a huge sports equipment store. The one in Mitchell also has several huge outdoor diorama type displays with full size bears, elk, deer, moose, etc. They’ve also got some aquariums with several species of fish found in the U.S. We wondered around the store for about an hour mostly looking at the displays.

We had apparently driven by a few other Cabelas’ on our trip. They were located in Kearney, NE, Owatonna, MN, Lehi, UT, Prairie Du Chien, WI, and Sidney, NE, which were all less than 50 miles out of our way.

Some interesting items we found were the .50 caliber revolvers. These pistols are huge. They dwarf Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum. I asked the sales clerk what people would use them for. He replied, “To break your hand.” I suppose they might be used in the wilds where you might run into bear but these guns would not be pleasant to shoot.

GPS

After Cabela’s we caught SR 37 south to SR 44 and headed west on the back roads. It’s a pretty good two lane with little traffic and lots of farms. It’s still pretty flat, a bit boring, and not as fast as I-90 but a good change of pace. Plus, we wanted to visit Wounded Knee, SD.

We both had GPSs. Norm had his Garmin handheld mounted on his handlebar. Mine was borrowed so stayed in the tank bag most of the time. I had wondered how significant the GPSs would be in traveling. There were a few times the GPS came in handy. After leaving Cabela’s it was handy in that I took a right onto a two lane county road when we should have taken a left then a right onto SR 37. We would have ended up in the same place but who knows? That road could have petered out and we would have had to back track.

The jury is still out on GPS as a necessity for me. We used the GPS about four times on the trip where we actually saved ourselves some time or better located where we were. Mostly we used maps with GPS verification. There were a couple of times that Norm took us the wrong way using the GPS. But, hey, you can read a map wrong too. I guess I’m just not convinced it’s worth the $300. Are they crucial? No. Are they handy? Very.

Farmers

We stopped in Platte, SD about 1130 for gas and lunch at Smitty’s. The door said Betty’s but the sign said Smitty’s. Confusing. Either way, the burgers were old fashioned and good.

We noticed a lot of farmer types hanging out. Each was carrying some sort of pliers in a leather holster. Norm and I discussed what they might be used for and why it was such an important tool that everyone was carrying them in a holster. I asked the waitress and she replied, “Honey, a farmer can fix anything with a pair of pliers.”

Bees

After Platte we stopped at another scenic overlook before crossing the Missouri River. It was 5 days ago, when going from Omaha, NE to Council Bluffs, IA, about 200 miles southeast of our current position we had previously crossed the Missouri. It was when I irritated the sports car drivers by hindering their speeds. I still feeling bad about it.

In the Rosebud Indian Reservation just outside of Mission we were told to turn back and catch 183 north then 44 west again to detour around road construction. For some reason the guy was waiting about 2 miles after the 44 turn off. He wasn’t parked near any other intersections. It seemed he had arbitrarily picked the spot. It would have made more sense to park at the 44/ 183 intersection where he could have just had us take a right. Instead we had to back track a couple of miles.

Rather than detour Norm was willing to take on the mud and gravel with his Triumph but I was not inclined to ride the hog over that kind of terrain. I think he was just giving me the business about his bike being able to go places the hog couldn’t. I gotta give him that. His bike is probably aces in mud and gravel. But, on I-80 through Nebraska passing semis in the wind, it wasn’t the Hog we had to slow down for.

It was during the detour that a couple of memorable things occurred. The first was when Norm was stung by a wasp, twice, on the neck. I saw him flinch and he did a good job of getting pulled over without injury. The wasp left a couple of small welts which turned into much bigger but less painful welts the next day. I told him he was going to look like the bug bite guy in T-Mobile’s commercial.

The other interesting thing during the detour was where we stopped after the wasp sting incident. It was a gravel road which intersected SR 44 in the middle of no where, but, at this intersection was a regular city-style street sign showing 302nd Ave and 271st St. We had to scratch our heads over that. I discovered later that the gravel road (302nd Ave) was actually an unpaved SR 53 which intersects I-90 about 30 miles north of the intersection.

05 Chicago – Day 10

Day 10 – Adios to the Dresser Guys

It was overcast and already warm and muggy the next AM when I had coffee with the Dresser Guys. They left before Norm and me (0750) but we saw them pulled over about 30 miles up the road. They gave us a big wave as we rode by. When Norm and I pulled over at a scenic lookout they passed beneath us and we all gave another big wave. That was the last we saw of them.

This part of the Great River Road was excellent. Traveling it in the AM helped with the coolness and the bluffs on the east side of the road provide shade from the sun. This section of the road follows the Mississippi closely so you get some good views of the river.

We entered La Crosse about 0930 where we ended our Great River Road ride. We stopped for gas at the end of town before jumping on I-90. I noticed the breather tube hose clamp was loose on my carburetor backing plate and was oozing some blow by. I pulled out my tool kit and tightened it. Norm got a thrill out of me working on the bike and took a picture of it. I think the humor was in the vein of the Hog needs tinkering but the Triumph doesn’t. The Trumpet is an ’05 where the Hog is a ’96. Almost 10 years and 20,000 some odd miles difference.

When Norm took the picture I reminded him that he had to oil his bike chain every 500 miles and when one of his turn signal lenses broke I helped him fix it with duct tape to make the repair. When he had problems all he got from me was an offer to help.

This type of thing also occurred on my Sturgis trip last year. I rode with a couple of Valkyries. When we returned they remembered me tightening my floor board but forgot about borrowing my tools to wrench on their bikes. All of it was minor but when the Hog has a problem people seem to get excited.

Blue Earth

We caught I-90 hoping to make better time through Minnesota. We noticed a little town called Blue Earth about midway through Minnesota. What an odd name. We were looking forward to seeing what Blue Earth was about.

We pulled into Blue Earth for gas about 1317 that afternoon. We got a couple of photos with the Blue Earth sign while at the gas station.

Some of the things Blue Earth is known for are:

  • The birth place of the ice cream sandwich
  • It’s the center of America’s longest highway (I-90)
  • The largest statue of the Jolly Green Giant

The name is no longer a mystery. The local Indians had named the river near-by “Mahkota” which means blue earth. This probably comes from the blue-black clay found on the river banks. (http://www.be.blue-earth.mn.us/index.htm)

It was lunch time so Norm and I figured we would look for a Ma and Pop type restaurant. We drove around town where we found Hamilton’s Restaurant and Banquet Hall. The only people in the restaurant at lunch were old folks (older than us anyway). This may be a sign of good food as lunch was excellent. They had the “Beef Commercial” on special which we ordered and have talked about ever since as one of our favorite meals on the road. Cost was $5.25. It’s an open face roast beef sandwich with potatoes and gravy. It was like eating candy. It was fantastic food but obviously artery-clogging. Why are things that taste so good so bad for you?!?

Thunder & Lightening

We stopped for gas in Worthington. While taking a break it’s common for people to gather around and ask where you are headed, what kind of bike you have, etc. Sometimes it’s bikers like the Dresser Guys and sometimes just civilians. One guy that stopped and talked to us in Worthington was obviously a biker. Although dressed like a salesman, he discussed riding with us for awhile then warned us about a storm in mid-South Dakota which was traveling our way with thunder, lightening, and nickel sized hail. We gulped then agreed we would be in a motel that night.

It was about 1730 when we pulled into Sioux Falls, SD. The first order of business was finding a motel, which we did. After checking in, and unpacking the bikes we purchased refreshments and snacks from the food mart next door and waited for the storm to hit. It did that evening with loud thunder, lots of lightening, and heavy rain. No hail luckily. It was a good old Midwest thunder and lightening storm. I was glad to witness it but happy I was in a motel.

Click for the video

05 Chicago – Day 9

The Great River Road

The next morning I was ready to get back on the road and looking forward to seeing some new country. I departed Naperville, IL. Via Naper Blvd./Weber to I-55, then I-55 to Joliette where I caught I-80. It was hot so rode “naked” (as Norm calls it) with denim vest and t-shirt.

Stopped in Ottowa and Genesee for gas then caught US 82 West to Cambridge then US 81 to Andover (population 600). Arrived Andover at 1110 where I met Norm. He was already at the park but had only been there about 20 minutes.

We reversed my trek on 81 and 82 then to I-80 to E. Moline exiting I-80 onto US 84. This put us on the Great River Road along which follows the Mississippi River. I had been looking forward to riding this road since reading about it last winter. This portion of the road was a bit of a let down. True, it wasn’t just the typical flat plains of the Midwest as it had lots of trees but still flat, hot, and muggy and, we rarely saw the Mississippi all the way to Prairie Du Chein.

There was lots of evidence in the corn fields of the drought the Midwest was experiencing. A significant portion of the crops were turning brown.

We got gas at the intersection of 84 and 20 just north of Hanover. The towns along this route up to this point had been pretty uninteresting also. US 20 was 4 lanes going into Dubuque.

Galena

After gassing up, the scenery changed and we were riding in the rolling hills which bordered the Mississippi. The ride was much improved the rest of the way. We passed through the small but picturesque town of Galena, IL. I got a picture of it from above the town but about five miles away. The picture doesn’t catch the nostalgic look of the town which has two typical church steeples, interesting architecture, and a historical look.

“If not for the modern-day goods sold in the retail establishments, you might think Galena was frozen in time. The six-block Main Street boasts striking examples of various architectural styles, ranging from French Colonial to Greek Revival, and a whopping 85% of the town is a national historic district.“
(http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g36022-Galena_Illinois-Vacations.html )

If I ever get another chance to drive through Galena I will stop and look around. This part of the country is rich with antique architecture and steeped in history. Very different from Richland, WA where I grew up, which came into being largely due to the Manhattan Project of the ‘40s. Galena at right and ubiquitous water tower at center on horizon.

Three States in Ten Minutes

We must have missed a turn as we entered Dubuque, IA. We ended up crossing the Mississippi to Dubuque going west on US 20 from Illinois to Iowa and then north on US 61 to another bridge and back across the Mississippi going east from Iowa into Wisconsin and back to the Great River Road. We had passed through three states and crossed the Mississippi twice in about ten minutes. We may have caused a riff in the space-time continuum. Behind me, Norm was wondering, “What the %$@#?!?”

The Great River Road passes through bluffs and rolling hills along the Mississippi River all the way to Prairie Du Chien. As we approached Prairie Du Chien the roads became much more fun with some decent twisties up and down the hills.

Pete’s Burgers

One of the articles I had read regarding the Great River Road had mentioned Pete’s Hamburgers in Prairie Du Chien. We asked and got mixed reviews about Pete’s. It turned out to be a trailer stuck between a boat lot and another business. It didn’t look too appetizing plus it was closed. Apparently Pete’s is only open on the week ends. It’s been in business since 1909 but to look at it we didn’t think we had missed anything. For a history lesson on Pete’s click here then scroll down to “Worth Waiting For Since 1909”. After reading the history I wish we had arrived on a week end so we could have tried the burgers.

The Irish Pub on the main drag was where we ended up. The burgers were good but it lacked the history of Pete’s. It also had a table of obnoxiously loud drunks.

The Dresser Guys

We were planning to stay at the Wyalusing State Park but I was running low on gas and we pressed on to Prairie Du Chien. We would have had to rode about 10 miles back to the park so decided to stay at the AmericInn. It’s a nice motel with lots of amenities. One of these was five local bars within a stone’s throw from the motel. We tried one out. We were so full from the burger at the Irish Pub we couldn’t hold much beer so headed back to the room.

I spent the evening talking to three guys from Michigan who ride dressers and make a round trip along the Great Mississippi Road and other rides yearly. They were riding ’91 ElectraGlide Classics. They had names (I think they were Steve, Dave, and Larry) but I just got to referring to them as the “Dresser Guys”. Good folks.

05 Chicago – Day 8

Lost in Naperville

JC had to work the following day and Lucy refused to baby sit me. So did JC’s son (Michael) and daughter (Robin). I was on my own.

I had left the bike in JC’s garage since the night I arrived so he picked me up in the AM and drove me to his place to get it. That way I had a ride for the day.

After leaving JC’s house I immediately got lost. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to figure out I had taken a right instead of a left on Chicago Blvd. The weather was great and I got to know the suburb a bit so I didn’t mind at all.

I did laundry, stopped at the Lisle Heritage Harley Dealer, and pretty much goofed off for the day.

I also charged batteries in everything but my camera. I would regret the latter later.

JC picked me up about 1830 and we ended up at Macaroni’s in Naperville for Italian. It was good but way too much volume for me.

We finished the evening with Movie Call at JC’s. We watched one of his favorites, “Thief” with James Caan from his Sonny Corlione days. It was excellent.

Afterward JC drove me to the motel where we sat outside and talked about old times in front until late. He had to work the next day so we finally said our good bye’s.

Click for Photo Gallery Days 1-8