I spent time last night getting the last minute things done on the trike. The bags were packed and loaded. The other minor mechanical items were checked off and we were ready to roll. I just knew this was going to be a great trip (even if it is on 3 wheels).
I enjoyed sleeping in a little. I didn’t get up until 4:30 this morning which is a little later than normal but still plenty early. I was pretty focused on things inside the house since I knew the trike was ready to roll. I wasn’t really prepared for walking out the door and finding out it was only 53 degree this morning. Ugh! I zipped up my jacket as afar as it would go and off we went to our favorite breakfast place well ahead of schedule. Mistake.
I forgot that the small restaurant is pretty independent about their hours. I guess they decided to celebrate the 4th instead of serving food to bikers. OK – I had driven out of my way to get here and now they are closed. So I quickly made a course correction and headed to another spot we know and enjoyed the warmth of their restaurant while taking turns using the coffee mug to warm our hands.
We were supposed to meet our friends at 10:00 to get the trip officially started. They appeared right on schedule but opted to grab a quick breakfast across the street at the Golden Arch Restaurant (McDonald’s). We topped off the gas tank and hit the road about 10:15.
We made the first stop at a small diner so I could have another cup of coffee (another bad decision). We sat there for about 45 minutes. The sky had not gotten any brighter and the temperature hadn’t improved much. I kept checking the radar and it didn’t look good.
We rode for about an hour more and I needed to stop (shouldn’t drink coffee). It was close enough to lunch time that we stopped at the Red Wheel in Rantoul, Illinois. The food was just OK and we were eating pretty light anyway. Across the street was a gas station so I topped off and we were rolling again about 2:00 local time.
The sky was getting really dark and the radar showed we were headed directly into rain. That just wouldn’t do so all my carefully laid out route plans were scrapped and we made a hard right turn to head north which got us away from the green monster on the radar screen. We caught a few sprinkles as we moved north on IL-47 but by the time we hit US-24 we were out of the rain’s path. The problem with US-24 is that it goes directly through Peoria, IL. I’ve experienced how crazy the traffic can be in that city.
Before we got to Peoria we ran through the small town of Eureka, IL. I saw the sign for Uncle Bob’s Ice Cream shop. Their sign proclaimed that they had the best ice cream in Illinois. Lacking any will power, I pulled in and had something they call Oreo Overload. It was really good (chocolate ice cream and oreo cookie crumbs). Now I guess I’ll have to try all the other ice cream shops in Illinois to see if Uncle Bob’s sign is accurate.
We left Uncle Bob churning away (get – ice cream churn) and headed on west to Peoria. My anxiety about the traffic was not necessary, we cruised through the city with only minor delays. The temp was as warm as it got today – 68 degrees. The rain still looked possible before we hit our destination – Galesburg, IL.
Garmin gave me another “shortcut” to follow – I need to learn to ignore that thing. We made it into the hotel about 6:00 local time. The hotel staff was friendly but all the chocolate chip cookies were gone. Only oatmeal were left. The women working the front desk didn’t seem to hear me when I asked if they could go whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies for tired travelers. We settled for the best Mexican food in Galesburg (at least according to their sign.
The trike rolled down the road for 328 flawless miles. The sun never came out even though several weather sources predicted otherwise. The skies were gray and threatening. We didn’t get wet, had some good ice cream, had some mediocre Mexican food and now the heat is cranked up in our hotel room so we can finally get warm. Gray skies will clear up eventually – maybe tomorrow is the day.
Limited pictures today due to poor internet connection. I’ll try to add them tomorrow but check out the color of the sky.