Thursday, July 15, 2010
Well, the title says it all. It was HOT in the afternoon. When I got to my host’s home in Chillicothe, IL, it was 95 degrees. With the humidity, the heat index was 107. I knew I felt pretty hot on the last couple of hours of riding, but I didn’t know it was that hot.
The day started early, at 5am. I couldn’t sleep; slept poorly, waking up every 30 minutes or so. The window air conditioner unit made a lot of noise, but only a little cooling. I wasn’t hot, but just not comfortable. So, I got up, got dressed and finished the blog for Tuesday. I had not been able to post it (couldn’t get to the Internet). So, I finished it and then successfully posted the blog.
I’m writing this one on Thursday morning. I woke up early (after waking up every 30 minutes again all night) and decided to write. Last night, I was just too tired, so I didn’t even try. I think the heat just exhausted me.
The ride was mixed yesterday. A bacon-egg-cheese biscuit at McDonalds started the morning after leaving the MTN home at 7am. I put the next host location in the gps and started riding after getting gas. Even though I’m boycotting BP, it was handy and available, I bought it anyway.
The first couple of hours of riding was very good. The countryside was rolling foothills. The roads were secondary, and the views were very scenic. I enjoyed those roads very much. Parts of the roads were fairly narrow, with no shoulders, and tall vegetation growing to the very edge of the road. Looked a little like driving through a tunnel in places. Lots of farming—hay, corn, soybeans in fields along the way. Very picturesque and serene. Almost no traffic, too, so no problem with cars and trucks.
After a bit, I came to the south side of Louisville, KY. Bye-bye to the good roads. Had to get on Interstates and ride until I could get around the congestion and on to smaller roads again. Somewhere north of Louisville, I found US 31, the old road that was later replaced by Interstate 65. It paralleled the Interstate, often in sight of the big road, and was a good road to ride. Good surfaces, light traffic, and pleasant. While it went through a fair number of small towns, they rarely had a stoplight, and usually required no stopping. Slowing down, yes, but not stopping.
The process was ride at 55, slow down to 45 for a half mile or so, then slow to 35 for a half mile, then back to 45, then 55. Sometimes modified by dropping to 40, then 30, then 40, then 55, but the overall process was very uniform. While I didn’t see any police, these small towns would make great speed traps if a town wanted to do it. Fortunately for me, they weren’t doing it when I went through.
As the day wore on, I had to change my tactics and take faster roads, 4 lanes and Interstates. The ride got HOT.
About an hour from my destination, I stopped in Champaign, IL for gas and something to drink. The bike got great gas mileage on this leg, setting a new record for the number of miles I went before the gas light came on. 292 miles! Usually it comes on somewhere around 260 or so miles, but once before I went 289. So a new record. The fuel economy worked out to 49.9mpg, not bad.
Got a icee type drink, drank a little, and figured out a way to put it in the tankbag so I could drink it along the way safely. A brilliant idea; it helped. If I had realized how hot it had gotten, I would have wet down the Sahara vest; that would have helped a lot.
Got to the hosts’ home right on time—just after 5:30. Went inside as he had asked, and looked at the clock and realized it was 4:40. Central time. Dummy!! So I was early, but it was cool and I unloaded the bike and rested until Wayne came in to check on me.
He showed me my room, asked if I wanted to get a shower, and of course, I did. I was grimy and smelly, so a shower was great.
Soon, he came back into the room I was in and asked where I’d like to have dinner. We talked about several places, and Tim and Shelly’s 2nd Street Bar and Grill sounded interesting. We loaded up in his truck and went to the restaurant. It didn’t have the atmosphere I was expecting—instead, it was a pretty regular restaurant. We each ordered a special, and mine was ok. Not good; not bad, but ok. Actually, on this trip I haven’t had a GOOD meal yet. Not sure what’s going on with the food, but nothing special so far.
Food took a long time to arrive, so we talked about bikes and adventures. He rides a BMW LT, the big luxury touring bike, comparable to a Gold Wing. His wife, Pam, loves to ride, so they do some sports touring. But because both are still working, time to travel is not what they want.
They were great hosts. The house was very nice; my bedroom was great. Air conditioned! And breakfast was delicious—French Toast fixed a way I’ve never had before. Very filling and very, very good. It broke my string of mediocre meals, thank goodness.
This blog is being finished on the night of Day 3. I was too tired to write last night.
So, today I’m off to the great North, destination unknown….