Ah, the end to the party is never fun but it is necessary and we all survived the adventures of the 115th. Sunday afternoon as we all chilled at the Airbnb, Levi and Sarah packed their bags to head to Chicago to drop off Levi at the airport so he could get back home in time for work. Rather than drive all the way back to Milwaukee, Sarah booked an Airbnb and stayed in Joliet. My plan has been pretty fluid. One day, I was going to stay in Milwaukee for an extra day with Christy, then the next I was going to ride with Sarah and Levi to the airport and Joliet. My final plan ended up being to stay in Milwaukee Sunday night then head to Joliet to met up with Sarah the next day (Labor Day). After almost a week of partying in Milwaukee, I was ready to hit the road again and get back toward my trek home.
As I got my bike loaded and said goodbye to my dad, Christy and Fred I was a little sad to be leaving the group but excited at the same time. I had a bought of a little too much heat the day before, plus almost a week walking around on my knee at all the parties I was a little rough starting out the day. I got about an hour into my ride south and hit a horrendous rain storm. There were a ton of riders out there on the highway heading south but we all were miserable in the torrential downpour. I didn’t want to pull over, because I felt like it would be pointless. I left that morning in jeans, my knee brace a t-shirt, leather jacket, half helmet and Oakley sunglasses. I was already soaked, so adding more gear would be mostly pointless…although my Oakley’s are not made for riding and were getting hard to see out of. Eventually, I came up to a toll booth “SHIT!” I forgot to input “avoid tolls” and when I stopped for that I jumped off my bike, swapped my glasses and paid the fee. As I kept going I had a couple more tolls and was quickly running low on cash…(Damn all those cash only bars at all the parties in Milwaukee).
Eventually, the rain got so bad I could not see in front of me, so I pulled under the next overpass I saw. There were about 20 bikes all pulled over and everyone waiting out the storm. I parked about half my bike still out in the rain and pulled out my rain coat. I decided I didn’t want my gloves to get wet so I left them off. One of the guys told me it was going to be at least 30 minutes to clear and that it was really bad. After about 5 minutes of sitting there and updating Sarah on where I was, I decided to be like the buffalo and run head first into the storm to get to the other side faster. I was less than 15 minutes and I was out of the worst of it and then soon after that back in the sun.
As I kept going and kept seeing toll booths, I eventually blew through a couple because I was sick of fishing out the little change I had. I stopped at one, took off my rain coat and leather jacket and swapped back to my shades. There was a large group of bikers from another country, they were all wearing full face helmets, but I think it was a group for Asia. They gave me a thumbs up and I gave one back. As I rode up to pay my toll, I realized it was “exact change only” and I had none. I had rolled up to the booth with my saddlebag open and the same nice foreign biker ran over to make sure I knew it was open, kindly shut it for me and nodded. I reopened it, dug for change then finally threw all that I had left into the bucket and rode on. I assume I will be coming home to a few tickets??
After a couple wrong turns and having to pay tolls twice, I made it to Joliet…Oh, I guess that might not have happened in my prior blogs, not sure, but my “B*&#@ in the box” only talks to me when she feels like it, so I basically don’t have navigation anymore which makes it difficult to get around at times. But hey, it makes for an adventure sometimes too.
(Sarah’s cute Airbnb in Joliet)
I finally made it to Joliet and met up with Sarah at a coffee shop called Jitters. It was great to get on the road with Sarah again. We hammered down and headed south. We had decided at the coffee shop, that although I had originally planned to head towards Tulsa, OK first, we would instead go to Evansville, IN to visit my friend Dawn Morand’s dealership, Buds Harley-Davidson. We both were due for service and better to get it done with a dealer you know and trust.
So, I called Dawn and let her know we were on our way. We rode for a bit before we hit a rain storm. We were both in short sleeves and just rode all the way through it. Right before I turned east again, it got really bad and if I hadn’t have been turning I might have had to stop from the wind and intense rain, but I could tell we would be out of it soon. We were completely drenched but the sun came out and we dried quickly. It was about 97* all day. We didn’t really hit much else for rain and the scenery isn’t too exciting in this part of the world, but we did take all back roads which was fun. Many of them country roads with no center lane and not much for traffic. As we got closer to Evansville, it was pretty flat, but there were some great old buildings to check out as we rolled through small towns.
When we got to Evansville, after stopping at the wrong hotel, we found the right one which was right down the street from the dealership. Dawn picked us up an hour after we got here, enough time to freshen up. We went to dinner with her and her husband and got a drink at a bar where despite the lack of crowd there was still some enthusiastic karaoke singers. We got a little laundry done and will be taking our bikes to the dealership at 8am to get them serviced. Sarah is already at her 10K in a year…pretty bad ass. We are over our 5K mark on this trip so a good time to get them checked out and ready for the next several thousand.
15 years ago I was in some dealership and on the accessory wall was a chrome change holder… different slots for different sizes…. and I thought “what the heck is that for? ” Until I hit my first toll booth and was throwing off my gloves and digging in my pocket for money!