TravellingStrom

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Day 195 – 21st June 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on June 21, 2009


Sunday – South Bend, Ohio

Hi everyone, I need to clear up some confusion, so I will do it here and now.

Sorry for the long introduction, but this will stay here for at least a week, so if you have read it once, scroll down for the days update, which starts with the non bold text 🙂

I am receiving a lot of offers of help, chat, food, rides, beer etc and not in that particular order either 🙂 I appreciate all of the offers and I apologise to those who I have missed or gone past without dropping in to say G’day. I always acknowledge and answer all messages, whether they are emails, comments here, PMs from forums or whatever. The only issue seems to be, I sometimes get them after I have been and gone in certain areas. So, to make things a lot easier I will outline a few facts on where I am, where I could be heading and an explanation on what you see here.

For a start I am always going to be behind in the blog, usually two days, maybe more if I do not have net access. So what it says as the date, place etc at the top of the page is out of date, ignore it, it is correct for the time I was there, but I am not there now 🙂 For example, I am writing this in South Bend, Sunday the 21st June, the first day of summer in the US.

There are two ways to know where I am and which way I am going. Look to the left and down a bit, there is a small map, it tells you my current general location. Whenever I get internet access I update this, it takes 30 seconds and is as actual as it can be. If I do not do a blog update, I will always update this map anyway.

The second way and most accurate is to look to the right, there is a link called

Here I Am
SPOT tracks of Where I Am

Click on that link, it will open a new page in your web browser, if I am actually physically riding at the moment, it will be updated every 30 minutes or so, the higher the number flag is the latest position locator. I always turn this off about 5 minutes from where I intend staying, but I am in that general area.

I hope the confusion does not stop the offers of meeting fellow riders from coming in, but now I may get the messages before I actually blow through town. After Rapid City, I will be slowing down a lot more, so I will have more chances anyway.

As normal I wake up at 6am, but this time I rolled over and grabbed another few hours 🙂 I had a great breakfast of sausage and eggs, the sausage even looked like them, the right shape and all 🙂 I packed up and farewelled Art and Lesley, thanks for the stay and the company, I enjoyed the detour 🙂

My plan today was to get up to Michigan, then head west towards Chicago and find a place to stay. I was planning on going up and around the lake, but there will be no time, so I needed at least a good day to get around/through Chicago traffic by going below the lake, it looked horrendous on the map.

Anyway, I had a great start, I even got though the Columbus traffic with no major hassles and was soon heading up north west via some back roads, sort of.

A few hours later I was near Lima and saw this sign at a small town, so I thought that sound good, I’ll have one of them.

Of course I got sucked in again, the chips were potato chips, not fries, doh, but she changed the order for me and swapped the chips for fries. 🙂

It was still a bit early for lunch, but it tasted nice anyway. Now, in the past few hours I had been putting a few things together which has been bugging me for a while, prepare for some ramblings here! I have been tired a lot for the past few weeks or more and it is not just down to social life. My body has been socialising for a long time and has had plenty of practice, so I know what that feels like. Yesterday while riding with Art through the many small back roads to get to the twisties, he pulled up at one of the stop signs and said “you know, I forgot how many stop signs there are out here”. That struck a chord with me, cos they are usually every mile or so.

The other thing was during the evening while talking about travel through Canada and up to Alaska, he told me there is not a lot of traffic around. Another chord struck and during the past few hours I have worked out finally I am mentally fatigued! I have always had in my mind to attend the gathering in Rapid City, pretty much from day one of my trip. This meant a bit of planning but not much, but I had already sorted bed space and paid for meals.

I have looked at my time here in the US and except for the 2 weeks in Salt Lake City sorting the bike, I have been on the road 2.5 months and in this time I have travelled nearly 17,000 miles or 28,000km. Now, I just looked at my Australian trip and in the four months on the road I clocked up just over 21,000 miles or 34,000 kms, so no wonder I am knackered! I still have half the country and Canada to do and so I will double the distance I did in Oz. Of course my Oz leg was a coastline only trip, here I am zig zagging everywhere, back and forth.

So, a few other factors have come into play as well, as I came east the traffic became more congested, so if I use the back roads, I am limited in speed, there are stop sign as mentioned, plus all the small towns with traffic lights. Also every country lane is filled with farms and houses, there is no open space except fields. If I use the highways or interstates, I don’t see anything but get there faster. But I also have to contend with riding over the speed limit, or get run up the arse by people doing 90mph+ if I don’t. A lot of these drivers are not aware of me, they are always on the phone, either talking or texting, I have seen them, but wait there is more! I have even seen people using damm laptops flying past me, this is ultra scary for this country lad.

Anyway, the constant looking, looking looking at what these drivers are doing is tiring. When I do make space in front of me, it is just an opening for someone to fill, apparently, tailgating is the norm. The cops out here are few and far between, I have even asked a few about the speeding, both said, move over and let them through, the cops are doing what they can. So, to cut a short story long, I am tired and not enjoying this part of the ride and cannot wait until I get back out west away from the congestion. And let’s not talk about the road works, they make things twice as bad! Of course, my decision to attend the gathering has exacerbated the pressure, so if I decided not to attend, I could relax a bit more I guess.

Interlude over, back to the ride. I headed off on a different road because a lovely lady told me it would be better, so I did, of course I forgot to get fuel so I was a bit nervous when I realised, but there were some weird silo type things around, so I knew I could get some type of fuel around somewhere.

And this was a welcome sign, fuel at last 🙂

So, I slabbed it, just to make some time and head for the border, where I could hopefully drop off and grab some photos. This took a bit of doing but over the next hour or so, I managed to get some 🙂

Oh, Oh another slab being built through the corn fields.

So by heading west towards Fort Wayne then north, I managed to get the state signs I wanted 🙂

Not long after the bike clocked up a milestone of its own!

The slab turned north and I headed to the border of Michigan. Now this is the reason I hate traffic, I was stuck in this for ages, look closely at the space I left in front of me, the traffic movement is walking pace and I have air, but then some c&^%head wanker jumps in there!!! What type of mentality says he is going anywhere, freaking idiot, and he went past on the left, which is the no go zone 😦

I had time to say g’day to these people, I wish I was wearing less clothes as it was stinking hot and humid!

They were going to Angola, I was actually getting off the slab only 1 mile ahead, but no way of getting there. They said a truckie told them via radio, a car smash ahead had blocked lanes etc.

The chick from the wankers car was walking faster than the rest of us.

I snuck up the slip road a bit and could see my exit, but no way to get there, talked to another couple for a while.

Before finally getting to my exit, that took over 30 minutes to travel 2 miles and I never did see the cause!

Because of the heat I had been sucking back the water, so I was glad to find a nice quiet spot near some bit of bush 🙂

Soon after I entered the state of Michigan and headed west after that.

I planned on being near to the area of Chicago, but hopefully far enough away for decent motel prices. In the end I stayed at South Bend, not an ideal location but I was tired after a long hot day and not a great deal of sleep. Of course I had to battle all this stuff before getting to where I needed to go.

It was another Inn, not a motel, but I managed to get a room near an exit door which was a bonus. I had a quiet night, I knew tomorrow would be bad, but the Harley riders I spoke to said take the 294 through Chicago, better than anything else, so I would check that out when I get there.


Day – 321 miles and 517 km
Trip – 20,122 miles and 32,383 km

Cheers
TravellingStrom

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6 Responses to “Day 195 – 21st June 09”

  1. Jeremy said

    Maintain the rage – it’ll get better out West

    • travellingstrom said

      I will, clocked up nearly 650km in searing 40C heat, high humidity heading west today and then it poured.

      Not long now, after this weekend I get to relax

      Cheers TS

  2. pirate63 said

    hang in there ts, it might be a good idea to park the bike up for a few days and just kick back,re charge the batteries

    • travellingstrom said

      Hi m8

      Yep, my plans after this weekend are to slow down a lot, and also go find some camping sites which will be less stresfull I hope

      Cheers TS

  3. ybg said

    Rich,

    It can be numbing, the long miles under the helmet, but you know it’s worth it. When it gets hot like that shed the coat and pants. Your riding style seems to favour this. Keep your core temperature down and your fluids up and your brain will thank you for it. When you get out to the Prairies, then just put a brick on the throttle and put everything else on auto-pilot.

    Ca roule. ybg

    • travellingstrom said

      Hi

      Hmmm, I am one of the ATGATT people, that is All The Gear All The Time. It does not matter how hot it gets, that is what I do. I have been knocked over onto hot pavement with not much gear on and it burns.

      I have a 3lt camel back bladder which I suck back in quantities, this relieves most of the stress.

      The rest I will have to live with, I won’t fall off, but there are too many idiots around that can take me out at any time. So, I need the protection.

      Cheers TS

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