TravellingStrom

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Day 196 – 22nd June 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on June 22, 2009


Monday – Dubuque, Iowa

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 So what it says as the date, place etc at the top of the page is out of date, ignore it, it is correct for the time I was there, but I am not there now 🙂 For example, I am writing this in South Bend, Sunday the 21st June, the first day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.

After doing a blog write up and post, I packed up and was on the road at ten, a bit later than I wanted, but too bad now! I did not get far, only about 15 miles because I was thinking about phoning someone but then could not feel my phone in my pocket. I then battled cloverleaf junctions to find a way back to the motel where I may have left it, but stopped at a servo and checked the phone charger in my bag, yes it was still connected, silly me 🙂

Well, I knew the day was going to be tough and I should not have left so late as it was getting warm, very warm and the feeders into the Chicago traffic system started off OK, but then the road works appeared and things got a bit more hectic.

I got hemmed in at one stage amongst a heap of different signs, all pointing towards Toll roads, which I wanted to avoid, in the end I stopped at an oasis centre, which is a rest stop with food etc and asked the lady at the information desk. Hmmm, bugger, I cannot avoid the tolls as I am already on the toll way 😦 But after a bit of a chat with the lady, she explained that if I took the toll roads to where I wanted to go, near Rockford, I would only pay less than $10 all up. This was not so bad, she also explained if I tried to not use the toll way, I would be stopped at every mile in heavy traffic by traffic lights, which would take me forever. So be it, toll roads it is!

OK, just up the road is my first toll, cost 80c, but my point here is look at the orange cones and signs up ahead, more road works and too many things to read.

So, what happened I got corralled by converging cars into I do not know what lane, but it looks lonely in here!

I think I need to be in that lane to the left where the truck is, but no chance of launching the strom over the wall, lol!

This went on for quite a few miles, but eventually the wall came down for an exit and I could get into a proper lane, whew, that’s better!

Two hours in and I have cleared most of Chicago, but I am now on the northern outskirts near Elgin, traffic is still heavy and not moving all that fast.

We had just passed a roll over which was in the oncoming lanes, the car was just being winched up onto a flatbed, the resulting traffic jam went back for 5 miles, I am glad I was not amongst it, as I had been in one yesterday!

There was another oasis so I stopped for a quick fang, there was no outside shade, so it was no point stopping for long.

More toll booths and more construction, a very boring and fatiguing ride, but after 4 hours I was finally off the system and on the back roads up near the town of Beluit. The total tolls was only about $6, so it was great in the end, the only other toll road I got stuck on was in Florida and they ripped me $7.50 for about 50 miles, I have done about 150 here.

This is where I planned to cross the state border, but at a smaller road out west way. But first a rest stop, to do the usual before heading down some country roads to find the border.

This was a non event, I could not find it, even though I was heading north. I asked a local farmer in a truck and he said the signs are not here, I would have to go back to Beloit and there is one there, he believes! So, off I go but once again even in the town I could not find it, worse still I had just seen a town clock and it showed the temp at 100f and it was 2.30pm, so I had crossed the time zone heading west and gained an hour! That meant another hour in this heat, yuck. Eventually I spotted a chick getting parcels and asked her, she told me an intersection in town to go to and there should be a sign there, maybe even both.

Well, lucky me, I found the signs and parking in some dubious spots, I managed to snaffle a few photos. I had a few other bikers pull up thinking I needed help, thanks guys, appreciated the concern.

The days effort was rewarded so I now headed west, I was planning on the Iowa sign as well, it depended on what time and how I felt later in the day as I still had some miles to go, about 80 or so. The best part about it, despite riding into the sun and the occasional stop signs, was the lack of traffic, it was brilliant, just for that fact 🙂

There was a rest area just before Dubuque, so I stopped to refresh and dialled in some motels, there was a Days Inn, so I chose to look at that one first. The bridge over the river was the Iowa state line, so another one missed, but I had had a feeling about that, so it did not bother me all that much.

I got to the motel and it suited me so I booked in, they seemed to have a lot of rooms, but they also offered a free shuttle bus to the casinos, hmmm, not for this little black duck!

The room did not have a microwave, so I cooked up some noodles in the garden. I would have done it in the room, but the smoke detector was wired in and I did not want to disconnect it in case it was monitored, so I decided not to 🙂 Check out all this stuff, I had been running into this for weeks now, I thought they were Dandelion seeds, but I was told they are Cottonwood tree seeds, like snow really, but it gets up your nose when riding 🙂

I had cooked dinner right away cos I was starving and an hour ahead in body clock, so now I tried the internet, but the signal was very weak. The girl at the desk told me to come get another key and go to a different room, so I did and found that a lot better. This room came with a microwave, go figure! I noticed they had a pool and a bar, so I decided a few quick ones would be good and had a quick beer while talking to Ruth the bartender. I realised I had no cards in my pocket and when I tried to access my room, the lock would release but the door would not open. So, I stayed in the bar while the front office sorted that out.

I only had a couple though, I was very tired from the days heat and the traffic, so I headed back about 9.30, but of course this was my time, not the real time, I had not reset all my clocks, doh. Never mind, a quiet time reading a book and I actually was head down at 10pm, or was it 9 or 11, I am confused, time for a nap 🙂

Oh, btw, remember Tia, the nice blond girl from the other week who was geographically challanged? Well, it struck me that the perfect example of the map I am talking about is below here. That is a normal map of the USA as taught to students. I am just filling in the white bits as I ride through different states, but you can see that they have positioned Alaska just to the west of Hawaii. Apparently a lot of Alaskans have their weddings in Hawaii as it is real close! This is what I have been told, don’t quote me though, but it makes sense 🙂


Day – 328 miles and 528 km
Trip – 20,450 miles and 32,911 km

Cheers
TravellingStrom

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2 Responses to “Day 196 – 22nd June 09”

  1. Bill aka Netfather said

    You were in NY, but left it white. Methinks you need to fix that. 😉

    • travellingstrom said

      Too right, I shall fix that right now as I add another few states 🙂

      Thanks for the heads up

      Cheers TS

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