Friday, July 10, 2009

Muncie and then home

On Thursday morning the four of us visited Uncle Jim's grave with Aunt Jane before heading east. After a torturous ride for just a few miles on I-74 (where the interstate was down to one lane and was stop and go for several miles) we exited and took a short highway to US-24. After all the ugly construction and rain of the vacation so far, it was nice to have a straight, paved road and for a change, dry conditions.

We stopped for a break in Gilman, Illinois and talked for a bit with Ted and Wanda before going back to the bikes and hugging one last time. Soon after entering Indiana, we would split and take different routes home; Ted and Wanda would swing past a nursing home in Attica, Indiana to see an old friend of David and Ted's mother, Lottie Casner.

David and I continued east to Lafayette, Indiana on absolutely horrible US-52. As soon as we could, we got on I-65 and then on Indiana 28 which runs almost as true and straight as US-24. It was a delight. Also of interest were the small towns that make up the heartland of Indiana.

We got to my parents in Yorktown, Indiana around 5:00. My mom, figuring we would be tired, had cooked for us and invited my brothers over - to see the main attraction - me! This morning we went with my parents to their monthly condo association breakfast and after we headed home.

In the past when riding our motorcycles home from Muncie, we rode the back highways. Today we just wanted to get home and as fast as possible. We took interstate all the way. We were home by 2:00 p.m.

We rode 2,500 miles in the 14 days we were gone. Except for the rain, we had a wonderful time. In fact, because of the rain, there were some things we didn't get to see (like the Soo Locks) so we plan on going back some day to the UP. Hopefully we will have better luck with the weather next time.

Aunt Jane

Waking up early on Wednesday morning, Ted went to the restaurant on the corner and bought coffee for him and Wanda and also me.

After loading up the bikes, we headed out of Milwaukee; a much easier task than riding into or around Milwaukee. Not long out of Milwaukee, the rain started again. We stopped for breakfast at a Perkins and continued on into Illinois. The I-90 turnpike was busy, as expected, but we made it to I-39 and headed south. By now the rain was heavy and steady. After a short trip west on I-80, we took Illinois 29 south to Peoria. This should have been a scenic drive along the Illinois River but with the rain, we barely caught an occasional glimpse of the river. In Henry, soaking wet, we pulled into the parking lot of a small diner and all four of us ordered soup. The food was down home great and everyone, including the other patrons, were very friendly. Soon it was time to get back on the road to Peoria.

In Peoria, we stopped at a Wal-Mart so Ted and Wanda could shop for replacement rain gear. Theirs had fallen apart from the constant use on this vacation. Then it was onto Hanna City to see Aunt Jane.

Aunt Jane Davis is the only aunt or uncle David and Ted have on either side of the family tree. It was so great seeing her again. Aunt Jane and her husband Uncle Jim were motorcyclists with the Peoria Motorcycle Club for years and were avid Harley enthusiasts. She really enjoyed looking over our bikes and hearing about our adventures. Later, we showed a slide show of the pictures we had taken including the Harley-Davidson museum. Of special interest was the history of the Jack Pine races and Bruce Walther. Uncle Jim was the "hack monkey" for Bruce Walther when he rode in the Jack Pine sidecar races. The Harley museum has Bruce Walther's bike and sidecar on display - more than likely the exact same sidecar the Uncle Jim rode in.

That evening we all went out to eat with Aunt Jane, Jane's daughter Janice and her husband Dick along with Janice's son Michael, wife Bridgett and sons Ethan and Cody. It is a shame that we don't get together more often and most often for funerals. We need to change that.

More about Milwaukee

While we were at the motel in Milwaukee, I decided to wipe off our bikes after a week of riding in the rain. After dampening the rag, I heard some commotion coming from outside. I rushed out just in time to see an old man trying to back his car into a parking spot right beside our bikes. However, he was way off and just inches from backing right into David's bike. His wife was on the sidewalk and screaming at him to stop. He was ignoring her so I went to the driver's window and got him to stop. I told him he was about to back into a very expensive motorcycle. He said "I don't want to" and I assured him I didn't want him to. Wanda was on the sidewalk with the wife and let me know the backup lights were still on. It appeared he was going to continue backing unless we could stop him. I offered to back the car for him. In the meantime, his wife was telling him to just park the car somewhere else. He didn't want another spot because the spot he wanted, next to or on top of David's bike, was in front of their room and he didn't want to carry the bags from two spots away. The old man finally figured out how to put the car park and got out. His wife then got behind the wheel and moved the car over two spots. The old man, still cussing his wife, went to the room. I felt a little sorry for the couple so I offered to help her carry the suitcases to the room. She then told me "I hate it when he drinks too much." YIKES!!