Another Sunday—another ride. The calendar goddesses have been very good to me the month of September, as I have gotten to ride four Sunday s in a row. That is coming to an end, but it’s been a fantastic month of putting miles on the bike. This just makes me more sure that I want to own my own bike so that I can ride whenever I wish!!
This Sunday, I set out with my mentor MJ—she decided to ride her Ducati 650 Monster instead of her Road King and she made me lead on our way out to the meet up spot. This is definitely an area for growth, as when I’m in front I have trouble maintaining a consistent speed and going fast enough. But we did make it to the meet up spot.
We met up with the other riders for the day—4 Furies- Kathie (the leader for the day), Lisa, MJ and Caryl and then 3 guests- myself, Kitty and Staci. It was a good group for riding and I was BY FAR the least experienced rider in the group but for the most part I didn’t have trouble keeping up. We headed off towards Wisconsin—twisting and turning our way through back roads and beautiful fall colors. The trees were gorgeous—so many of them turning goldens and reds and oranges and the sun was just warm enough to keep the day from being too crisp.
Kathie led us through Wisconsin to the town of Delavan to Spring Grove cemetery. Apparently Delavan used to be a circus town and many of the circus folk who made it their home are buried in this cemetery. Each circus performer buried there is denoted by a little grave marker bearing an elephant and a number. I assume there is a registry somewhere of who these various performers are, but we did not have access to one. It was completely fascinating.
The cemetery was also home to some other really cool grave markers—metal markers for WWI, WWII, Korea, and the Mexican War. Additionally there were GAR and DAR makers as well as some that I was not able to identify.
But what was really sad (besides all the dead people) was that some vandals had been into the cemetery and damaged the graves—they had pushed them over and cracked some of the headstones and monuments. Some of them cannot be up righted or repaired. I don’t understand why defacing the graves of people who have been gone over 100 years is considered fun or entertaining.
After our graveyard adventure we were starving—I swear some of the stomachs were rumbling louder than the pipes on a Harley. We found our way to a restaurant, and Captain Kitty nearly ate the manager alive when he wasn’t concerned about my onion allergy, but despite that it was nice to hang out and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
After lunch we all rode together for a little while. My biggest scare of the day was when we were taking some wonderful sweeping curves and the seat of the bike shifted way off kilter. I freaked out. The seat has been giving us issues, but I hadn’t had trouble while riding. The shift of the seat and the speed of the curves caused me to panic in my head and it was not god—not good at all. Then we unfortunately ended up in a traffic nightmare where 4 lanes suddenly became 1 and there was a 4 way stop…for about 30 minutes we were in first gear or stopped and barely went more than 1-2 mph. My clutch hand cramped painfully!
Finally we headed home—a jaunty ride down 176 to I-94 with MJ in the lead- on the Ducati. She goes really fast on the Duc. We were chasing daylight but still managed to make it home before dark.
Miles for the day: 220
I started off the morning by meeting a fellow rider, Mercedes, at the “blue angel parking lot” (although the blue angel isn’t the blue angel anymore). We headed off towards Elgin to meet up for breakfast. It was COLD. The air temperature was hovering around 40- so it was around 30 on the bike as we zipped down I-90. My fingers and toes went numb, my teeth were chattering, and I was going 70 mph not because I wanted to go fast, but because I was desperately seeking our exit and the promise of warmth. Note to self: heated gear- buy some soon!
We met up with Furies and Hangers on at Alexander’s in Elgin for breakfast. There were 9 of us at breakfast, but 4 of them were off to a skeet shooting adventure so that left 5 for the ride. Shannon was the leader of the day and the others were Mercedes, myself, Jodie, and Caryl. So it was 2 furies and 3 guests and we were off on our adventure to Norway and Peru.
We wound our way through some fun back roads and ended up first at Elvis. After some pictures and obligatory guitar strumming we hopped back on the bikes and were off to Norway. Norway, IL has a fantastic little Viking heritage museum and a store that has been run by 5 generations of the same family and still has the original wooden floors. It was a really neat little stop. We waved to the dead Vikings in the cemetery and at the downed plane commemorating the farm crash in the 80’s and then were off again.
We hopped on 71 and went towards Starved Rock State Park, we changed the line up of folks so that we could each go through the twisties at a comfortable speed. It was fantastically beautiful to be zipping in and out of the trees and up hills through the park area. It was also fun fun fun! I loved the road and wanted to do it again the second we were done.
Then we headed towards Oglesby, IL and Woody the Rootbeer Man. We ended up having a snack at the Rootbeer Stand http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/3378. They make their own rootbeer and it is delicious and the prices were fantastic. It was one of the highlights of the ride for sure!
Then we were off to Peru and the Star Trek Vulcan Hand were we all had to pose “Live Long and Prosper” style. After a few more winding roads it was time to say goodbye and we split off to find our ways home. I ended up leading the I-88 crew and I’m actually growing more comfortable at leading.
I find that despite small issues (killing the bike once at a stop sign, fighting to get out of neutral, fighting to get into neutral), that my general ability is improving and I am growing more confident on the road. I am much more able to relax on the bike and to actually enjoy the ride. I do however have these moments where I think, “I can’t believe I ride a motorcycle”. I do. And it’s awesome.
Miles ridden: 250
Total Miles: 1372
One day, I would LOVE to have the chance to be a part of the awesome group of ladies that are known as the Furies. In the meantime, I'm very lucky they have open meetings. I love getting to go and hang with them and learn from them.
This month I got to ride to the meeting, so I met up with Furies Sue and we went from the city out to where the meetings take place. It was great to spend another Wednesday evening out on the road on babybike.
The meeting itself was good-- it was general tips and such and I got to ask a question I hadn't understood prior to actually spending some time on the bike, so that was good. I hadn't understood the concept of the "sweep" bike closing a lane and Caryl explained it very clearly.
Then there was the ride home-- in the dark--on the interstate. And then the last part alone.
Firsts? This was my first ride without any firsts! WOW!
Total miles: 756