9 September - Chicago to Springfield: 215 miles
This is it! Truly on it today. Awake early cos waaay to excited. Breakfast is at 7:30, load van at 9:00, pick-up bikes at 10:00. Then roll. Later.
Wow! What a day. GPS says 228 miles and 11 hours on the road (including stops).
Picked up the bikes at Nees Harley Davidson. Checked them over, quick brief on them, a little more shopping and away.
Rode back towards Downtown. Got to admit it was a little daunting. Almost immediately on to the freeway dodgong artics. Once the bike is up and going it's not too bad. Slow maneouvering is an issue. I'm sure we'll get better.
One thing I find concerning is how close some people are riding. I tried to keep a goodly distance in echelon but one guy on one section rode almost alongside me.
So left the dealership at 11 and rode for about an hour. Bear, the tour guide, breaks each ride into approximately 1 hour chunks which is good for Wifey.
Passed through Joliet (which son has told his English class is a real blokes name!) and saw the prison. She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.
It started raining just before our first stop in Wilmington to see the Gemini Giant one of two we will see today and only one of three left on the route.
Lunch was at Pete's Restaurant & Pancake in Dwight. Huge amounts of food. WIll feel sleepy this afternoon.
Stopped at the Standard Oil gas station in Odell. Very pictureskew. Another souvenir trap. But some very good photos taken in glorious sunshine.
Then the heaven's opened and didn't stop. We hadn't taken any waterproofs. Mistake in hindsight, but I did want to 'feel' the adventure.
Refuelling stop at Towanda. Still has vestiges of the old road bed running through it, overgrown but discernible. There's a map on the old road bed of America and route 66 - I walked Route 66, man. I am Forrest Gump!
Final stop of the day was in Atlanta with the second Gemini Giant of the day who you can see at the top of the page. Wifey did something rude with the giant and our helmets. I'll not share the image if you don't mind. Had a coffee in a completely rushed cafe opposite the giant and prowled a souvenir store next door where the proprietor mentioned something about meeting a bloke called Billy Connolly a few days earlier, whoever he is.
Then the heavens really opened.
Last hour was ridden in the dark in very unpleasant weather indeed and mostly along the I55. Boots had to be poured out and jeans still weren't dry the next morning. I loved it.
Dinner at 'Smokey Bones' adequate. Service slow. I didn't eat much just had their flatbread bbq pizza and a Ceasar salad. Was still digesting lunch. Pitcher of beer did go down well through.
Holiday Inn Express Springfield typical low-end hotel type of affair.
View Route 66 - Chicago to Springfield in a larger map