Escape from Chicago

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Beamer Bum, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I've been on this site for a while now, but this is my first ride report. I have been working 65-70 hour weeks since January and now I have 3 weeks off. And I'm already gone. The plan (which is always subject to change) is to be on the road for 25 days. Leaving Chicago Sept. 1, I'll be following the Lincoln Highway through Nebraska, then northwest to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, continuing through Idaho to Oregon. From there I will follow the coast to San Fransisco which I will bypass to go to Yosemite. Then it's back to the coast, down to LA and head back to Chicago mostly by way of Route 66. I plan to average 300-350 mles per day which gets me back to Chicago in 20 days. So I have 5 extra days to play with on the road. The total mileage will be about 8000 miles. My trusty steed for the jourey is a 2000 R 1150 GS with 60k on the clock. Since I've been planning this all summer, I did a major service at the beginning of August. This past weekend, I put new skins on the wheels so I am good to go.:D
    #1
  2. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Since I left on a Thursday, I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic. (What rush?):puke1 I ate a slow breakfast and wandered out to the bike. I told the Duke of Chicago "You're A number 1" gave the ADV salute, and headed on to the slab. I wanted out and I mean now. About 30 miles from the city is a town called Sugar Grove, where I ditched the Interstate and picked up the Lincoln Highway. Illinois almost completely ignores the history of the Lincoln Highway. This makes it difficult ot find original old stretches of the road. Most of the ride was straight roads through corn and soybean fields.

    The loaded GS dwarfed by the corn while I made sure the Corn Monster wasn't hanging around.
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    #2
  3. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Soon I had crossed the Mighty Miss and was cruising through Iowa. I found lots of old gravel alignments of the Lincoln Highway all across Iowa. Later and earlier alignments were well marked by the state with historic signs. More corn and soybean fields soon gave way to rolling hills of....corn and soybean fields. There was also the occasional pig farm to break the monotony.

    I set up camp at the Don Williams Rec area outside of Ogden, Ia.
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  4. 42

    42 Bokononist

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    :lurk
    #4
  5. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Soon I had crossed the Mighty Miss and was cruising through Iowa. I found lots of old gravel alignments of the Lincoln Highway all across Iowa. Later and earlier alignments were well marked by the state with historic signs. More corn and soybean fields soon gave way to rolling hills of....corn and soybean fields. There was also the occasional pig farm to break the monotony.

    I set up camp at the Don Williams Rec area outside of Ogden, Ia.
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    There were some RV's camped down by the lake, but there were only 3 sites being used in the tent area. It was quite nice and very quiet.

    Beef stew and fresh iced tea for dinner.
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    #5
  6. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    It was so nice to be able to look up and see stars last night. There is so much light pollution from a city the size of Chicago, that you are lucky if you can see the moon at night.
    I awoke to the patter of rain hitting the tent. By the time I had taken a quick shower (cold water only):eek1, the rain had stopped. It had only dampened the ground, but it would prove to be an omean as it rained most of the day.
    This was the site which greeted me as I left the trees and returned to the Lincoln Highway.
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    So I stopped and took a picture, then zipped all the vents on the Firstgear.(a lesson learned previously the hard way)
    I had hoped to cover some extra mileage today, but the wet roads slowed me down a bit. I also stayed on Route 30 instead of taking the old alignments.
    I guess I should explain my interest in seeking out old alignments of the Lincoln Highway. This was the first trans-contintal highway in the US. In the 1920's there were 3 major cross country highways. The Licoln Highway, the Dixie Highway and Route 66. None of these highways officially exist. You can't find them on current maps. Your GPS is useless. But they do exist. You just have to look. I have been a Route 66 "roadie" since the 80's. This led to my interest in the Triad of 1920's highways. I like meeting people who know of these roads and finding the original and sometimes 3 or 4 alignments of these routes.
    After crossing to Nebraska, the Lincoln Highway signs disappeared. I didn't mind though. Riding in the rain required my attention. I just kept sloshing on covering miles. The sun finally broke through as I pulled in to Broken Bow, Nebraska. This was my original stop for today so I decided to get a motel, use the wi fi and post this report. I wandered around town and had dinner at the Bonfire Grill. The steak was served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was excellent as was the service. Sorry, I left my camera outside.
    Tomorrow I will continue on Route 2, the scenic drive through the Sandhills grasslands of Nebraska and on to Wyoming.

    Todays miles 362.
    Yesterdays miles 395.
    #6
  7. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    :lurk

    Looking forward to this. I can't leave now so this will have to suffice!
    #7
  8. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I normally like to ride 50 or 60 miles before stopping for breakfast.That way me and the wheel get warmed up. Get the blood and oil flowing. My resources indicated nothing on my route for 130 miles. No way I was going to wait that long to eat. The Tumbleweed Cafe was right down the street, so I headed there.They had a special: 1 pancake and coffee for $3. I thought "Who eats one pancake?" That should have been a clue.:huh Did I mention I can sometimes be clueless? I ordered a short stack with bacon and got 2 pancakes 12 inches in diameter and an inch thick. If you ever stop here for breakfast, get the special. If I had finished them, I would have needed a nap.
    Belly full, I headed Northwest on Route 2. A light mist dampened the road, but not my spirits. As the road dried out, the wind picked up. The weather report had said 35 mph gusts. My seat of the pants said more like 45mph.:eek1 I rode about 150 miles on the right edge of my tires. I also turned left while leaning the bike to the right. That felt very strange.
    Route 2 starts out okay, but gets better with every mile west.
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    Nebraska has Route 2 signed as the "Sand Hills Journey." The road gradually rises from 2600 ft at Broken Bow to 5300 ft at Chandron.Wide sweeping curves lead you through the hills.
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    This is very different from the corn belt Nebraska that I'm familiar with. The sand will only support grasses, so grazing cows and hay surround you. The hay bales looked like larger versions of the cow patties they are destined to become.
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    The road parrallels train tracks with mile long coal trains going east. They are spaced about 20 to 30 minutes apart. I'm talking a LOT of coal. According to Wyoming visitors info, the coal is from the Gillette Wy. area which calims to produce 40% of our nations energy. There are tours of the mines, but I've seen strip mines before. :kboom

    Just north of Alliance are 2 odd roadside attractions. The first is Carhenge a supposedly accurate recreation of Stonehenge done with old cars.
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    For some reason there are also sculptures of a dinosaur and a salmon here. Were there dinosaurs at Stonehenge?
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    About a mile north is the rest stop. The Wifi seemed to be not working.
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    As I continued west, the signs changed to "Bridges to Buttes." I saw no bridges, but the buttes soon came into view.
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    My planned stop for the day was Douglas Wy. but I kept on to Casper. Being Labor Day weekend, the campgrounds were full. I thought about stealth camping, but since it was getting dark, I opted for a motel.

    This is now Sunday and since I couldn't seem to get moving, I posted this update. Cody Wy. is my stop for tonight. It's only 215 miles so why hurry. Poor planning on my part has me entering Yellowstone on Labor Day Monday. Maybe I'll burn a day wandering Cody or find a side trip and enter Yellowstone on Tuesday. Screw it. I'm going to get some more coffee.
    #8
  9. Gnslngr

    Gnslngr Adventurer

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    :lurk Great so far, keep it coming.
    #9
  10. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    It looks like I will be waiting one more day to enter Yellowstone. Everyone is telling me traffic will be BAD on Monday.
    Any inmates have a side trip or day ride near Cody, Wy?
    #10
  11. chris93372

    chris93372 Adventurer

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    Safe travels!
    #11
  12. Rwells

    Rwells Adventurer

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    I really like the rest stop.
    #12
  13. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I had decided to spend the day in Cody,see the sites and do some laundry.I walked down the street to Granny's for a liesurely breakfast. It's a popular place and at 8:30 there was a 15 minute wait. No big thing, I was kicking back today. Besides, a wait usually means good food. It was. I started sorting the laundry, feeling weird about not riding. The weather was on the tv and the report for tomorrow was 30% chance of storms. Today was 80 degrees and perfect. It was now time to put plan C in action. Pack up and head for the park.Sidestand up at 10:30 meant a real late start.
    The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway was awesome. Every curve offered up a better view. However,there was a ten mile stretch which had recently been patched with those slippery tar snakes. Caution was the watchword, because they were slick.I even pulled over for a couple of cages I was holding up. Even with a late start, the scenery was worth slowing down for. I also had a camera malfunction, so no pictures for today. (Actually, I f'd up and left the camera turned on in the bag.) I have an inverter with me, so I was able to charge the battery while I rode.
    Upon entering the park, I stopped at a pullout, took off my gloves and helmet, and then noticed the bison laying in the dirt,15 feet away watching me and swishing his tail.:eek1 I popped my helmet on without buckling it, sat on my gloves and got out of there. I stopped a mile down the road to replace my shorts and ponder how I could miss a two thousand pound animal, so close to me. That could have gone very wrong, very quickly.Since I got a late start, I figured I'd better get a campsite early to make sure I had one.
    Tomorrow I'll have a functional camera again. Hopefully, there will be some good photo ops.
    Stars and crisp mountain air are on the agenda for tonite. Hell, that is the only agenda.
    #13
  14. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I would have taken a picture with with pants down, but there were too many people there.
    #14
  15. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Tuesday, I awoke to a chill morning of about 38 degrees. Summer is gone, at least in the mountains.
    Ther are 4 wildfires burning in Yellowstone. One of them was accross Yellowstone Lake from the campground. I took these photos when I set up camp last nite.
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    2 Hours later, it was much larger, fed by strong winds. After the sun set, the flames were clearly visible across the lake.The wind died down overnite and it looked almost out this morning. As it turnd out the wind had shifted and the smoke just looked like distant haze. It has currently burned 11,000 acres. The other fires are being "managed." One of those fires is less than 1 acre.
    2 bikers I had met in Cody showed up a couple of campsites away from me last night. I was going for firewood so they asked if I could carry an extra box for them. I just laughed and proved to them that the GS is a pack mule.
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    I'll bet I could carry 6 boxes.:evil

    So my plan for the day was to follow the loop drive and scope out more of the park. I set off after breaking camp heading North on the Western side of the park. A herd of bison were in Hayden Valley. Some were crossing the road causing everyone to stop. I stopped as well and shot some pictures.

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    These younger bison were play fighting for our amusement.
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    Half an hour later, traffic started moving again. It almost felt like the traffic jams back home. We don't have bison though, we have jackasses.
    The only other wildlife I saw was a lone elk and an eagle. Both were gone by the time I stopped and pulled out the camera. This is a beautiful park. The views, the wildlife, the geothermal features all combine to make this a paradise. The day and a half I spent here was too short to see everything. Yellowstone is huge and I think a week is the minimum time to spend here, so I will be back.
    I would also like to come here in winter. Touring Yellowstone by snowmobile would be SWEEEET.
    My timing was bad at Old Faithful. It was late in the day, because I had gone all the way around the park to get there.I was told it would be an hour or so until the next eruption. The rain that had been predicted, was coming and Jackson was still 100 miles away. I opted not to wait. That rain caught up to me as I stopped to take these pictures of the Tetons.
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    I also didn't stop for a photo of Lake Jenny. It was raing too much. As I ended my day at the Rawhide Motel in Jackson, I was rewarded for riding in the rain.
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    Rainbows always look better after you went through the rain.
    Tomorrow I am off to Idaho. Stay tuned.
    #15
  16. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Now that I'm back in the land of cell phone and internet access, I can update once agin. My plans changed as I left Jackson Hole. The route I had planned through the mountains would take me through an evacuated region because of a wildfire. I found out at breakfast an hour out of Jackson Hole. My detour took me along the Snake River then the high desert along the base of the mountains. I didn't stop much. I just kept in cruise mode. I did find the devils sub in Arco, Id. so I had to stop there.
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    The sail (conning tower) is from the USS Hawkbill.
    There was also a torpedo on display.
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    I also passed through Craters of the Moon. I only stopped for a few minutes at a turnout. It does look quite lunar.
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    Mostly today I just rode:wink:
    #16
  17. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I mostly just covered miles again today. I followed US 26 through the central part of Oregon.Okay roads, Okay scenery, but it ain't Yellowstone. Today was just slow steady 2 lane cruising. I stopped for lunch in Prairie City. It's an old logging town with an old timey but not touristy kind of feel to it. I was almost tempted to hang out a while, but headed out instead. Coming out of the mountains, I came to picture canyon. Here is a little tease of how it looks as you enter.
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    I set up camp south of Prineville at the state park. Here is my home for tonight.
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    I went down to the lake to take some photos of the sunset. I also got some of the storm rolling in on us.
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    The rain let up after about a half hour. There were no fires allowed, but this was the brightest campground I've seen. It seems like everyone but me has a mega candlepower lantern. I was entertained by some guys in the campsite across from me. It took them almost 2 hours to put their tent up in the dark. It was also obvious that they had never put it up before.:roflI'll tell you, the Stooges had nothing on these guys. I was expecting something with canvas, plywood and garbage can lids, but it actually looked like a tent when they did finsh.
    #17
  18. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    I got an early start today. While packing, the ranger told me the lightning last night, started a fire across the lake. I also rode through smoke from 2 fires coming through the Cascades. It seems to be a theme here. I count that as 8 fires in 2800 miles and 9 days.
    Around noon, I rolled into Springfield and found a bike shop. I bought oil from them and they gave me a space out back to change my oil and filter. They even offered me tools. Buying oil from the shop means they at least make some money fom me. My timing again proved impeccable, as it was 90 degrees with blazing sun. It did cool off as I went through the foothills aproaching the ocean. It got downright chilly at 55 degrees at Coos Bay with a northwest wind. I only have a couple pictures of the bridge at Coos Bay from today. I like the symetrical design of this bridge. You can also see the fog and the tide coming in.
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    #18
  19. Beamer Bum

    Beamer Bum Been here awhile

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    Just a quick update. I am in redwoods country about 200 miles north of San Francisco. I may not be able to update this report for a few days. I will probably be out of touch until I have gone through Yosemite and get down to L.A.
    #19
  20. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    safe trails mate!
    #20