Ridges, Rivers and flooding - a two day ride
We started out early on Saturday morning, meeting up with Curt in Schaumburg at a coffee shop. At least I think it was, we were there before they opened.
Heading West, we finally found a Bagel/Coffee shop open and we were able to start to bring Curt back to life.
It was a beautiful Chicago day, clear, cool and dry with light breezes out of the West. As we cleared the suburbs to the West - staying off the slab - we passed through many small Illinois towns. Those farmers fortunate enough to have fields on higher ground look like they might have a good year - 'knee high by the Forth of July' - some of this corn was a lot higher than that.
We reached Rockford and headed South along the Rock River. Roads along Rivers are often enchanting, and this morning ride was no exception. Recent high water and flooding was evident, but along this small river damage was minimal. We flew from shade to sun and back, sweeping thru tiny towns - stopping for a break across from the statue of Chief Blackhawk.
We stopped at the bridge over the Mississippi heading to Clinton, before doubling back to hit the River road South to the Quad Cities.
Martin showed how fast his Yamaha was by terrifying Curt and me with a rather high speed passing technique. Not for the faint of heart.
Eventually the Rock hits the Mississippi - here we stopped near the John Deere Museum for a quick lunch. No pictures here - Martin said he'd seen too many tractors growing up in Poland. (But I'll bet they weren't as pretty as a Deere!)
We departed The Quad Cities after a lunch of fried everything and headed South paralleling the big river. Our intention was to follow the River Road, but high waters had caused sections of the road to be closed - so random detours were part of our day.
The West wind picked up abruptly as we augered South along some really beautiful and mostly empty two lane roads winding thru fields and forests. We think the highest gusts probably hit 45MPH... that'll push you off your line!
Finally we were back on the mighty Miss around Nauvoo, Illinois.
We stopped by the elaborately reconstructed Mormon settlement, mostly just to see the tremendous view of the River - probably a mile wide here with a sweeping 180 degree view of several miles. Mormons from all over the world seem to make pilgrimages here - lots of minivans full of well scrubbed and well behaved kids. Anyhow a nice site and one worth seeing.
We gassed up and started the final leg to Quincy. Bryan's Garmin walked us right into town and our hotel. Quincy - a town that probably saw its best days 100 years ago - has some fantastic homes... a whole district full as a matter of fact. The National Geographic refers to it as one of the ten most significant architecturial corners in the USA.
Not that any of us cared - 400 miles of riding and we were beat. Dinner was at a local Italian place.... not up to Chicago standards, but not bad.
Sunday morn we woke up bright and early. At least I did. The papers called for fair weather, low humidity and light breezes out of the West - perfect for our trip across Illinois on Route 24 to Peoria - thence to Starved Rock and back to Chicago.
We headed out after a light breakfast and over the Mississippi to one of Missouri's infamous fireworks tents. There are two bridges over this vast river... and the lower (older) bridge was closed. The lowest span was nearly under water with debris piled up against it. A week earlier this span was completely under water.
The damage from this season's strange flood was extensive North and South of Quincy.
One member purchased - ahemmm - some contraband and filled his pannier with the booty. I looked up at the darkening sky - the fair weather was starting to look a bit moist.
We started out exiting the "Show me" State going over the river and through the woods on Illinois 24.
Illinois 24 between Quincy and Peoria is a great road - even as the dark skies opened up. No bad weather, just bad gear... we were prepared and rode on. The showers turned out to be scattered and disappeared completely in an hour or so.
We picked up the tempo - our moving average on this stretch was 57MPH according to my Garmin. The road snakes around and up and down - one perfectly lovely valley permitted me to roll on the throttle on a long downhill run with a dry and absolutely empty road in fine repair. Straight and true at a speed I won't mention here.
Suffice it to say that my K-100 still has the heart of a champion.
We had lunch on the Peoria waterfront - more fried everything -
then headed up 6 to Starved Rock State Park. Starved Rock is a small, but interesting park... that has a 10 mph speed limit. That's enforced. Well a pretty detour anyhow.
From there we slabbed it home - a great summer ride for our little rider's club.
Next trip? Who knows?
Last edited by Beemer01; 07-02-2008 at 01:44 PM.