Today we started our trip home. The first destination on the list was Chicago, IL. We needed pizza; really good pizza. Indianapolis gave us a bon voyage with clear skies and cool temperatures. It was 47 degrees when we left. After an hour of riding, I had to stop and put on another layer. Just north of Lafayette, IN we rode through a wind farm: The wind turbines slowly turning with none of them synchronized. Hundreds, nay, thousands, of them, for as far as you could see. It is my understanding that environmentalists are against the use of wind turbines as they (supposedly) kill migrating birds. Now, I’m no migratory bird expert, but what kind of dumb does a bird have to be to be hit a slowly turning turbine blade? Isn’t that sort of like drowning in a lawn sprinkler? Like I said, I’m no expert. Perhaps it is natural selection. The stupid and near-sighted birds get eliminated from the gene pool.
Just up the highway past the wind farm we passed an adult book mega superstore along side a furniture store selling hand crafted Amish furniture next to a candy factory outlet. My guess is the land developer told his land planner that he wanted something for the whole family to enjoy. Perhaps a water-slide park. Instead he got an adult bookstore for dad, a furniture store for mom and a candy store for the kids. On our ride from Rolla, MO to Indianapolis, IN we passed an adult book super store (not a mega store) situated next to a Christian church. I just loved the ying and yang of that placement. When telling my sister-in-law of this interesting mix of building uses, she asked what an adult bookstore sold. My nephew-in-law quickly chimed in and told her they specialized in romance novels with pictures; a hysterical yet weirdly accurate observation.
In downtown Chicago we took up the Herculean task of parking our motorcycles. We first pulled into a garage across from the restaurant. They didn’t accept motorcycles. We circled around to another block and another parking garage. The charge for each motorcycle was going to be $23 for the first hour and $11 for each additional hour. Uh, no. A helpful doorman from the adjacent hotel came up to me and told me he wanted a ride. I told him that I’d give him a ride if he could tell me where to park that wouldn’t cost so much. He gave me directions to another garage that he assured me was more reasonable. I told him to hop on but he laughed and said no but he would catch me the next time. We headed to the other garage 5 blocks away. It was indeed cheaper: $21 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour (per motorcycle). Uh, still no. Determined to get our pizza fix and not have to sleep on the side of the road this evening, we finally found street parking at the much more reasonable rate of $4 per hour from the parking meter. It is not cheap to park in Chicago.
The pizza was worth it though as was the hour wait from time of order to receipt of the pie: Deep dish with a cornmeal crust loaded with sausage, pepperoni, cheese, onions, bell pepper and tomatoes. I first had this pizza when I was dating a young lady who lived in Chicago. When we broke up, I was saddened for the loss of the relationship but more importantly, the loss of ready access to the pizza. Today you can order it for shipping over the Internet.
From Chicago, IL to Dubuque, IA we stayed on secondary roads. The interstate is a toll road. Toll roads are a major pain for motorcyclists. You have to stop, remove your gloves and fish around in your pocket for the correct change. It’s annoying not only to the motorcyclist but also the line of cars piling up behind you. Best to be avoided. The secondary road was a beautiful road: Winding through farmlands that turned into rolling wooded hillsides. It was as if your took memories of riding through New England and memories of riding through the Midwest and super imposed those memories on top of each other to create a new paradigm which was the reality of our current ride. The towns of Elizabeth, IL and Galena, IL are quintessential New England villages. The town of Galena, IL was the home of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) and, yes, I had to look that up. As we had arrived in Galena at the gloaming of the day, it was too dark to take pictures so you will just have to believe me about its New England beauty. It had also been a very long day of riding, 11 hours total, and I really didn’t feel like stopping and fishing the camera out of my saddlebag. My sole purpose at that point was getting to Dubuque, finding a hotel with a warm bed and a hot shower and restaurant in close proximity where I could unwind and reflect on the day’s ride. Mission accomplished. Romance novels with pictures; I just love that line.