Friday, July 29, 2011

BigTrip2011 – Day1 – Minnesota to Indiana

I got a pretty late start today since the BMW decided it didn’t want to go on the trip. At first I was pretty frustrated, but thinking about it now 500 miles away, I’m glad it gave up last night rather than during the trip. It only took a couple hours to swap all the luggage and get the SV ready to go. I think  left at 11am.

Since I felt like I was running behind, I decided to just take the interstate as far as I could and then sleep in a motel. I hoped on I-94 and told the GPS to take me to Indiana, but skipping the tolls.

The seat on the SV650 is not near as comfortable as the Russell “day long” on the GS. The last couple days of riding the GS, I could easily go 150-200 miles before stops. My butt is still getting used to the SV, so I stopped every 75 miles today. The schedule worked out well. It meant that I had frequent snack breaks, and the much needed mental break.

At my first snack stop, I spotted this interesting looking truck.

Interesting truck at a snack stop in WI.

My next snack break was in Black River Falls, and I snapped another photo of the orange moose. I was there last year with the Ural when we attempted the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail.

Orange moose in black river falls, wi

At a different break, I stopped and watched this scene. The truck on the flatbed broke down and was towing the trailer full of 6+ ATVs. There were four guys waiting on the side of the road when the tow truck came. He hauled the truck onto the flatbed, and then setup the hitch for the trailer. All four guys piled into the tow truck and off they went.

A fun day turned bad for these guys in wisconsin dells

I wasn’t able to stop in the middle of I-94 to get the Wisconsin border sign, but when I crossed into Illinois, I was on a smaller US highway.

Finally in illinois

My GPS routed me around the tolls, and through some nice roads. About 50 miles north of Chicago, it routed me onto US-41.

I turned right onto the road while the rest of the cars we waiting for the light. I made it about 1/2 mile down the road before they started. The speed limit was 45mph. I was going slightly over, but in no time the rest of the cars had caught me up. I had forgotten how fast people drive in Chicago. Most of the cars were doing 70mph+; it was a trend that continued on other divided roads as well.

While I was cruising with the cars on US-41, I caught up to a Bergman 400 scooter. The guy was having a spirited ride and seemed to be really enjoying pulling away from the cars at every light. I pulled up next to him after a few miles and waved. He smiled and waved back. The light turned green and off he went. A few miles later I caught him at another light. He asked where I was going, I told him the ocean. He nodded his approval. The light turned green. He cranked the throttle open wide and took off with a “roar” that only a scooter can make. This went on for about 30 miles. I really enjoyed it, and he seemed to also. When his exit came up, we exchanged a large wave and a big smile.

Soon after that, I was mired in the Friday night rush-hour of Chicago on I-94. My left hand got very sore as I languished away. I didn’t realize how hot it was until I saw a bank sign that read 90F! My mesh gear was working nicely indeed.

Eventually, the traffic cleared up and the expressway to Indiana opened up. The Chicago drivers did not disappoint and raced around darting from lane to lane at very high speeds. I slowed down to enjoy the scenery – the skyline was impressive at sunset.

I made it about five miles into Indiana before I had enough. It was getting dark, and I was feeling too lazy to switch to my clear visor. I got a cheap motel room for the night. A satisfying day of riding.

Tomorrow I make my way further east. I plan to visit a friend in Buffalo, NY on Sunday. We’ll see how far I get – hopefully past Cleveland.


  1. I'm sure SuburbanRyder has invited you to lunch if you decide to swing down I-65 in the morning... if he hasnt.. pm me on youtube. Sounds like a good start for you though.

  2. William: I haven't heard from SR. How far down I-65? - sending PM on youtube.

  3. I must admit that I checked Latitude several times today to see how far you were going today. You are much braver than I to go anywhere near Chicago.

    Love the shot of the old truck.

  4. I like the orange moose.

    Glad you are on your way and expect all to be interesting, but well, from here on out.

  5. Finally, you have started your trip. Have fun!

  6. RichardM: lol. I find chicago traffic invigorating as long as people are moving. they do drive very aggressively.

    the truck was cool. oddly it had an advertisement for a lawyer on the side.

    Keith: I'm also glad to be traveling again. It's nice seeing new scenery every day. I do wish mrs. everydayriding could have come with though.

    Gary: indeed. too many delays!