Thursday, July 12, 2012

FACES Rally and the trip home...

Day Four: I rode in early to Upland with activity everywhere and rally co-founder Darin Haight MC’ing from the beer garden. Chief rally volunteer, Tammy Linner, quickly scooped me up and set me to task –direct the bikes to the center of the road, in an orderly, straight manner – for the promo photo she would take from up high on the grain conveyor.  That was a lot easier said than done but was a great way to meet the riders. After the photo it was time to ride.

 I picked up two biker buddies, Jeff and Kyle, who proceeded to introduce me to the straight roads of Nebraska. Thanks guys –It was a blast to ride with you! The run took us through straight roads and corn fields and ended back in Upland where the band Cross Eyed Mary cranked things up. Trophies were given and donations were made and it ended with a huge 4th of July in June fireworks show.  Wow what a day! I went back to my room with a huge smile on my face and in my heart. 

Day Five: I rose early and rolled down the road towards Kansas. My goal was to make good time to Grassy, Missouri, and take a few days rest before heading back to Chattanooga. 

I hit a rabbit and with sadness watched him tumble down the road in my mirror [it could have been a deer but it wasn’t and I am still here]; I got a speeding ticket while lost and Mr. Trooper graciously set me on course [he only charged me with 10 over when it could have been 12, which supposedly saved me money and insurance rate hike – yes I thanked him dang it!]; I was assaulted by a cup full of soda while riding in traffic by a sassy young lady who thought she was cute. I was furious because she was littering and then I was mad that she threw something at me out of her window! To her chagrin, she was in a company truck with the name and number on the door. I quickly took note and had a good conversation with the owner [a rider himself] a few days later. He assured me he would take care of it. [I could have swerved and wrecked but I didn’t].  

I arrived home some 2500ish miles later with a sense of myself and my limits – or should I say lack of limits. I refuse to believe anything other than, “If I think I can – I can.”

See all the photos at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

And Then I Hit The Road!

After meeting the wonderful Team at Cardinal Glennon, I rode back to my room to gather my gear, load up, and ride! A little bit of a late start for a long day on the road ahead, but I was excited about the route. I was traveling off the Interstate and would be seeing real America. Yay!

I managed to find my way back to Illinois and crossed the great Mississippi River and landed in Alton, IL and the Great River Road. Alton is a neat looking place, which I wish I had time to explore. From there I continued north, through Grafton, where I stopped and had a quick bite at Hawg Pit BBQ and met a few locals there who said that the area was a hopping place for bikes on the weekend. Hmmm...would love to come back here on a weekend.

From Grafton I followed the Great River Road north with the river on my left for a long time, then gradually rode more inland to rolling hills on my right and fields of corn on my left. I crossed small rivers and went over old metal bridges. I was in heaven - what a glorious route! Before I knew it I had reached Keokuk, Iowa and took a left.

I was pleasantly surprised with Iowa! Rolling land with trees and corn and little towns every 30 or 40 miles. I loved taking the back roads and avoiding the Interstate. One minute the speed limit would be 65 and then 45 and then 35 and I'd get an inside view of small town America. Sometimes the towns seemed to be thriving and then other times the town would be rundown and sad. This gave my mind lots to play with while I rode toward to Nebraska.

I was super excited to find the Little Flock Chapel in the middle of fields of corn, and perfect timing I must say for I was ready for a break. This little [and I mean little!] church was built to be a travelers paradise on a hot or cold day. Shelter from the weather and even a heater in winter with pews to sit and meditate your sorrows away.

Iowa took me the rest of the day to cross. I finally made it to Nebraska City around 9 pm and couldn't roll another mile. It was time to stop and find a cheap hotel and rest my weary butt.

I was off bright and early the next day with my GPS written and ready - smirk [photo right] and was glad I hadn't tried to make the remainder of the ride in the dark; the road was littered with dead deer from deer meets vehicle collisions!
Nebraska was pretty and rolling hills at first...and then it got flat and straight...Wow! What a lot of Corn!!! But the day was beautiful and I chose a few back roads and rode onward....

I finally rolled into Minden and found the Pioneer Village where FACES Rally founder John Eckhardt, had reserved  a room for me. It was time to rest up and get ready for the evening events in Upland.

The reason for the ride - the FACES Rally! This was the main reason I rode over 1000 meet the wonderful folks in Nebraska who took it upon themselves over 11 years ago to put on a three day event to raise money for FACES! It starts on Friday evening with music, kids games, fun and friendship.

Upland is a little town - you're seeing it all in the photo to the right- and they shut down the town for the weekend to host this fun filled event.

The kids games were great and there was even a Beer Garden to romp in! Across the street bikers started rolling in and setting up tents in the park. I didn't hang out past dark, but I heard the park was rocking way into the night!

Next up - The Poker Run!