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 miles...to 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment