Friday, May 3, 2013

Getting across the plain states

Usually I have a moral aversion to the super-slab, but when you're just trying to get across Illinois as quickly as possible there's often no better option.  It's not like spending a lot of time on side roads is going to show you much different than you'd see from the interstate anyway; it's all corn and soybeans.

When I left Chicago, it was presently sunny, and reasonably warm.  This was going to be a good day, I though!

All packed up and ready to go.
Starting mileage.
Goodby, Chicago!  I'll miss you a lot, and by "a lot" I mean not at all.
It wasn't an entirely perfect day to leave; I'd resolved to stay single for this summer, to not get attached and to really just travel, live for myself.  But in the month I'd been back in the city, I'd met someone who made that incredibly hard.  Why the hell was it so difficult to leave someone I'd only know for a total of two weeks?  I hadn't signed up expecting all of those feels.  I know, lots of other fish in the sea and all, but . . . ugh.  The feels.

Anyway, once I got out of the city proper and the hellish traffic, it was time to find a grocery store and load up on motorcycle road trip foods.

Taking pictures of my food is something that will be happening pretty frequently.
Only a couple hours outside of Chicago, and already it was time to put on the rain gear.  The first time through it was just a shower and I was able to take it off again, but eventually the sky ahead starting looking worse and I put it on again.  It ended up staying on for the rest of the day; the farther south on I-55 I got, the worst the weather became.

Hiding under a freeway overpass, the natural home of the biker in the rain.
Seems like Iron Man is diversifying into the concrete and gravel business. (It's a nerd joke.  If you don't get why this is funny, don't worry.)
I stuck to the super-slab for the whole day, making it to St Louis sometime around 7:30pm and hitting up an REI for a few basic supplies I'd forgotten.  I did make an effort to find a campground, but after getting sent on a couple wild goose chases by the GPS, I said to hell with it.  It was in the mid-40s with pouring rain, and well past sunset; not the idea situation to be setting up my tent for the first time in a couple years.  Knowing my luck I'd get all unpacked just to find I'd forgotten something important, and then have to pack back up with everything now wet.

So I rode back up the highway a few miles, and checked into the first hotel that I found.  As much as riding around in this weather sucks, I will never tire of the stares I get as I saunter into someplace in full rain gear, looking like a drowned power ranger.

What lovely weather.

Parking lot?  No thank you, I'll just leave my bike on the sidewalk under the awning.
And here I am; first night out of what's supposed to be an epic adventure, and I'm roughing it in a hotel.

Planning an adventure always sounds great on paper, but when you're in the thick of it you remember that the things that make great stories later are not much fun at the time you experience them.