Thursday, September 20, 2018

DuQuoin Illinois - GWRRA Southern Illinois Ride In - Day One

Sandy and I weren't up until 8:00 AM. There was nothing major going on at the Ride In this morning, so we went down to the lobby for a continental breakfast. Then we returned to the room where I sat my butt down at the computer and did not get up until I had finished posting all our receipts and writing four days of outstanding blog posts. I got done that about 2:00 PM.

All caught up for the moment, we took the car over to the fairgrounds and picked up our registration package. We then hung around in the registration tent with a few other folks until it was time to go to supper.

 These are pretty trees

 The campground is filling up

 Registration is open

 Trying to get some names on the Make A Friend sheet

 Friendly times

Willie eventually got back from taking his mother to her doctor. He and Carlene decided we should go for supper at Kalin's Cafe downtown about 5:00 because we wanted to get ice cream at Ye Olde Country Store afterwards. they had to be back at the campground by 7:00 for Wingo (like Bingo but with motorcycle related names).

 Willie explaining the doctor process to Charlie, Sandy and Carlene

Our Equinox was parked in an open field away from any wires or poles and yet what had to be several birds used our hood for target practice. What a mess. I cleaned some off and will use the cleaning compounds I never use on the bike in the morning.

On the way to the restaurant, I stopped by the hotel room to pick up my phone. I could not find it. Eventually, Willie phoned and Sandy found it blending into the bedspread.

What can I say about Kalin's Cafe? Like Lambert's, they have no concept of portion size. Sandy ordered a mushroom Swiss burger. I asked for a double mushroom Swiss burger with steak fries. I know, I have no willpower. The burger was one of the best I have ever had but I had no idea it would be that big. Two patties made up a monstrous quality of meat and it took everything I had to finish. But finish I did.

 The Kalin's Krowd

 My double mushroom Swiss burger and fries

After finishing, paying and inviting the cute server to the fairground for breakfast, we headed down the street to Ye Olde Country Store. We have come here for ice cream every time we have been in DuQuoin. If you haven't been here yet, don't get your hopes up. After trying unsuccessfully to sell the business, Bob will be closing down for good on Sunday.

We all had one (generous) scoop in a dish. I had what sandy had, a caramel something with chunks of chocolate in it. I know I'm really going to pay but it was sooo good. We'll be back tomorrow for another round. Thanks for the treat, Willie.

 We really enjoyed the ice cream

 That looked interesting

We headed back to the campground where Willie and Carlene got the Wingo game going. The cards have motorcycle related words on them which the caller draws from a box and shouts out. Other than not being numbers, it was exactly like Bingo.

 Ready  the games

 Willie, 50/50 salesman extraordinaire

 Willie calling Wingo

People intently waiting for the winning word

After the sun had set, Sandy and I decided to head back to the room. By 9:15, I had the bills posted, photos sorted and uploaded and story finished. Time for bed because tomorrow, we ride.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Benton Kentucky to DuQuoin Illinois

We left Butch and Teresa's about 9:00 AM. Many thanks for the hospitality and the pizza. I'm sure we'll be seeing you next May in Maggie Valley.

Butch, Teresa and yours truly

Butch, Sandy and Teresa

The first target today was to get to Cape Girardeau and pick up the GoldWing final drive. The GL1800 riders site has reported many failures of the final drive ring gear bearing at around 100,000 miles. My first one went at about 84,000 miles and was rebuilt under warranty. I now have over 163,000 miles on the clock so replacement is just good preventative maintenance, especially since people who convert the bike to a trike have no use for them. Used final drives go for about $125.00 US on EBay.

The McDonald's in Draffenville was probably the best decorated one we have seen. I would have taken a picture but my camera and phone were both in the car. We got on I-24, drove past Paducah and, around 10:00, we crossed the Ohio River into Illinois. About 10:45, we got hit by some severe rain which ended before we crossed into Missouri over the Mississippi River.

Crossing the Ohio River

Coal barges on the Ohio

Welcome to Illinois

Looks like bad weather ahead

Our first rain in over a week

And fog

Crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri

Show me

Cape Girardeau Missouri

The GPS guided us to Dick McClard's house on a county road just north of Cape Girardeau. He had a shop where he creates works of art in stained glass under the Glass Art by MSM banner. He was also a member of GWRRA Missouri Chapter I and happened to have this new GL1800 final drive for sale. In fact, it was more than just a final drive. It included a swing arm and a rear brake rotor. This larger size required a rethink of where we would carry it but we made room in the back of the Equinox.

We headed back across Ole Miss into Illinois. Just south of here, the Ohio River flowed into the Mississippi adding a lot of volume as it meanders to the Gulf of Mexico. We retraced our steps part way and then turned north on US 51 towards DuQuoin. The GPS and many Internet sources spell the name Du Quoin but the signs at the outskirts of town omit the space and I always defer to local custom.

Back over the Mississippi

This place has seen better days

More storm in the offing

Could not stop at McDonald's in Anna Illinois

Very local flood

Glad we aren't on the bike

After passing through another heavy band of rain, we ended up eating at a Wendy's in Carbondale. The Anna McDonald's was flooded and the Carbondale McD on US 51 was being renovated. By the time we left the restaurant, the rain was gone and blue skies prevailed.

Arriving in DuQuoin about 2:15, we drove first to the fairgrounds and found Willie and Carlene. We also met some of the Ride In folks and watched one set up a 43 foot three axle fifth wheel toy hauler rig. This interested me because I can see us doing this in the future. Then we then hopped over to the Super 8 and checked in. I unloaded the bike, parked the trailer and got all the gear out of the car and into the room, since we would be here for four nights. It almost killed me because the temperature was 86 F but the humidity made it feel like 106.

Sweating profusely, Sandy and I had a shower and got cleaned up while the AC ran full bore. Then Willie called to tell us that the group was going to supper at a Chinese buffet across the street from the hotel. We met about thirty of them and had a good meal with great company.

Back at the room, we watched the final results show for America's Got Talent. My two favourite acts finished one-two, so I was happy. Tomorrow, I will get all the blog entries caught up before we wander out to see what will be going on.

Today's Route (179 Equinox miles):

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Martin Tennessee to Benton Kentucky via Discovery Park of America

My brother Dave (aka Rabbi) turned 63 today. Happy birthday, brother.

I spent some time this morning finishing the blog entries from the Reunion. My attempts to reduce the writing and time involved seemed to be futile. It was late when we went to the breakfast room, so I missed whatever the meat of the day was. I included biscuits with the gravy and eggs, realizing after several sandwiches over the last couple of days that my no-carb diet would be on hold until we got home.

Butch had posted yesterday after we checked in here, inviting us to stay with them in Benton, Kentucky. Everything here was close together despite being in different states. I texted the fellow in Cape Girardeau and asked if we could pick up the Wing part tomorrow instead of today. Then I texted Butch and asked if the offer was still good for tonight. They both said yes, so now we had a plan.

After checking out about 10:00 AM, we drove back to Union City and found Discovery Park of America. I had expected something like our Science North, but it was so much more than that. A section on Native Americans had an arrowhead and spear tip collection dating back 20,000 years. There was an Earthquake Simulator explaining how Reelfoot Lake was formed by quake in 1812. There were military exhibits covering from the Civil War to current times. There was a collection of American cars and motorcycles extending from the beginning to the muscle car era. Where can you find replicas of the Rosetta Stone and the Ark Of The Covenant in the same room? Dinosaur skeletons dominated a whole chamber. A tower let visitors have an overview of the grounds and the surrounding area. And the third floor had science and space exhibits as well as an interactive space simulator. Outside, they had static exhibits, a pioneer village and other structures. For those with children, many features were designed to engage them and spark an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

A sign outside said "Please walk on the grass".

Two thumbs up for anyone passing through the area.

Damn, we were too early

Sandy and I before my morning coffee

Little Boy and Fat Man

Dukes of Hazzard cast autographs

Ark of the Covenant

Rosetta Stone

Vampire hunting kit

Rare original Coke dispenser

Two new hotels being constructed

Future I-69

No designated RV parking

This would be fun

Heavy metallic content in meteorite

Frost line 18 inches deep - Hahahahaha:-))

Big slide

Waiting for our space mission

Grumman F-11 Tiger - Slammer flew one of these

Republic F-84 Thunderjet

The biggest geode I have ever seen

Heading out

The window shade helped

We could have spent all day (or several days) at the park but had places to be. We left after 2:00 and, with my diet busted, had sandwiches at nearby Arby's. It was 95 F when we headed for Benton, Kentucky at 3:00 PM.

I had to respect the settlers who came to this area 150+ years ago with no AC, plus the native Americans who survived in this heat and humidity for millennia prior to that. They were some tough folks.

As we crossed into Kentucky, a motorcyclist we were following pulled off, removed his helmet and put it in his trunk. Some riders really don't like the brain buckets. Also, chrome mudflaps on big trucks should be illegal. Following one with the sun behind us was very disconcerting.

Butch and Teresa welcomed us into their home. We spent some time talking and then they were kind enough to let us watch the final competition night of America's Got Talent. Teresa went out and got Little Caesar's pizza, which hit the spot. We finally turned in about 11:00 PM.

Today's Route (74 Equinox miles):