Sunday, July 19 – You have one job, and that is to ride from Joliet, IL to Chicago, meet up with your son-in-law, and then ride with him to his house. Can you do it? You’ve been on the road for 8 days already; you’ve ridden your motorcycle more than 2400 miles (indicated); the days were long; your butt hurts. But do you really have a choice? Uh, no… 🙂

The ride from Joliet to our agreed meeting place in Chicago was uneventful, although I lost the route once. I either missed the sign, or the sign was missing, but I didn’t find a clue in either of the possible directions. So I did what any reasonable traveler would do – I pulled over and consulted MapQuest mobile. As it happened, I wasn’t too far from the road I was aiming for (albeit not anywhere near the same intersection), so I simply rode to the road  and followed it, trusting that the Route 66 signs would eventually magically appear. Which they did.

Wonder of wonders, Rick and I arrived at the meeting point within a minute or two of each other. As I rode up the street, I saw him in the parking lot doing a couple of turns. When I asked him how long he had been there, he said he had also just arrived! Not bad for both of us being more than an hour away from that spot when we started!

Since Rick knows Chicago way better than I do, I let him take the lead. He has a nice Yamaha V-Star that he just recently bought, and he’s already eyeing his next bike. But for today, it was a Yamaha and a Honda making their way north (east?) on Historic 66 to the end of the road. When we got there, I snapped a picture (naturally!), after which we rode a block or two north to get a picture of the starting point for the outbound direction. [In the ’20s, both directions were on the same road, but nowadays most of Chicago proper is one-way roads, so inbound is on one street and outbound is on another.]

the end of the (inbound) line

the end of the (inbound) line

The start of the (outbound)  line

The start of the (outbound) line

After getting the pictures, we made our way over to Lakeshore Drive and then north. When that ran out, we switched to Sheridan Road and spent several miles on twisty-turnies, all while oohing and ahhing over all the mansions along the way. It was a beautiful day for a ride, and it was a great road to be riding on.

Well, eventually that, too, ran out (mostly because we had to turn west to get home), and we got here about 1 PM. Rick fed the cats, took a shower, dressed for work, and left. Now it’s just me and the cats – Aria, Gizmo, Chase and Kali – until Rick gets Eve at the airport from *her* trip and they both come home in the morning.

So the stats for the first leg of my trip are: 2,462 miles on the odometer (which I think is bogus, by the way – I’m convinced my speedometer / odometer read about 10% faster / more than reality); 7 states visited (AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS, MO, IL); just under 53 gallons of gas burned; average mpg of just under 46.

And the Honda’s battery has finally died. Ever since I bought it, there has been the rare occasion when the engine wouldn’t turn over right away. But if I kept trying, eventually I’d hit the magic combination that would give the battery enough oomph to get the engine going. Today, though, I had to use my magic jump-start kit when I left the motel and again when we were ready to leave the meeting place. [Thank goodness I didn’t have to use it in heavy traffic when I stalled the bike at a light!] And when I tried to start the bike to move it into the garage this afternoon, it just kind of glared at me and said, “No. Not happening.” So, before I head off to South Dakota, I’ll be buying a new battery.

While I’m here, we’ll be taking some day rides, and we’re also going up to Oshkosh, WI for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Fly-In. On the way back, we might visit my grandmother’s and great-great-grandfather’s graves in Fond du Lac, WI. It’s right on the way.

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