Tag Archives: Marseilles

The Ride to Illinois That Wasn’t

Last night I rode to Jim Kennemore’s in Roseville so we could get an early start today. The plan was to be on the road by six, no later than six-thirty.

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7:00 a.m., pre-departure picture of Dos Amigos. Jim tells me, “Hey I just checked the weather, there will be thunder showers over the Sierras by this afternoon.

I’m not worried, even though the sky is changing to a darker shade of grey. “Don’t worry we’ll be in Truckee by eight-thirty and Fallon by eleven.” It didn’t work out that way.

We went about five miles before I saw a lightning strike. It turned out to be the only one I saw all day.

We had an unscheduled detour for fuel outside of Auburn. We didn’t get to Truckee until well after nine. We enjoyed a great meal at Coffee And, one of my favorite breakfast places.

Leaving Coffee And 1030 am

Jim snapped this shot as we saddled up, not at the planned hour, but much later, 10:30 a.m.

We couldn’t pass up Cabella’s at Boomtown. The stop resulted in another hour’s delay.

The original plan was to ride to Marseilles, Illinois for a Veteran’s Function. Our timing got skewed and it was obvious we wouldn’t get there until a day or two after the event. The route included the Loneliest Highway in America (US 50) to Ely, Nevada.

Riding US 50 through Fallon requires a stop and lunch at Jerry’s. This tradition cannot be ignored. Jim memorialized the stop in the below picture.

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The storm clouds in the background followed us from Truckee. We caught a few large rain drops but nothing heavy.

Over lunch we decided that since we couldn’t make it to Illinois, we might as well go somewhere new. I’ll remind you that Jim is a retired OPD Sergeant and I’m a retired SLPD Sergeant. Sergeants are used to making decisions and being obeyed. Sergeants are always right. We both held steadfast in our suggested routes, sort of. We argued the value of heading East, South, and North. I might have changed my position more than once. If our riding buddy retired Lieutenant Larry Eade had been handy he could have mediated.

Looking at the map, we saw that less than a mile away we could make a left turn and head north on US 95. We have ridden this road up in Montana so the discussion was on. We finally compromised and agreed to take the left onto US 95 north to I-80.

Normal Riding Attire

Jim snapped this photo of me driving in the oncoming lane in my official riding gear, aloha shirt, and tennis shoes. It was at least fifteen minutes before another vehicle wanted the lane. You can see the storm clouds to the west. We turned east just in time to miss anything worse than a few more large drops. They almost helped with the 100 degree temperature.

At I-80 we turned right and rode to Elko. We saw no D.E.E.R. today. As anyone who has ever been through Nevada knows, they have two seasons, winter and road repair. We experienced maybe one-hundred miles of road repair where for the most part, they closed us down to one lane in each direction while they repaired the other lane.

It was a 440 mile day.

Tomorrow we’ll head north. I think we are going to Boise. But we’ll have to see how the two sergeants handle the decisions.

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11th Annual Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run

Four weeks from today Jim Kennemore and I will be back in Ely, Nevada. We will be on our way to Marseilles, Illinois. Saturday, June 15, 2013 is the 11th Annual Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run. The run is to honor our fallen heroes and to support our troops. Visit the web site at http://ilmotorcyclefreedomrun.org/

Illinois Wall

The Wall

The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial is located in Marseilles, Illinois. The names of the soldiers killed in action during the previous year are etched into the granite slabs right after Memorial Day, and those soldiers and their families and friends are honored at the annual Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run on the third weekend in June. The ILMFR supports the Wall, and the etching of the names, with donations from supporters all over the county.

If any of you care to join Jim and I, just let one of us know. We’ll take a northern route so we can stop in Montana and visit SLPD & HPD retirees, Patrick and April Erskine.

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Hail Causes Mini Flash Flood – Monticello, Utah to Ely, Nevada

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight months since I got caught in the open by this high desert hail storm.

Blog Hail

The day before was filled with change, this day with challenges.

The morning started out harmless enough. I walked to a family owned restaurant hoping for oatmeal and fruit, senior price of course. Even though it was past the opening time, it was closed. There was a handwritten note taped inside the glass door. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Down the street was J & B’s Hamburgers.

What the heck, I’ll give it a try. They didn’t have oatmeal, nor did they have a senior price. Bacon, eggs, and pancakes it was. It tasted good with two giant pancakes on a second plate. I could only eat one.

My plan to visit the Arches went awry as soon as I pulled out on US 191. Tired, I decided to skip the Arches. I don’t think eleven days in the saddle had anything to do with it.

Within minutes, a D.E.E.R. appeared. With that omen, I should have been forewarned.

US 191 took me through beautiful country, red rock formations, canyons, and some greenery. The remaining 90 miles were filled with vistas that artists dream about.

My buddy Paul Wallace likes Moab for mountain biking. I can see why. The town is small, attractive, touristy, and bicycle positive. Unlike most towns on this trip, there were no “Bikers Welcome” signs. They didn’t get any of my money.

Reaching Green River, Utah, I realized that this was where JAK had suggested we deviate from our plan last year, and take US 191 north to Jackson Hole. It was an outstanding decision with fantastic scenery. The lower half is different, all desert, but just as spectacular. I recommend either segment for a great ride. Next month, June 2013, JAK and I are riding to a Veterans Memorial Run in Marseilles, Illinois. We might take this route.

Leaving Green River I took I-70 to Salina, Utah. It was hot and dry. That changed. Storms were brewing west and north. Rain chimneys were visible. Shortly after noon, a chimney materialized dead ahead. I kept going and got rained on for about a minute. With the temperature hovering around 100º, the rain cooled me off. Dry in minutes, I narrowly missed a second chimney. I was in for more than rain.

I had nowhere to pull off when it started to rain. Ouch, this stuff hurts, it isn’t rain it’s hail. So much for finding a safe place to pull over, I stopped as fast as possible. The Ultra was not quite off the interstate. I didn’t care. I scrambled off and ran to some small trees for shelter. The hail stones came in two sizes, some the diameter of a dime, most that of a nickel.

Beaten and drenched, I ran to the bike, unlocked a saddle bag, grabbed my coat and ran back. There was no way I could have gotten the pants on. Several cars stopped on the other side of the four-lane interstate. After I got my coat on, I heard a horn honking. A minivan with California plates stopped and the passenger doors opened. A woman in the front shouted; “Get in, Get in.” Still wearing my helmet I jumped in and closed the door. She said; “Does this happen very often?”

“I don’t know. I’m from California like you.”

She said in unaccented English; “Actually we are from Belgium. They are warning of flash floods.”

When I ran under the trees, the ground was dry except for falling hail stones. When I ran to the van, my sneakers were under swift moving water.

Blog Hail.2

The trees didn’t afford much protection. This picture was taken minutes after the hail stopped falling. In the short break between hail and the subsequent rain, I got into my foul weather gear. I had one question, Where are my boots?
Two more cars and a motorcycle stopped to inquire if I was okay. None had been in the hail storm; it was pretty well confined to a small area, my head.

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Continuing on, it started raining heavily. I won’t say it was a cloud burst, but darn close. I could not find any shelter. I put on the 4-Way flashers and slowed to 30 MPH on the 70 MPH Interstate. Motorcycle helmets don’t have windshield wipers and my vision sucked. The cars passing me were all doing over sixty. To say I was stressed is putting it mildly.

In Salina I went straight to the world famous Mom’s Café. The building was constructed in the 1890s. The café has been in continuous operation since 1926. When I finished eating, the rain had stopped, the temperature ninety plus. Once again off with the hot foul weather gear.

It remained hot until I got into Nevada, the rain chimneys getting darker and closer by the minute.

For two hours I fought winds strong enough to push the Ultra across the roadway, a tad scary. The area was desert with blowing sand. In one stretch the sand blew handlebar high across my path. It hurt like the dickens.

Blog Hail 3

I continued for a few miles after I took this picture. I pulled over and geared up. Five minutes later I was in the rain. It rained the forty miles into Ely, Nevada. Of course, as I parked in front of the Motel 6 the rain stopped.

I knew if I went downtown to eat, it would rain again, I ordered pizza. “It won’t be long.” After an hour I called. “The delivery man will be back soon and you’re up next.” How reassuring. Another hour passed before my cold pizza and warm soda arrived.

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