Searching For Lonesome Roads

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July 27th 2016
Published: July 30th 2016
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Before saddling up and heading for home, we had to have the mandatory Carbondale breakfast at Mary Lou's. Mary Lou's has been around since 1962 when she opened her tiny grill right along the Illinois Central RR tracks. I remember eating at the original grill back in the early 1970's. Mary Lou's is a Carbondale and SIU institution and it is filled with pictures from SIU over the many years. There probably isn't an SIU student who didn't eat at Mary Lou's.

We had a nice breakfast there all of which include the mandatory biscuits and gravy. I still think Mary Lou's is the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had. After over eating for breakfast, it was time to head north on US Hwy 51. Before the Interstates, 51 was the main north/south highway in Illinois, running the whole length of the state. I find it interesting to see how the state changes as you ride north on 51. You start out with a distinctly southern look to the small towns with many houses having the wrap around porches. In Central Illinois it becomes corn field farm towns.

We rode 51 north of Decatur and that's where we split up. Jim decided to save time getting home and continued north on 51 to Bloomington/Normal, where he jumped on I-55 to get home an hour or two earlier. Mike and I took IL 54, which runs northeast for abut 75 miles where we took IL 47 north. Even though most roads in Illinois are not too scenic since the flat land makes for very straight roads, you can find quite a few that are pretty lonely, making for fun, stress free riding. That's what Rt. 54 and 47 were like. Passing a few vehicles and slowing down for the small towns makes the riding more interesting and provides a break from just cruising at one speed.

When we got to the town of Dwight on 47, Mike decided he would get on I-55 and head home and I decided to ride Old 66/Rt. 53 back home. We said our goodbyes and both made it home in a fairly short time.

It was an extremely enjoyable trip, particularly for me getting to spend time with my brother. We swapped a lot of stories, drank a bit, laughed a lot and rode a lot. We may even have a possible new mission in Arkansas. When we had lunch at JJ's Grill and Chill, the manager told us they will soon have seven locations in Arkansas. She suggested we come back and make a tour of the seven towns they are in. If we do it, she promised us a free tee shirt. How's that for a deal?

Some useless trivia from the trip:

We rode a total of 1,546 miles. Our moving average speed was 49 mph, with an overall average speed of 41 mph, including stops. We rode a total of 37 hours and 47 minutes, so I would estimate Jim Hunt listened to about 647 songs in his ear buds.

Additional photos below
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30th July 2016
Words of Wisdom

Nothing else needs to be said.
30th July 2016

"Well Hello Mary Lou!"
"Sweet Mary Lou I'm so in love with you". Glad you were all able to enjoy her "ever famous biscuits & gravy"! I loved all the calculations at the end............especially the number of songs Jim listened to! Happy all made it home safely!
30th July 2016

Thank you, Heather
For your comments. Every time we stopped, you had to wait for Jim to pull out an earbud.

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