Corn Fields And Lonely Roads

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October 15th 2014
Published: October 20th 2014
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Good Old Mary Lou'sGood Old Mary Lou'sGood Old Mary Lou's

In Carbondale, IL since 1962.
All I seem to be doing is complaining about the lousy weather, but 5 straight days so far is getting really depressing. We checked all the weather forecasts and radar for the ride home and there was no rain showing up. Of course when we saddled up at the motel, it started drizzling again.

My wife, Jan, her sister Kim, my brother Jim and I all went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale back in the '70s. I've been back several times over the years because my daughter, Heather went to SIU also. I've also been down here on a couple motorcycle trips a bunch of years ago. So, I have a lot of fond memories of the university and the town. Since the weather prohibited us from going through town to see what a couple of the old bars are like last night, I told Ray we could go have a great breakfast at a Carbondale treasure, Mary Lou's Grill. Mary Lou started her restaurant in 1962 in a small shack of a building perched right next to the Illinois Central Railroad tracks. Now her grill is in a much larger building on Illinois Street. Back in the old days I couldn't afford to go out for meals very often, but it was always a real treat when I could get breakfast at Mary Lou's. She has the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had and if you order any kind of breakfast, it comes with one biscuit and gravy. Ray and I filled up on our breakfast and headed north on US 51.

We rode US 51 to Vandalia, IL and the US 40 northeast to IL Rte. 49. IL Rte. 49 is a lonely road going straight north through over half of the state. About every 10 miles or so, there is a small farm town. We made good time riding on this road. We stopped for lunch and had a great cheeseburger at Wild Willy's bar in Brocton, IL. Like so many small farm towns far away from the Interstate Highways, Brocton was almost a ghost town and there was only one other customer in Wild Willy's when we stopped there.

With the rain continuing for the whole day, we just kept pounding down the road to get home. We arrived around 5:00, pooped out and sick of riding in the rain. All in all, despite the bad weather, we had a good trip. The Spyders performed perfectly. We met a lot of wonderful, friendly people and had a great visit with Jim and Don at Trout Haven. Ray and I agreed we would love to go back to the cabin in good weather. Who knows? Maybe we'll make the trip with my friend, Jim and his motorcycle some day.


12th May 2015

Really missed some great roads
So sorry about the weather you guys hit on this trip. I hope you get down to Arkansas again because it has some of the most spectacular motorcycle roads in the country. You were very close to Push Mountain Road which is the 13th ranked road in America by My friend and I have created a website that would help you explore this beautiful area.
12th May 2015

Really Missed Some Great Roads
Joe, Thanks for your comment. We were very disappointed that the weather ruined our plans to do much more riding in Arkansas. I'll check out your website.

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