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Published: October 6th 2010
The "Fat Lady" in front of Castaways in Chilicothe, IL
I started on the road at 7:00 AM, even though I awoke at 4:00 AM. I'm still struggling with the time change from Europe. The weather forecast was unbelievably good every day for the next week along my route. It would be 70 degrees or so and sunny. I'm making a solo motorcycle trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Bikes, Blues & Barbecue Rally running through this weekend. My riding buddies couldn't make the trip. There are drawbacks to early retirement, such as having no retired friends to ride with me.
My plan is to make my river run to the St. Louis area, basically following the Illinois River west and south to the Mississippi River and cross that, taking 2 lane roads as much as possible to O'Fallon, west of St. Louis. My son, Brett lives there and it makes a perfect halfway stop on the 650 mile trip. It's also nice to vist with Brett and his fiancee Megan while I'm there. I really hate riding the bike on the Interstate Highways. You miss everything there is to see on the interstates, not to mention the mind numbing boredom of miles and miles surrounded by trucks and cars.
Unfortunately, I have to ride interstates a little to make time and bypass congested areas. I took I-80 west about 50 miles and exited at the Seneca, Il exit. This is where riding on US 6 gets rural and pretty. Although I've got a stereo on the bike, and a hookup for my iPod, I chose not to listen to any music during this morning ride, preferring to just enjoy the beautiful weather, the scenery and the riding.
Along the way, I got on Illinois Highway 29 which is where the Illinois River turns to the south. Highway 29 is very scenic with dense forests, curves in the road and for some reason, lots of hawks circling above. Without the stereo, the jukebox in my mind was playing a song done by the Eagles, and also one of my favorites, Tom Waits, called "Ol' 55." I don't know why that got in my mind, other than it is a great road song.
I made my way down the river to the town of Chillicothe, just north of Peoria. I stopped at one of my favorite places, Castaways, a tropical themed bar & grill. Although it was 11:30 AM,
Farmers breakfast at Castaways. It is delicious and that's a half order!
I hoped that they would still serve breakfast. Eating breakfast bellied up to a bar is one of my favorite things to do on a bike trip. The waitress/barmaid Tina, told me I could still get breakfast. I ordered a Farmer's breakfast and had a great conversation with Tina. She was a great gal and super friendly, once again proving that the best part of travel is the people you meet. Castaways has something going on every day of the week. Sunday is make your own Bloody Mary day. It's a fun place that I wish was closer to home.
Riding the two lane highways, it took me nine hours to arrive in O'Fallon, a trip that would probably take 5 to 5 1/2 hours on interstates, but the whole trip was a beautiful, enjoyable ride. Brett and Megan picked me up at my motel and we went to dinner at McGurk's in O'Fallon, where we sat outside and enjoyed the great weather. Brett had a softball game that evening, so we headed there after dinner and saw his team win in extra innings. Brett went five for five with two home runs and two doubles! It was a
She rides with me everywhere and never complains about all that pole dancing!
nice visit and a great way to end the day.
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