I was up early, packed the bike, had breakfast, checked out, and was on the road by 7 am. This was a pound-the-pavement riding day. I covered the 600 miles to Mason City in good time. The speed limit on I-90 in South Dakota is 80mph, so I covered a lot of ground by lunch time.
The temperature was in the upper 50s when I started out and didn’t get any higher than the upper 70s. It was a very pleasant riding day.
I did have difficulty finding a gas station that sells 91 octane gas. Several had 87 with ethanol and 87 without ethanol, but no other grades. I thought it was pretty strange for a state where they grow corn for ethanol.
Much to my surprise, I slept in past 7:30 am. I must have needed to catch up on my sleep. Getting breakfast at the hotel was interesting. The lobby and breakfast area were roped off because they were painting. The breakfast items were set out in the hallway and guests had to eat in their rooms. That’s the first time I’ve encountered that situation.
My plan for the day was to take a few back roads to visit the town where my great grandparents lived and to ride along the Mississippi River.
I stopped in Plymouth, IA to take pictures of the home my great grandparents bought in 1903. My grandmother sold the home shortly after my great grandmother died in 1958. The house and shed look much the same, except it was painted white when my family owned it.
My grandmother was 10 when her family moved to Plymouth. She was graduated from the local high school. She sang in the Methodist Church choir and was married in that church in 1917. My great grandparents and a few other family members are buried in the cemetery north of town.
Next I rode IA-9 east and crossed the Mississippi at Lansing, IA. The ride south on WI-35 was beautiful as it runs very close the the river. I made my way down to East Dubuque and headed east on US-20. I was interested in this route because it’s the route we used to get to Dubuque on our way to Plymouth when I was a kid. I got a sense of the way it was when my grandfather drove us in his ’49 and ’55 Oldsmobiles.
South of Rockford I stopped for gas and coffee and to put on my rain gear. I was able to park the bike under the canopy, so it stayed dry while I got coffee.
It rained while I was inside the store. The storm passed quickly, so I didn’t need to gear up, but I did put on my rain pants in case the roads were wet.
I rode south on I-39 and east on I-80. There are a lot of frost heaves on those roads. There were also a couple of nasty bridge joints. I’m lucky I didn’t blow a tire on those severe bumps.
I made it to my brother’s in New Lenox, IL in time for a glass of wine and dinner.
My brother and I went to visit our aunt, who lives in Arlington Heights. We had a good time catching up on family news. We’ll be back to help celebrate her 90th birthday in February.
Tomorrow I head for home.