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Saturday, 13 September 2008


Anna and i have posted our vacation pics on facebook, but I've just been told we've neglected our friends on this blog.
The idea was 2 people, 2 wheels, 2 weeks, very little luggage, no roof and 7000 km.
The story starts with packing, of course. Last year we upgraded the size of our saddle bags, and bought a 'sissy bar' bag which tripled the amount of space we had. This being our first motorcycle trip together, though, a civilized debate ensued regarding what consituted 'a neccessity' on a trip like this, and whether a hair dryer fit that category. Being the skilled orator she is, Anna argued that a hair dryer is nothing more than a 21st century towel. Being high tech geek and a Douglas Adams fan, I couldn't argue with this and room was made.
We set off on a Friday, early morning. Now my usual mode of travel on bike is to find the smallest, windiest road that gets us close to the destination and take it, but knowing how flat, industrial and boring the scenery was going to be early in the trip, we hit the big highways trying to get as far south and west as could on that first day. While we didn't quite hit 'iron butt' status (1000miles in under 24 hours) we were well into chicago territory, and that was even including a heartfelt, though somewaht lengthy, welcome from the US customs guards. Now don't go blaming Anna for this one. I have a 100% success rate at being pulled over for 'random' checks when trying to drive into the states.
So the first day was industrial, the second day was all about corn. It took us a while to find a decent road off of the interstates, but we eventually hooked up with the 'US' grade highways which are typically 2 lane and go decent distances. US 66 is probably the most famous, but we found US 20 and 30 going fairly cleanly east to west. unfortunately. my maps were a bit out of date, and these 2 lane highways had in large part been twinned and now resembled nterstates themsleves. Even compared to my last trip 5 or 6 years ago, it was getting harder and harder to find a nice country back road. If the road went anywhere, there was a good chance it had been or was being upgraded. Now the price of this went beyond my own annoyance. A lot of these highways were twinned very recently and we were seeing instant effects when we tried to pull of the roadfor gas or lodging. Two lane roads used to cut through towns and the few people that took them would stop for lunch or gas, creating small local economies. With these new bypasses, we were finding ghost-town after ghost-town.
So, here we are heading through michigan, illinois, indiana, iowa (and the other 6 states that start with I that I can't remember). We were doing an average of 600KM a day, back roads and no hurry when possible. On the first day through, we were amazed by the amount of corn. By the third day, the corn god was speaking to us directly, telling us to abandon our motorized contraptions and live in the fields wearing corn husks for clothes...

We did manage to escape, but at a cost too gruesome to mention her.
The food in these small farming towns gets mixed reviews. Portions were enough to feed us for an entire day, of course, but the steaks were some of the best i ever had. Anna was understandably confused when told hat 'soup' was a seasonal dish...
More to follow.

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