Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Moline, Illinois - Quad Cities



In Indiana, I saw this brilliant idea (if it's effective.) Apparently they use radar or infra-red to detect wildlife activity on the highway shoulders. Unfortunately, I suspect it can only be used on straightaways.

Traveling the country on motorcycle, deer, elk and moose within the highway corridor are a major concern. The blood-stained highways all across this country are testimony to the frequency of collisions.


***

Started out from Geneva State Park, Ohio.

Up at 5:00, first light. Warm, humid wind from the south. On the road just after 5:30. I was motivated: get down the road ahead of the afternoon thunderstorms!

Interstate 90 to Interstate 80. I don't intend to stay on them for long, but the interstates serve to move me west quickly. Once beyond the Mississippi, everything changes. Regular gas has reached $3.49!

In the Chicago area, I ran into horrendous truck congestion throughout all the highways and interchanges. What an intolerable lifestyle it must be, to deal with those conditions on a daily basis.

I envision a time when it will be necessary to completely separate commercial and private transportation, designating specific interstates as "commercial traffic only". Actually, I think the time has come for many parts of the country.

Between Chicago and the Mississippi, I started to run into a cold front coming out of the northwest. Thunderheads were quickly building, but I hit them in their early stages. Light rains were all I encountered. It was still warm enough to not cause much concern.

Passed Ottawa, Illinois, which claims the odd distinction "where Lincoln was first heard"! (Was this where he spoke his first words?)

By Moline, Illinois, I had gone about 550 miles, and the rain was growing steady, and cold. It was time to stop. Filled up on gas, talking with a Harley rider who had also just ridden two 500-mile days, leaving North Carolina yesterday. He was 60 miles from home.

Checked on a room at a new "Hampton Inn & Suites" alongside the airport, hoping maybe they haven't been "discovered" yet, and would be offering an introductory rate. Nope. $99.

Across the Rock River, I found an old "Best Western". $61 with "AAA". The manager took my "AAA" card and looked at it, but said nothing about the expired date.

First order of business, check in with e-mail. Priscilla pardoned me for passing through without stopping.

On the manager's recommendation, I went to "Los Agave’s" for dinner, just up the road near a large mall. I was still skeptical about finding authentic Mexican food this far from the border, but "Agave" turned out to be very good. Nearly the entire staff is Hispanic. I think they lost my order, but the server reported they just got busy. Chicken fajitas and two "Negra Modelos". Way too much food. Imported beers are only $2.50 here! Overall, a great value.

I absolutely hate the idea of taking leftovers from a restaurant due to the wasteful packaging it requires, and for the manner in which it encourages establishments to inflate sales. I take a very dim view of restaurants whose portions are so large as to necessitate diners take half their meal home in plastic, foil or cardboard containers. (Of course, diners could bring reusable take-out containers with them when visiting restaurants guilty of routinely serving too much food. That would address part of "my issue". The "Claim Jumper" chain is an infamous example of portioning food far in excess of any normal human appetite. The practice serves to inflate both the average guest check and the average guest waistline.)

But this stuff was just too good to leave on the plate! So, I left with my little parcel. Such a hypocrite...

Back at the hotel, I called Jeff to let him know of my progress. He had just been thinking of the little irritations on our trip, such as that night lost in Tennessee when he lost patience. It's funny how, after a journey, the negative perceptions start to fade, and the more positive memories emerge...and remain.

Tried calling Jessica, but as usual, only reached her voice mail. I noted how I always speak in messages to her as if speaking to a child (MY child!). I imagine it gets a bit tiresome for her. I'll try to work on that. (Maybe I can eliminate the habit before she reaches middle age?)

Washed laundry in the sink, then discovered they have no drier at the motel. Used towels to blot up as much moisture as possible, then draped the wet clothes around the room.

Read the latest Fellowship discussions, worked on e-mail and notes. My body's fatigued. Riding is taxing, even if one is not aware of it at the time. It's especially true, if temperature extremes are involved. To bed after midnight.

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