May 30, 2001
Things started out sunny and warm, but went downhill from there. I actually managed to get everything packed and stowed and hit the road on time. The sun was peeking out every so often as I hit 635 heading for 75 northbound through Oklahoma.
The cruise was going great up 75/69 until I was about 60 miles into Oklahoma, then the sky let loose. I managed to get my rain gear on before I got too wet. But in the process, my right turn signal switch broke. I thought I had finally gotten out from under the rain when I stopped in Joplin to get the switch fixed at the dealer there. Can't say enough about their service dept. They squeezed me in, got it fixed, and got me back on the road just in time to get soaked heading on to Springfield, where I ended the day.
May 31, 2001
I hit the road from Springfield under MORE clouds and drizzle. The only difference was that it was colder than Wednesday. I dodged fog and drizzle all the way to St. Louis where the sun decided to come out to tease me. Not being all that trusting a soul, the rain gear stayed on, which was a good idea since Illinois decided to welcome me with a gullywasher. Cruised the rest of the way over to Litchfield and met up with Steve Tuttle, Ivan Gregory, Dana, Andrzej, Greg, Firefly Dave, Panhead Charlig & Sam.
After getting settled in Steve and I met up with Fire Nazi and Ohio Dave to head on to Fast Eddies and the ballet.
Fast Eddies was PACKED! They had a blues band playing cranked up to 11. Many a netscum was present including Paulie, Steve Gaultier, Sputter, Yo!Adrian, and Mr. & Mrs. LESDL. Food and beer were had, though with a little delay on the food.
We then hit the road for a night of ballet. Many thanks go out to Mr. Cheezie for the passes to get in the club. The ballet was great. Everyone needs to be cultured every so often. And what you get for a buck! After much entertainment it was time to head back to the hotel.
June 1, 2001
Woke up and headed over to Denny's for breakfast with Mikey, Cuda, and the rest of the motel crew. After that I headed in to St. Louis to pick up Joi at the airport. We then came back and headed up to the site. That gravel driveway is definitely more of a drunk test than the bridge at Mick's Lake ever was! I think I've still got a pucker mark in my seat! After much fun and reunions we decided to beat the rain back to the hotel. We didn't.
June 2, 2001
I'm not going to write much about the actual event because I just don't think that words do it justice.
We saw many of our old friends and made a number of new ones. Red's BBQ was, as always, a highlight of the trip. Another thing that stuck out was Eddie's appearance. I wasn't around when he was active and so didn't try to take time from people who knew him better, but still said hi.
In the afternoon, Cowpoke, Ken, Joi, and I went into Gillespie to get some lunch and check out the carnival. Ken's 'voices' shirt was a big hit with the carnies.
All throughout the evening we chatted until it was time to head back to the room. Joi had to catch an early flight back to Dallas and I was heading up to Chicago with Mikey, Cuda, Sam, and Sputter. The goodbyes hurt. There really isn't enough time...
June 3, 2001
Sunday started with an unpleasant suprise. It turned out that Dave had a bug crawl in his ear and cause some serious pain early in the morning. They're going to see a specialist to get it out and we're all praying for the best... Joi and I motored down to drop her off with LESDL's wife, who was also flying out in the morning, thus saving me about 120 miles in an extremely cold morning.
We hit the road for Chicago in weather that we Texans call winter, not June. I just kept adding layers and finally was warm enough with a long sleeved shirt, 2 sweatshirts, my Thinsulate liner, leathers, and rain gear. When we arrived at Mikey and Cuda's, the thermometer read 57 degrees! Brrr... That's like winter for Texans.
June 4, 2001
I got up this morning and got ready to head up to Milwaukee to go on the Powertrain tour. The tour was very interesting, though abbreviated due to some equipment maintenence. This plant does the Sportster and Buell engines, the Evo big twin remanufacture, and the non-current parts. The oldest part they still make is a 1916 kickstart pedal. I bought the required shirt and headed back to the house.
I'm now getting myself psyched up for the cold and quite possibly wet ride south tomorrow. I've been thinking of altering my trip plans a little. I may just ride until I'm tired. I'm hoping this will cut a day off the return. We'll see...
June 5, 2001
600 miles on a Sportster? Hell yes! I left Gurnee at about 9:30 after waiting for a band of rain to pass by. Fat lot of good that did. Headed down into Chicago to pick up 55 south. Friggin toll booths, the only consolation was the looks on the attendants' faces when I told them where I was going.
The rain continued off and on (more on than off) all the way down 44 past St. Louis. My rain gear held together, but hands and feet got wet. It's time to go shopping...
Once I got south of Villa Ridge the rain stopped for good. I also crossed the front on the way down. It was amazing to feel the temperature rise 10 degrees that quickly.
I pulled in to Joplin at about 8:30 pm with the odometer showing just over 600 miles.
June 6, 2001
Last day. I hit the road at about 9 and worked at eating up some miles because lo and behold, there's a fucking tropical storm heading my way. But I felt a lot better about pushing past my initial stopping point because it looks like the Mississippi is going to flood! I get into Oklahoma on 44 and hit that toll booth just before Big Cabin and they want $3.50! Good grief! I know that I get half of it back but still. The cruise down 69/75 was pretty uneventful, except for the trucker who ran off the road and overturned. Looks like he fell asleep and missed a curve. I pulled into the lot at home right about at 3:30, the odometer read 2254.1. Not a bad trip.
Gloves: I need warmer and drier ones.
Boots: Gotta get some gaitors.
'Stitch is looking more and more attractive as time goes by.
My Leatherlykes have given up the ghost. They leak, the locks don't, and one of the doors is falling off.
The Progressives are the best upgrade I've done!