Was awake before the 4AM alarm went off this morning and watched the clock countdown and enjoyed the peace before the dogs got all riled up. The original plan was to leave at 5:30 in the morning, but I found myself on the bike pulling out of the driveway just minutes after 5:00. Twas a little cool this morning, but the excitement and anticipation kept me warm as I started burning up miles on the interstate.
The first rest area in Illinois was my first opportunity to jump off the bike and try to get warm. While it was mid-50s in Indiana, the temperatures dropped dramatically near Danville and hovered around 40 degrees. What’s up with that in June? Instead of stopping to layer up, I pushed on so as not to lose too much time until said rest area made the stop a requirement. Other than three people sleeping in their vehicles and the hum of the tractor-trailer engines located nearby, the building was deserted.
Illinois slowly started to warm up as I continued along with the journey, and the lack of traffic was very enjoyable and allowed the bike to hum along unimpeded. I had made the decision to take the interstate all the way west to blow through the miles, and at Peoria, I followed I-74 north up to where the new road became I-80.
Traffic picked up greatly by the time Davenport, Iowa was found, preventing me from pulling over and getting photos of the grand announcement signs found at entrance to the state. Proof will have to come from the free standing sign that is mounted at the Iowa Welcome Center (nice name for a rest room I guess).
Iowa had a surprise for me. Hours of terrifying side winds which threw the bike everywhere on the road. The entire way through the state, even cars were being blown into the breakdown lanes on each side of the asphalt. Truckers were piled up at every rest area waiting for the winds to abate, which today, never did. I Numerous people would approach me at each stop asking how I was able to control the motorcycle through such fierce winds. I just shrugged and said that I had to keep moving forward to get to where I was needing to go.
A few years ago, a fellow motorcyclist and I were talking and he referred to such winds as devil’s breath. He said the devil was trying to wreck motorcyclists and all other drivers when entry pickings into Hell were going slow that day. Never forgot what he called the terrible wind, and today, the breath definitely was very bad. Bad enough to force me to stop at every rest area approximately on a thirty mile cycle across the state just so I could give my hands, wrists, and back a break.
I should have just pulled over and found a place to set up a tent and just take a nap. However, even though these were some of the worst riding conditions I have rode in, I just felt the need to keep riding. It was not enjoyable, but the intense focus on just keeping the bike in my own lane cleared my mind of the daily stresses that usually gather there. When going into survival mode, you just concentrate on the matter at hand.
Surprisingly, I finally pulled off the road in Lincoln, Nebraska. Had the weather been better, I could have kept riding! I show 712 miles done today…it would have been really easy to do a Ironbutt 1,000 mile challenge on the Vstrom had the winds not been so bad.
Gas mileage today sucked due to the extreme winds, and the fact that I rode somewhat fast to get miles completed. 46.8 MPG. Guess I shouldn’t complain. With today’s conditions, I would have gotten about 20 MPG on the Harley had I brought it.
Treated myself to a hotel tonight. Hopefully tomorrow allows for easier riding, and I should easily make Colorado and actually start getting more decent photos so I won’t have to type a book about what was seen.
Oh, the satellite tracker updates every ten minutes when moving.