Big Ride 22
Louisville to Chicago
So, this morning I decided to sleep a bit late and take my time getting to Chicago.
There was a Bob Evans restaurant next to the motel, and since Mr. Evans got famous for his sausage and since I like good sausage, I figured I sort of had to give his place some business.
The weather called for another wet day, so I headed over to Bass Pro Shop to look for a lightweight rain suit. They didn’t have any. But what they did have was WAY better.
They had Frogg Toggs.
Frogg Toggs appear to be paper-thin attempts at outerwear, but apparently they are a triple-ply version of keep-my-rear-end-dry that is God’s gift to bikers. Unlike a plastic rain suit, they breathe and don’t make you sweat, but still keep you dry. Genius! At just under 40 bucks a set, they would turn out to be some of the best money I ever spent.
That’s because shortly after leaving Clarksville, it began to rain off and on again.
As I ripped up I-65, in the intermittent rain, the hill country of Kentucky gave way to the plains and farmland of Indiana. As I rumbled north, the scenery became more and more of a panorama of farmland. Since I was on a bike as opposed to in a car, I could take in all the smells of the countryside. Farms are the lifeblood of our world and one can literally smell the life in the soil as we pass it by.
There was an accident on I-265, just west of Indianapolis (the site of Georgia’s National Football Championship win…I just had to…) and it brought traffic to a standstill. That’s a pain for a biker, because you sort of end up walking your bike forward through the bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic. In these situations, you have to be careful, because as you are doing the walk, you can allow your right leg to get too close to the pipes and burn…your new Frogg Toggs.
Yup. I did.
It’s better than burning your leg though. I have done that a couple of times, back when I was ripping around in the Dominican Republic on a Yamaha 150. Get the inside of your right calf too close to the pipes and that sizzling sound and burning flesh smell is you. We called it “The Dominican Tattoo.”
By the way, at the end of this ride I will have a set of like-new Frogg Toggs for sale…only minor blemishes.
Through the Indiana farmland it was drizzly and windy…big time. In fact, they apparently count on it being windy, because they grow fields of 200 foot-tall gigantic windmills…as far as the eye can see in some places (Like White County) to generate electricity. The way the wind was blowing today, they must generate a LOT.
I rolled up I-65 N until it dead-ended at Gary, Indiana, on the banks of Lake Michigan. Gary is an ugly, industrial town and the first thing one sees when approaching is the forest of smokestacks. The wind was honking and the lake was up on two legs, white-capping like it was the ocean.
Then it was a hard left onto I-90 west, the Chicago Skyway, an elevated highway that provides a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline as one approaches the city. The view is not free, however, as the Skyline is a toll road. Highway robbery is apparently city-sanctioned in Chicago, as I paid about ten bucks in tolls inside about five miles.
Soon it was into Chicago for a night’s stay at the Hotel Chicago West Loop. The hotel is older, and is situated in the Jackson Boulevard Historic District, a western suburb of Chicago, and an easy walk into downtown.
I had been on the interstate for two days, and needed some relaxation, so I headed down Jackson Blvd, a street lined with pretty row houses and trees, until I reached Dugan’s Pub.
Dugan’s is an Irish pub, and as is the case every day, I would imagine, this day it was filled with genuine, honest-to-goodness…
That’s because Dugan’s is situated in the middle of what is Chicago’s Greek neighborhood. The National Museum of Hellenic History is even here.
True to Greek tradition, I didn’t get a chance to pay for my drink, as it was paid for by some folks nearby who welcomed me to Chicago. It’s the same as they were when I was in Greece. The Greeks are generous to a fault.
Then it was on to dinner at the famous Berghoff restaurant. It’s a German place that has been there for quite some time. The Jagerschnitzel there is, as the Germans say, “ausgezeichnett!”
Then after that I took an Uber to Buck Town on the north side of town to meet my friends Hannah and Brandon. Brandon is an artist in wrought iron. He is from the Chicago area. Hannah is from Hamburg, Germany. They met while Hannah was on a self-guided tour of the US, and were married shortly after. Now Hannah lives here with Brandon in the US. I met them both while they were in Savannah. We linked up at the Franklin D. Roosevelt American Legion in the Buck Town neighborhood. It was very funky and old-school cool. Nearby is a bar that is featured often in the show “Chicago Fire.”
Hannah made me promise that if I put her in the blog, that I would use a good picture of her…so here it is. Ich glaube das es ist fantastisch.
I had a good time visiting in Chicago. Tomorrow the Route 66 trip begins.
On donating: I had a friend tell me he was too old to figure out how to donate. It’s really easy. If you can see my personal Facebook page, there is a fundraiser button supporting Voice of the Martyrs there. Just click it and it will tell you what to do. If you donate via FB, I can see your name as a sponsor and thank you. FB send it right to VOM. OR, you can go to the website and scroll down to the donate page and hit the donate button. I CAN’T see who donates there. In both cases, I handle ZERO money (I want it that way), it goes straight to Voice of the Martyrs. People have offered to give me cash. I don’t want any cash. If you want to give to me directly, then please write a check to VOM and get it to me and I will get it to them. This trip is my expense and my ministry. I don’t need any help. I would rather us all help others who really DO need it. FB me or text me at 912.677.6810 if you need help navigating to donate. Prayers are also appreciated and telling others is too.
God bless all y’all!