Road Trip 2016 – Day 6 … now this is more like it!

June 2 beginsYou couldn’t have ordered up a nicer more beautiful day for a long ride.  Absolutely perfect.

Dawn brought a bright blue sky, chilly temps and a heavy dew covering everything.  Mid-day sunBy the time I left, traffic in Fargo was running well and there were no real tie-ups in the direction I was headed anyway.  About what you’d expect for a Thursday morning work day commute I suppose.  I don’t know how many traffic jams they have in Fargo, but it’s a pretty good sized town that looks like it’s been growing hard and fast lately, so who knows?

This evening I write from downtown Rockford, Illinois.

The ride definitely started out as sweater worthy and I kept it on past lunchtime, actually.  I watched the clouds ebb and flow as the day wore on.  By late morning, noon-ish, the thin high cirrus was almost completely covering the sky and by about mid-afternoon, it was looking downright overcast, but not the kind of overcast that brings anything with it.  In fact, nothing more materialized from what the morning radar looked like before I left in the morning.

morning radar

Clear the whole route today…

I beat feet out of Fargo early and rode for a few hours before stopping for gas and some breakfast near Sauk Centre, Minnesota.  A side note here – so OK, I’ve kind of been on this “Fargo” kick here, right?  And you hear how the people who live in that area of North Dakota and Minnesota hate that movie and they complain bitterly that “we don’t talk like that up here”  Well, I’m sorry folks, but having been through this area a number of times, that just ain’t the case.  Fer gracious sakes, now, the lady who took my order this morning at the diner could have been Margie Gunderson, dontcha know?

Fuel mileage is settling in where I feel like it ought to at this point.  I can reliably get 250 miles out of a tankful, particularly when I remember to turn the “eco” mode back on after a stop.


Looking a little dicey mid-afternoon

I was doing some figuring in my head while on the last leg today in to Rockford and it looked like I would have the range necessary to get to town without any issues.  Sure enough, as it happened, I was pulling in to the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn here in Rockford when the low fuel warning popped on.  Couldn’t have planned that one much better.  I put some air in the tires at the gas station (free air, even!!) and realized at that point that in the final checklist for packing before I left Portland, I neglected to pack a tire pressure gauge.  Oops.  I have the tire pressure monitor on the bike, of course, but I don’t like to rely on that completely.  I’ll pick up a gauge tomorrow somewhere along the way.

So, tomorrow – I’m actually at this time, one long riding day from Wheeling.  So, tomorrow I’m aiming for the general neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.  I have a call in to a Kawasaki dealer in Athens, OH to see if they can squeeze me in first thing on Saturday morning to swap tires and do a quick oil change.  We’ll see how that works out.  one way or the other, before I start back west again, the bike needs new sneakers and fresh dinosaur juice in the crankcase.  From Columbus, the ride to Wheeling is only a couple of hours, so if the shop in Athens can swing it, I should be able to ride in to the Oglebay Resort right about on time around 2:00 pm.  Weather still looks acceptable for the next couple of days.

Oh, and one final note for this evening.  I wont’ go in to detail, but I spent more time in rest stops today than normal.  Not sure which meal disagreed with me in the last 24-36 hours, but something wasn’t right for the first half of the day today.  Anyway, that’s over and done with, thank goodness.  But I think the Custodial Staff at the rest area near Madison, Wisconsin may have figured out a way to answer THE eternal question – – –

THE Answer

THE Answer

See you tomorrow from somewhere near Columbus…

Track the Trip  <– This link takes you to my Amateur Radio call sign on (updated, now shows both radio and Android trackers).  I’m traveling with an APRS enabled handheld radio which periodically transmits my GPS location, speed and heading.  Standard disclaimer – the system relies on a network of club and privately owned digital Amateur Radio stations.  The overall success of the tracking is dependent on a whole list of factors, including the fact that these stations don’t exist everywhere I’ll be riding and it’s all done on VHF radio frequencies.  When it works it works, when it doesn’t it doesn’t.  I’ve also been experimenting with an APRS tracker app on my Android Phone as well.