Road Trip 2016 – another perfect day

Wind Farmers of the Prairie

Wind Farmers of the Prairie

The morning in Rockford dawned bright, clear and warm.  It never got much below 65 or so overnight and the day heated quickly.  It was in the mid 80’s by lunch.  Jacket vents open, lightweight gloves back on, Connie windscreen lowered, all helmet vents open.

A couple of observations on the day.  First – jeez, Louise, people drive FAST in Indiana!  I thought I was whipping the horses, but every time I thought I was getting dangerous, fifteen vehicles came zooming by me like I was standing still.  Second – it appears that every truck line in the central United States is looking for new drivers.  And they all have pay and benefits better than everyone else – at least according to the “we’re hiring” messages on the back of pretty much every trailer on the road.

It’s been about ten years since I cross the plains by road.  There are a ton more wind farms out there now than there were before.  The last time I saw as many as I’ve seen this trip was in the big wind farm near Pampa Texas that T. Boone Pickens was building a few years back.  I’ve seen windmills from the barren prairies of southern Canada through many parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.  There’s certainly plenty of wind out here.  Nice to see the future taking shape all across the continent

The Connie at the Brickyard - Indy

The Connie at the Brickyard – Indy

I passed right through the middle of Indianapolis, so I couldn’t resist pulling in to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The Museum / Hall of Fame is in the infield near turn 2, so you can kind of get a view of the track – which was buzzing with workers tearing down all the extra stands and such from the Indy 500 last weekend.

The bike continues to perform wonderfully, though tire wear is getting a little weird.  Long trips on the good ol’ American SuperSlab tend to create the classic “freeway band” around the middle of a motorcycle tire, and that’s completely the case with my rear tire.  The front is wearing a little more oddly than other tires I’ve been used to.  There’s a ridge developing around the middle so sometimes it feels a little like you’re about to fall off your wheels when you lean in to a turn, but I’m getting used to it.  I’m looking for a place on the return trip to get new tires and an oil change before striking out for Oregon.  There’s a good sized Kawasaki dealer in Norfolk that I’ve made initial contact with for a week from Monday.

The end of the day came in Springfield, Ohio.  I’m enjoying a comfy evening at a Red Roof Inn and I’m looking forward to sleeping in a little tomorrow.  I’m less than three hours from Wheeling at this point, so tomorrow will be  very light riding day.


Track the Trip  <– This link takes you to my Amateur Radio call sign on aprs.fi (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.

2 thoughts on “Road Trip 2016 – another perfect day

  1. I’m curious about your tank-bad setup. What do you stare at all day? The map pocket looks BIG and which electronic thing do you have hanging off the side?
    Good luck with tires; high speeds, high horsepower, loaded for bear. It’s a Dunlop-eater.

    1. Ahh, the tank bag. Still kind of a work in progress. But yes, the map holder is big enough to fit two folds of a standard AAA road map (the one in there right now is the US/Canada edition). The unit on the side of the bag is the APRS radio. It’s a Yaesu VX-8DR tri-band handheld with a small GPS module on top. Inside, I have the normal tank-bag crap – a can of Plexus, wallet, phone, rags, pen/pencil, passport, etc. I’ve run a 12V cord in to the back of the bag with a lighter plug on the end and a triple socket adapter inside. Each morning I plug the bag in to the 12V accessory outlet on the dash of the bike and the internal connections go to the Yaesu radio, my MIX-IT 2 audio amp, and the third spigot holds a 12V-USB adapter that provides two USB power outlets. One goes to my iPod and the other I alternate between charging the bluetooth receiver and my phone, depending on which needs it more.

      What I stare at all day is the road … 😉

      Well, that and the GPS from time to time.

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