2011 Minnesota Jeep road trip

My bike had been out of commission ever since the crash on August 27th. The late summer/early fall weather has been gorgeous and there have been bikes out enjoying it. They're killing me. John was taking his bike back to Turn One Motorsports in Plymouth for it's 600-mile service on October 8 and I was gonna go with him. It'd be something bike related.

Often I look for radio equipment on Ebay. I'd like to put another antenna on my tower for more radios. I also look for radio towers. I could always use another tower. On Ebay I found where a municipality in Stillwater, Minnesota, was selling several radio antennas, a tower, and some other gear. There were just a few days left in the auction and everything was still listed for $1. I got to thinking that Columbus Day was coming up...hmmmmmmmm. I asked the seller if they would be available on Columbus Day to pick up the items and he said yes. I put bids on several antennas, the tower, and a radio cabinet. When the auction was over I won a total of eleven items for ~$250. Stuff that would have cost several thousand to buy new. I got the tower for $1.25.

The plan was to go with John on Saturday, then when I came home I would get the Jeep and trailer ready, pack, then go to bed. I would get up very early and drive to the Holiday Inn Express in Hudson, Wisconsin. The next day I would meet Dean Tilley at 8am, load up the stuff, and come home. Well...plans change. Friday evening Donna texted and said her van shredded the serpentine belt. The AC compressor had locked up. Her neighbors were going to try to fix it for her. She texted later and said they were unable to fix it. Regretfully, I called John and told him I couldn't go.

October 8

The next morning I got up and put a new compressor on her van. While I was changing it I started forming another plan. When I was done with the van I could go home, pack, and leave late this afternoon. This would give me more time getting there, and I could travel some of the Mississippi River Road on the way up.

I got home about 3:30pm. Took a shower. Put some routes into the GPS. Given the time of day I made reservations at the HIE (Holiday Inn Express) in LeRoy, Illinois. I had changed the oil in the Jeep the night before and checked the fluids, and I had also greased the trailer bearings and checked the tires. The rolling stock was good to go. I packed, coupled up the trailer, and made sure I had everything I needed. At 5:27pm I headed out pulling the 20' utility trailer. It wasn't a bike trip, but I was looking forward to the adventure.

My camera had been broken in the motorcycle wreck so I had bought a Canon Powershot A1100IS to replace it. This trip will be a good opportunity to try it out.

I was barely out of town but I'd probably seen fifty bikes. They were killing me. The weather for the past couple weeks was beautiful. Sunny days. Cool nights. No rain. The same was predicted for this weekend and the motorcycles were taking full advantage of it.

Just north of town I passed a nice looking black GL1800 trike headed south. It was John! He was just getting home from his trip to Plymouth. He had left at 4am and his son Johnny rode he-bitch with him. Ha! The shop had adjusted his floorboards, connected his XM, adjusted some body panel fitment, as well as did the service. He was completing a 400+ mile day himself.

I took IN46 out of Bloomington and through Ellettsville. There were a couple hot air ballons about.

I continued to see bunches of bikes. Here are a couple more in Spencer.

Something I wanted to get somewhere were a couple of locking hitch pins for the trailer and the hitch. I stopped at the Walmart west of Spencer. Got another view of the balloons. They didn't have any locking hitch pins for the trailer. I did get some foaming windshield cleaner. The windshield needs to be clean if I'm gonna take pictures through it.

It's harvest time and everywhere combines were in the field.

Having went to college at Rose-Hulman I had driven IN46 many times. It's a nice road...mostly straight with some curvature. When I left home I told the GPS to take me to the hotel waypoint. When we got to the intersection of IN46 & IN59 it told me to turn north on IN59. I've never been this way before.

In keeping with a halfway motorcycle spirit I have the window down, radio off, and I'm not using the heater or A/C. It'll be this way the whole trip.

At the intersection with I-70 I stopped at a truckstop to see if they any locking pins. Nope. A Burger King across the street called my name but I resisted. The GPS wanted me to take I-70 to Terre Haute but I felt differently. I decided to continue on IN59 northward. I had also brought paper maps and US36 looked like a good road to intersect with.

IN59 was a nice road that went through Brazil and other small towns. When I turned west on US36 I saw red/blue lights. Three police cars had a guy pulled over. It was a peaceful drive down US36. The air was getting cool. The clatter of the turbodiesel. The rattling of the empty trailer. Some parts of the road looked familiar...deja vu? Then I remembered we had went this way on our trip to Springfield last summer.

It looked like they were having some sort of festival in Rockville. There were dozens of motorcycles parked and riding around. Their courthouse had a neat glow. US41 goes north/south through Rockville and runs from Lake Superior to Miami, Florida. Someday I'd like to ride it. Tonight I continue on until IN63. IN63 is 4-lane and anytime I've been on it it's been mostly deserted. Same tonight. There was a 3/4 moon and it gave everything a nice glow.

IN63 led to I-74, then east to Danville, Illinois. I wanted to check the Walmart there.

Its Walmart was on the other side of town and it took awhile to get there. On the way a railroad crossing signal deployed and I waited to see a train...that never came. Hmmmmmmm.

They didn't have the locks I wanted so I bought some conventional locks and some chain. There was a Burger King next to the Walmart so I went through the drive thru, utility trailer and all. The short wheelbase, diesel Jeep does a great job of pulling the trailer.

The 66 interstate miles to LeRoy passed quickly. I checked in and parked the Jeep in the rear lot. I pulled through the grass so the trailer was parked behind me and out of the way. No one could block me in this way. I chained the wheels together. My room was nice with a refrigerator and microwave. I like that. Because I am a Rewards member they gave me a package of cookies and a bottle of water. It was almost 11pm (10pm Illinois time) when I got to the room. I watched a little TV then turned in for the night. Got a long drive tomorrow.

218 miles.

Click here for the next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

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