June 23, 2011

Well another day in the rainy Midwest.  Once again left Minneapolis/St. Paul in good (only cloudy) conditions but it started to rain within about a half hour.  It's getting now so that if it isn't raining we start to worry.  Bikes should be clean by Key West at this rate.  Most of the Dalton mud is already done.  Rained off and on with only a few downpours all the way to about I-80 west of Chicago.  From there to Bloomington it was just windy.  The beautiful tail wind which allowed me to keep up with traffic in a 70 mph speed limit zone was replaced by a cross/head wind from the West.  Oh well, we made real good time for a while. We were considering going on for another couple of hundred miles but there looked like some severe thunderheads looming in our direction of travel.  So we decided to stick to the plan and stay at Bloomington. Can you hear the chicken feathers rustling?  After dinner we checked over the bikes and I found that 99's chain is now getting beyond the safe adjustment stage.  I was hoping that it might just make it to Key west.  Not a chance!  In the meantime Charles discovered that the Old Girl had a slightly loose rear wheel.  Not a good thing.  The only thing to do is to see if it is the bearing (good) or the wheel (bad).  Tomorrow we will go to the local bike shop which is unusual in that it represents almost every brand of popular motorcycle except Harley.  Both Honda and BMW are represented.  Fortunately the bearings are a standard item and readily available.  The wheel may present a problem as she is almost 30 years old and parts are somewhat scarce.  We'll see what happens when the wheel comes off tomorrow morning.
   Interesting thing happened at dinner.  It turns out that the waitress had travelled extensively with her husband on a BMW motorcycle before buying a Gold Wing.  It is amazing the number of people we've met this trip that have travelled to exotic places or extensively on bikes.  Obviously we're not the only crazy people out here.
   This may delay our plans but only by about half a day if we're lucky.  Fingers tightly crossed.
  No photos unless you want to look at Wisconsin cows or Rockford traffic.  Oh - I almost forgot.  Minot ND made the national news. Looks like we got through just in time as the road we used is now closed and apparently thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.  This flood is projected to crest in a couple of days at 15 feet above the previous record set almost 100 years ago.  We just lucked out not having to take a substantial detour.
P.S. 99 informs me that she'd like to have her story told.  I said that after the ride - successful or not - she could have a blog entry just for herself.  Oh boy this should be a different viewpoint for sure.

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