Thursday, May 20, 2010

CIW 2010 - Day 5

The final morning of the trip up and we got out of the hotel without much effort. Since we didn't have to be to the factory until 1pm we didn't rush so much and left the motel by 8:30 having already consumed a free continental breakfast.

The plan was simple, mostly interstate all the way up, and other than crossing the Mississippi on I-80 we weren't supposed to have any more interaction with the great river. Well that didn't work out so well. After leaving the motel and getting on I-74 we immediately saw signs saying I-80E was closed at the river bridge. Silly me, I continued on until I reached the bridge and then followed the detour signs all the way back down into Bettendorf almost to where we started. There we crossed the river on I-74 and continued until we found John Deere Rd. just before 280. In hind sight it would have been quicker to take 280 north to 80W and then catch I-88 but I was following the GPS which told me to go up John Deere Rd which eventually became I-88 as it crossed I-80.

From that point on we were on the originally planned route of interstate. We stopped for gas along I-88 near Ronald Reagan's birthplace. Just like every other stop on this trip, people had to ask about Reagan's bike. No one really cared about my old beat up BMW. It's just as well I guess.

From I-88 we took I-43 to Milwaukee. I was really bored with the ride, so Reagan was doing most of the leading with me in the rear handling navigation. When we got to town we went up to the Pilgrim Rd Power Plant Operations facility and took a tour. Folks up here don't know how to give a tour like they do in Kansas City. None the less, Reagan and I enjoyed seeing how the motors were made and assembled.

After the tour we got back on the bikes and headed downtown to the Hilton were the convention is. As usual, the attendee parking is on the street and highly disorganized. It's going to cost me $48 to park the bikes for two nights. At least the internet is free and seems to be of decent quality. We got a nice corner room on the 11th floor with a view of the city which means I probably won't need an alarm clock in the morning to wake up.

Here's a personal observation, I don't know if it's because we are on the east side of the Mississippi or because we are so far north or if it's because motorcyclists are afraid to take their hands off the handgrips but people up here don't wave. That's fine if they want to be rude, just so long as they keep their rude butts up here.

Today's ride covered 264 miles over a 6 hour 43 minute period from motel to hotel. That's not bad considering I got a factory tour and some customer crisis work in there as well. I'll be in the convention tomorrow so no ride report. Saturday we are leaving after the convention to save a few bucks on the room, especially with parking being $24/day. Sunday is the big day as we plan to put in 600 miles to get closer to home. Then Monday we'll find some back roads and possibly make it home. So check back here Saturday night for the next installment of the ride.

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