Day 34 - 8/4/07: Chicago, IL


Our ďsleep inĒ turned out to be around 9:00. Over a breakfast of cheesy eggs we had to figure out how to get 4 bikes to the shop, and deliver a scooter, with all 3 of us (Eric, Brian, and me), in the Sprinter. Eric wanted me to ride the BMW LT back to the house or the shop as neither he nor Brian had a helmet at the house. I did not have insurance on the bike and had never ridden one before and did not feel comfortable riding it back. While I could have ridden my bike back, the LT would not fit in the Sprinter with the 2 R1100RSís (one of which was a boxer cup).

 Brian unloaded the scooter and we drove the empty Sprinter over to Chicago BMW. Peter said my bike checked out ok and that there were no problems with the bike, just the operator. Ha ha, very funny! Brian loaded up Markís (our brother this time) R 1150 RS, then the Boxer Cup that Eric just purchased. Finally we loaded up my bike. Brian was amazed at how dirty it was. I told him he should have seen the bike in Deadhorse. You know, itís weird. Every time I think about Deadhorse, I have a longing to go back and visit the Arctic. I know Iíve said this before on the website, but it really was amazing. It was a totally new experience for me. Never had I been in an area with no cities, no hospitals, no stores, no gas stations, no trees, no nothing at all. When I would pull over to the side of the road and turn off the bike, there was silence. The only sound you would hear was the wind. The only other time I had heard ďnothingĒ was in Las Vegas, out in the desert away from all the people. The weather during my Arctic visit was amazing. Even though it was cool outside, the sky, the wind, the scenery, everything just came together to provide me with this amazing experience. Even as I write this, I feel a strong desire to return to that land.

 Both Brian and Eric were amazed at the condition of the bike. I showed them where the bolts had backed out of the rear fender and recounted the story of it ripping off the bike. Brian pointed out that I had not replaced the bolt that backed out of the CB antenna mount. Brian was really amazed at all the bugs on the windshield and headlight protector. Eric was amazed that the frame could withstand all of the weight I had in the saddle bags. I will tell you this, the R1150GS Adventure is a tank. It took everything I threw at it. Overloading, dropping the bike, poor gas octane, low oil, coming close to overheating, and yet it still went on and on, it never gave up. It became the one companion I could count on to get me through the rough times and to bring me all the way home in one piece. I donít know how I saved my ass on multiple occasions, but Iím sure the bike and its inherent stability had something to do with it.

 After loading everything up we decided to grab lunch. I was really in the mood for a sandwich. I hadnít had a good sandwich since Anchorage. So we went to the Olive Garden and I had manicotti, oh well, you canít win them all. After eating we dropped my bike off at the house and picked up the scooter. We had to deliver it to a guy about an hour away. We left the other bikes in the Sprinter as they needed to go to the shop in the morning.

 We delivered the scooter to an older gentlemanís house. I hadnít had any time to look over the scooter, but when I got a chance to, it was actually pretty nice. It was a Piaggio 500cc scooter. I remember back in the 80ís all I wanted was the Honda 500cc Interceptor. And now, here was a scooter with the same engine displacement. It even came with saddlebags and a top case. The guy made quite a deal on it as well. He bought it out of state and had Eric pick it up and deliver it. Brian actually drove out to the west coast somewhere to pick it up, but even with delivery charges the price was a steal. The 4 of us talked about bikes, scooters, and my trip for a while. After an hour or so we headed out.

 We went to REI as Eric still needed to find a tent for his Alaska trip with Synthia. He picked one out and the salesman had Eric put it together right in the store. Brian and I watched while Eric worked. He purchased a BMW GS in Anchorage and would be riding back to Chicago solo, so he needed some practice with putting up the tent, solo. Brian found a new setup for his bike, a smaller tent, and an air mattress / sleeping bag combo where the air mattress was integrated into the sleeping bag. Eric decided not to buy the tent in Chicago as it needed to be shipped to Alaska, but he did find an REI in Anchorage and purchased the tent there. He then went to the truck to hang out while Brian and I wandered the store for a few more minutes.

 On the way home we stopped at a Target. I had driven past this Target several times in my other visits to Chicago, but didnít realize how unique its construction was. Itís built right up to the street edge, and on top of a parking garage. The Sprinter wouldnít fit in the garage, so Eric parked on the side of the entry street to the garage. Brian and I went in to get some drinks, snacks, and the Hot Fuzz DVD. This is a 2 story Target and the movies were upstairs. When we got to the escalator I was rather amazed. I never really thought about the question of how to get a cart up and down an escalator, but apparently someone had. In the center of the up and down escalators was a cart escalator. I was blown away by this. Iím sure itís no big deal to some people, but it was simply amazing to me. We found the movie, got some drinks and some candy bars, then went back to the Sprinter. Eric told us he had been hassled by the crack security squad at Target. They wanted him to move and he said he would when we got back. The security guard drove away upset that Eric didnít listen.

 We got to the house and watched Hot Fuzz. Brian and I found it quite funny. Eric fell asleep in the middle and Synthia gave up soon afterwards. Brian and I then got on our computers. I had no idea what he was doing, but I worked on more photos. I had him show me how to start the washing machine so I could wash clothes, then we kicked off to bed. It was around 1:30 when I went to sleep on the basement couch.


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