Day 35 - 8/5/07: Chicago, IL to Effingham, IL

Day 35 - Chicago to Effingham

I woke up at 8:30 this morning and switched my clothes to the dryer. Eric had already left for the shop so it was just Brain, Synthia, and me at the house. They asked if I wanted any breakfast, but I wasnít hungry. I showered and got ready while my clothes dried. Brian pulled the Sprinter around back to load my bike, then I packed up and loaded all of my stuff into the Sprinter.

We drove over to the Crete house to get my tent. It had rained last night while the tent was still up, but at least it had a chance to air out after being packed up wet in Dawson Creek. While I was packing up my tent I found a frog. I took a pic in order to add it to my wildlife list.

We got to the shop and I loaded all of my stuff up onto the bike. I loaned Eric my heated vest. I wonít be needing it anytime soon with all of these 100+ degree days. I also returned his cold weather gloves. I was surprised that I didnít need them on the trip.

After I had finished packing we went to get lunch. We went to the log cabin restaurant, and I have no idea what the real name of it is. The food was fantastic, and there was lots of it. We talked about Ericís upcoming trip to Alaska. He is taking a cruise with Synthia up to Anchorage, then riding a newly purchased bike up to Deadhorse then back to Chicago. I canít believe how stuffed I was after lunch. I felt like I was going to burst.

We went back to the shop after lunch and I started collecting my gear together to head out. However, I could only find one glove. I have no clue how I lost one. Iíve had it with me for 10,500 miles. I wore these gloves for 98% of my trip, all the way to the Arctic and back, and now I had lost one. I had an extra pair, but it felt weird putting on a new pair of gloves. I decided to wear the ďoldĒ glove I did have, and wore the ďnewĒ glove on my left hand rather than wearing a whole new pair for the last two days of my trip. Before heading out I decided to hit the bathroom. On the way I tripped over some of Ericís shop equipment and slammed my left knee into the concrete floor. Great, just when my knee was getting over being slammed down onto the Alaska Hwy, I do it again!

I geared up and got on the bike. Eric and Brian came out to wish me farewell. I rolled out of the shop around 4:30 pm. I gassed up before getting on the interstate. The plan was to spend the morning with Eric and Brian, then leave in the afternoon to make Effingham, IL for the night. I went about 50 miles down the road when I started getting drowsy. While it was hot outside, I think this bit of drowsiness has been brought on by the end of the trip, not to mention my very full belly. For so many weeks now Iíve seen all new sites and experienced new things. Now that I was back in my comfort zone, practically in my own backyard, I started to relax. These past two days Iíve noticed that my shoulders and back have been sore. I guess I am getting less tense the closer to home I go. So anyway, I got off the interstate and got my new favorite hot weather snack; an ice cream sandwich and a diet Dr. Pepper. I met two BMW riders while I was snacking. One was on a R1200C and the other was on an older R100RT. They were taking a tour of southern IL and were headed back to Chicago. I told them about my trip and they related it to the article in the BMW ON magazine about a similar trip. They wanted to beat the rain, so they headed out while I finished snacking.

 Iíve come to realize that rain is part of the trip, part of riding a bike day in and day out. I remember back to my first day of rain in MN. I remember writing that ďToday, in a word, was wetĒ, that it had rained a total of 15 min. Since that first rain day Iíve ridden an approximate total of 5 hours in the rain, some of it up to 1.5 hours in one go. It really isnít that big a deal anymore. I actually find myself wishing for rain to help cool me off with these hot temps.

 Unfortunately I didnít get any rain, but I did sweat a lot inside my jacket, somehow the two just donít compare. The sun started going down about an hour outside of Effingham. Once it was dark I thought my headlight might be messed up. It was pretty dim. If it wasnít the headlight then perhaps it was all of the splattered bugs on the headlight cover. When I stopped at a rest stop to have a look, I realized my sunglasses were on. Like I said before, I always wear glasses and itís easy to forget. After I ďfixedĒ my headlight, I rode the rest of the way to Effingham. I stopped to get gas and some water on the way to the hotel.

 I checked into the hotel and took a nice long shower. I called Patty to let her know I would be arriving at McKendree in time for the welcome home party. Then I got on the computer and watched a little TV. I broke with tradition and skipped the pizza. I was still so stuffed from lunch that I didnít want to think about food. I ended up the night around 12:30 and went to bed.

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