Canada 2013

Day 01

June 15

 I've been getting the 'road itch' pretty bad so I am up early and ready to roll this morning. I got Frost packed up last night and have to toss a few last minute items into a saddlebag and we are off like a dirty shirt. 

As I make my way out of Nashville, I remember the old childhood saying -

'Red Sky at night, sailor's delight, Red Sky in the morning, sailor's warning'

There is actually some substance to this -

Red sky at night, sailors delight.
When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.'

From the Library of Congress

Which makes perfect sense since Jesus mentions it in Matthew 16:2-3.
 But since I'm not a sailor and I have my rain gear (as yet to be really tested), I just enjoy the crimson hues of the early morning. 
 But all too soon, I encounter my first construction zone .... 
 and then another one. And I'm sure these unfortunately will not be the last ones either. 
  There is not a lot of romance in knocking out over 800 miles in one day unless you really enjoy riding two wheels - which I do. I have all of my ST1100s set to up to be very comfortable since I am way past the 'look at me, ain't I a tough rider' days. You can see some amazing things when you are not encased in a metal cage. This old barn catches my attention as I head northward. It's always stuck with me how much better shape the barns in the north are than the rickety old lean-tos that I grew up around and jumped out of. Those of my youth were a little more than a milking place and hay haven, seldom used to shelter the livestock. This one is old, but still looks pretty weather tight to me.  
 But far too soon, I'm snatched from my pleasant reverie back into the land of orange barrels standing as menacing sentinels. 
 I always call this run the bridge run, since I cross the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers on this route. 
 And I know just where the Bob Evans is located at about the right time for a fuel and hydraulic break, not to mention a lovely breakfast. Two restaurants I can always count on for a good breakfast are Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel. The quality, price and service are usually predictable which is nice when you don't have time for a culinary adventure. 
 After knocking down a great sausage and cheese omelet I'm back at the task at hand. I give Superman a nod as I pass by his hometown of Metropolis. 
 I've done this particular section of slab so much I could probably give a mile marker by mile marker guided tour. One of my favorite views on the way is the lovely Rend Lake that I57 cuts across. 
  Coming from a place where there is little flat land, I still am fascinated by the fields that stretch out as far a I can see. My grandfather's farm of 75 acres didn't have much of flat place on it anywhere. The old house and barn were pitched on a hillside, along with the 'house outback'. I grew up running the hills and to this day I love a high spot to look out from.  
 I notice a big cross memorial up ahead. It reminds me of the one out along I40 near Amarillo. It also reminds me of the One who gave His Life for me that I might have the freedom of soul that I have. 
 As I make my way further through farm country, I see more and more deer strikes on the side of the slab. More than one rider has been sent to their ultimate destination by deer.  
 Soon breakfast and the miles have done their necessary work, and it's time for another fuel and de-fuel break. 
 Back on the road, it appears that I am fixin to run smack dab through a forest of wind mills. I understand their purpose and appreciate their use, but I sure do wish they could come up with a plan that made them a lot less of a visual intrusion. 
 Somehow seeing a field like this and ... 
 seeing a field like this gives a whole different meaning to progress. 
 The sky looks a little less than promising and I can tell they've had lots of rain in these parts as the river is a muddy swirl. 
 But I see a blue hole up ahead, and figure I'll just ride on. Putting on rain suit is lot like 'baking in a bag' and I like to avoid it when I can. 
 There's some interesting rock formations as I ease into Wisconsin that catch my eye. 
 Dotted across the landscape are some pretty nice barns too that have been 'kept up' as we say out in the country. Most of the barns up here are nicer than some of the houses I lived in growing up. 
 Well, the blue has disappeared and been replaced by some pretty nasty looking stuff. Not a fan of riding in britches and boots full of water, I pull off and put on my baking bag. And it's not long before I'm really glad I did. Ain't nothing worse than sitting on the side of the road in the pouring down rain trying to get your rain gear on. 
 I notice on the final leg into Eau Claire that Wisconsin's finest are out and about in major numbers. The nice thing about having electronic cruise control on my ST1100s is I can just set it and forget it. Making a donation to the local economy via ticket is way down on my list of things I like to do. Soon enough I pull into my abode for the evening. 

One thing I always put on my reservation is a request to be near the door and on the ground floor. I don't mind steps, but it helps not having to drag my stuff up a set of steps. I made the request here, but I might as well have been talking to that rock formation a ways back. The 20-something behind the counter has put me in the furtherest room from the door on the top floor. When I check it out, I go back to see if she can swap me to something a little closer. I unfortunately am interrupting her TV program so her reply to my request is -

'Nothing I can do', roughly translated meaning 'nothing I want to do.'

This is not my first rodeo and I know better than that. But there are hills to die on and hills not to die on, so I just deal with it and haul my stuff on up. I figure I'm just staying for the night, not for a lifetime. And Ken's across the street closes early so I tend to my knitting and grab some supper. As it turns out, there are several special events happening in the city today and tomorrow which explains the heavy traffic and the heavy traffic enforcement. But I'm out of here tomorrow early, so I'll be leaving all of that behind. Sleep comes quickly as it's been a long day in the saddle.