Day Twelve by Dave Schultheis
Thursday, May 31, 2001 - Mt. Vernon, Illinois
I was awake at 5:00 but went back to sleep; woke to the alarm at 7:00 a.m. and got up at 7:09 a.m. I dressed and packed while watching CNN, but left most of my stuff in the room. I had a little Continental Breakfast at the motel and got on the road for the two and a half minute ride to Dale's H-D's new location. (One and a half minutes was spent waiting at the traffic light.) I got there at 8:00 a.m., just as they were raising the roll-up door.
Butch and his crew changed the oil (black filter, please), adjusted the headlight and passing lamps and most importantly, the handlebars, which had been uncomfortable for several days.
When they had removed (what seems like) about 1/3 of the front end of the bike, they asked me into the work area to sit on the bike and move the bars up and down until I found the "sweet spot," then they tightened the bolts. It was a pleasure to get them back into a more comfortable position.
The bill was about $150 and I was out of there at 10:00 a.m. I said my thanks, got fuel at an AMOCO station, returned to the motel, loaded the bike, checked out and headed north on I-64. It was raining. How delightful.
My destination for the day was Highland, IL, so I took I-64 to exit 34, went west on IL 161, then north on IL 160 to Highland, a nice little town with wet streets. Did I mention that it was raining?
Prior to the trip, I had made several phone calls to Michael's Swiss Inn, talking with various employees. They had tentatively arranged to put me in Room 135 so that I could park the Road King in the alcove right outside the room. (Isn't it nice to deal with a small, family-owned motel, where they're eager to meet their customers' needs?)
The location of Meet In The Middle had changed after I'd made my original reservation, so I had to cancel some nights, but the people at Michael's were so nice that I just had to stay one night at The Swiss Inn, to see what it was like.
I got there at 11:36 a.m. and Charlene gave me the key (a real metal key!) to Room 247, upstairs. I had to park the bike about 50 yards away, but could secure it to a post and could see it from the room. (Evidently they had booked a wedding party after M.I.T.M. had moved, and the bride was going to be in Room 135.) I was walking pretty well, so going up and down the stairs was not as painful as it had been earlier in the week.
After I'd gotten settled in the room and hung up my things, I went down to the restaurant. At first glance, it appeared to be a pretty fancy place. I felt a little underdressed in my H-D tee shirt but the waitress said that I would be just fine. It was 12:35 p.m. and there were very few people dining.
I had an excellent lunch of cream of asparagus soup, fried Walleye and lemonade. The food was great and the service was excellent. For some reason, this was one of the best meals I'd had to date on this trip. And it was only $18, plus I left a nice tip for the great service.
Back at the room, I called the insurance company again. The adjuster assigned to my case was out until the next week so I had to talk to someone else - again.
I checked phone messages and returned a call or two. I looked out the window and all I could see was rain, rain, rain.
I walked to the motel office to meet Ruth, one of the people to whom I had spoken on the phone. She told me a little about the place and how to get to the Cardinal Inn and Buzzie's, two places that were quite popular with the people who had attended prior M.I.T.M.s.
Since lunch was digesting, it seemed like a good time for a nap. I woke about 4 hours later to sunshine, so I got up and rode over to Buzzie's Diner about 6:30 p.m., had a steak sandwich, a strawberry shake and watched the floor show.
Quite a few local residents did pass through, all having a good time. Kids runnin' around, French fries flying around the dining room and one milk shake taking a nose dive to the floor. I halfway expected to see one or two other M.I.T.M.ers but wasn't surprised when I did not.
So I took some pictures outside, rode back to the Swiss Inn, discovered that I had left my Sprint PCS phone there and had missed two calls. Oh, well.
I got a phone call from my friend John G. in Saratoga, then watched some CNN and TVLAND and went to bed about 10:00 p.m.
Miles for the day = 66.
Miles for the trip = 4696.
Nice people met today = several more.
Tomorrow: Meet In The Middle.