Day Thirteen by Dave Schultheis
Friday, June 1, 2001 - Highland, Illinois
I was awake at 7:09 a.m., packed my T-Bag and got ready to go, then went down to the office for another fine Continental Breakfast. Both room clerks I had met were there, Charlene (off duty) and Ruth (on duty), as well as Mr. Michael, the patriarch of the family and owner of the Inn and restaurant.
After saying my thanks and goodbyes, I got on the road a little after 8:00 o'clock and went out through the north end of Highland, stopping to take a picture on the way.
(I believe) I continued north on IL 160, west on IL 140 and then north on Interstate 55. Just before 9:30 a.m. I took exit 44 to IL 138 and found myself on the outskirts of Mt. Olive, IL. I had made a reservation at the Budget Inn, which I found just east of the freeway. The parking lot was gravel and the place didn't look too attractive from the outside. It appeared to be about "a notch above scuzzy." (TM Redbeard Emeritus.)
There was a restaurant sharing the parking lot, and there were several motorcycles parked outside, all pretty heavily loaded. I saw clues on license plates that they were here for M.I.T.M.
I went to the motel office and asked if I could check in early. I was told that the room was not ready but that they would take my money and I could come back later for the key. It was $105 for three nights, $35 per night, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
I walked across the parking lot to the restaurant and found a table full o' bikers having breakfast. They introduced themselves as Mike Fields, Len Bradner, Darcy Hager, Banker Bob Blanchard, and LESDL and Mrs. LESDL. Some I knew from photographs, some by name, some by reputation and one I knew by hat (!). They were almost done with breakfast but kindly asked me to join them. I had a glass of milk as they were finishing.
When everyone was done, we saddled up and went out to the farm where Meet In The Middle was to be held. LESDL had a set of written directions, so we followed him to the little community of Dorchester, IL.
We got to Butch and Pam's farm about 10:20 a.m., and after negotiating a long gravel driveway, we checked in with volunteers under a canopy. After I got the Road King parked, I set about to survey the grounds and meet the participants.
It didn't take much of an effort to locate the beer wagon, which also served sodas, so I identified the Mountain Dew tap for future use. There were several buildings on the grounds, most of which were off-limits. The meadow where campers could erect their tents was huge, and I enjoyed watching folks finding the perfect camping spot, then, sometime later, finding a better camping spot.
Hard work fascinates me; I can stand and watch it for hours. I watched bikes and trailers being unpacked and tents going up. I even helped remove a long piece of barbed wire from underneath a tent.
I met and talked with Butch (our host), Greg Engel from Bakersfield, Sam, JR from STL, Tony, Jimmy "Cheezie" Johnson (our organizer), Fire Nazi Tom Ohmer, Steve Reyer (wearing his "pink frillies"), Paulie, Steve ("Poser") Tuttle, Roger Peterson, Steph & RHSD, Milo & Janet (and their new trailer), Yo Adrian!, Dale Reitz, Ken and Larry from Gainesville, Wienie (who asked me to say hello to James at Road Rider), Andrzej & Dana, Tom AH#3, Ohio Dave, Jim & Laura, Rich Johns, Pete Fountain, TLMitchell (former caretaker of my Road King), MaGGie, Bruce Bryner, Cuda, Amanda Hargis and her friend Steve, Magoo, Lee Peterson, "Furface" (Larry), Chuck Lanter, Crow Dad & Donna A., and Bob from Eau Claire, and maybe a few others.
Sometime during the afternoon, I left the farm and went back to the Budget Inn to get the room key. I had previously used various map resources to check the roads from the motel to the farm, so I was able to use a more direct route, riding through Wilsonville and Sawyerville, carefully obeying all speed limits and stop signs while doing so.
After getting the key and stowing my stuff in the room, I stopped for a sandwich and orange juice and then returned to the farm.
At the time of M.I.T.M., Redbeard Emeritus (with whom I had ridden previously at a memorial run in San Francisco, and in fact, it was he who "slimed" me) was recovering from an unscheduled dismount in March 2001 in Texas, so he showed up with his "custom shovel." I'll leave it to the reader to either imagine what it looked like or to find a photo of it on someone's page. During the time I was gone, R.E. arrived, presumably to much fanfare, as people were very happy to see him alive and well, walking and talking, drinking and especially laughing.
There was lots of laughing and many lies told, and I believe some beer was consumed. People came from all over, and spread out all over the property, and everyone had a pretty good time.
I got back to the motel a little after 9 p.m. And that is another story.
It's hard to explain the place. The building looked old and tired, not that there's anything wrong with being either old or tired. I was given a metal key and a television remote control unit and warned not to lose either one. The room was small, very old and very worn, but apparently clean, with a light in the ceiling. There were three nasty wire hangers and some very tired linens: two wash cloths and two bath towels; no other in-between size provided.
The room did have a cable television system with CNN and a few other choices. The telephone had loose parts rattling around inside. The couch, chair and coffee table had all seen better days. The door to the room had been damaged and it appeared that the chain replaced more than once. While walking to the office and back, it appeared that every door to every room had been broken down once or twice in the past.
So I guess one could confirm that the motel was in fact one notch above scuzzy. Okay, maybe a half notch.
All together now: I took a shower, watched CNN and went to bed.
Miles for the day = 93.
Miles from home to the farm = 4754.
Miles for the trip = 4789.
Number of one-way trips down the long gravel driveway so far = 6.
Tomorrow: More Meet In The Middle.
Note: if your name is included and you don't want it to be here, please let me know and I will remove it, or just use your last initial. On the other hand, if you would like an alibi, I will be glad to sign your affidavit.