We rode two bikes… me on the Connie, and Becky on her Reflex. We took Interstate through mid-IL, and pulled off onto two-lanes at Mendota. We rode US-52 to the Mississippi River. It was getting near sundown, and passed Grant's motel on the way into town (with a sign stating $60 per night), we rode to the far end of town looking for a cheaper motel… being the thrifty people we are. We did skip one that looked like they rent by the hour, and priced the others we saw.. which were much more expensive. We rode back to Grant's motel and took a room. It was run by a little old lady, who I didn't have the heart to argue with asking for discounts. The motel was old, but clean. We returned to town for dinner, ate a good meal downtown at the Log Cabin Steak House. Rather pricey, but very good. After another trip to the north end of town for soda and chips at Walmart, we returned to the motel for the night. We did sorta get lost on the NE side of town since I'd left the GPS at the motel room, and we went exploring out of town along the river.
On the way to the ice machine, I met a couple of old guys riding a wing and harley, who had been touring to Michigan from CA. They were on their way home that night… both retired, and one discussed his retirement method… bought real estate in CA years ago, and simply sold it to retire. He was looking for a cheaper home in some other part of the country. Funny discussion with him… I whined about having a 4 hour ride through ugly flat corn fields to get to any decent riding area…. HE, living in CA, complained about having to ride through 8 hours of desert to get where he wanted to ride.
We got up bright and early Friday morning, checked out, and headed out for a fun day. First stop was at President Grant's home for a tour. Got a few pictures of the inside of the house. We left our camera on the bike, and the little old lady that was our tour guide, kept hounding us about pictures until John went back to the bike to get the camera. We then had to take pictures of lots stuff in the house. Most we deleted but here's a few I kept. It was an interesting tour though.
After the tour, we headed into town for breakfast. Found a good little restaurant and had a quick, meal. After the meal, Becky asked to visit an art shop. She wouldn't let me go in for some reason. I later discovered that she'd bought over $400 worth of framed etchings to be shipped home via UPS. Unfortunately, she now knows that most any art gallery will UPS her purchases home for her. After her purchases, we headed north to Wisconsin.
Our plan was to look for the most crooked roads heading basically north, then try to find a motel near Spring Green (where we'd stayed once before). We rode mostly single and double letter roads in the SW part of WI, ending up in some small town of Richland Center for lunch. A little farm community, and darnit, we stopped in the only yuppie restaurant in the area. They had a decent Muffaletto sandwich, but also had herbal teas and vegetarian fare. Not what I expected in hilly rural Wisconsin.
After lunch, we visited the site of the original WI state capital and learned the history of how it turned out to be moved away. A very interesting sign there had a statement form Tom Ridge (ex-governor) that said "Our job… "
We worked our way to Spring Green, where we turned down the expected motel because the price had risen too high since our last visit. Found that there was a large art fair going on, and all other motels were sold out. So, we headed for Baraboo as our evening destination. We took WI highway 60 to get there… now one of my favorite motorcycle roads as it parallels the river. Pulled into Baraboo in the rain, and picked the first little mom & pop motel we found. This evening at that motel is a story in it's own.
Got up the next morning, and followed our guide's directions to Devil's Lake state park. Took the ferry across Devil's Lake to Lodi. Then it was down to Sauk City for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and then dessert at Culver's "upper scale" place named "The Blue Spoon". Then it was back to WI 60 for a run in the other direction (woohoo, I love that road).
Saturday afternoon, we meandered our way west over to the Mississippi river using single and double letter roads. Wound up at Cassville on the river, and followed the river south (on the WI side) to US 61 at Dickeyville, then back to IL. We did make one stop at the Grotto in Dickeyville for pictures.
We wound up in Galena again, and stopped at a Culver's for dinner. While there, we ran into an older gentleman who also rode a Reflex. He had his little toy poodle. He hangs a pouch from his neck, and carries the poodle in it with him on the reflex. After dinner in Galena, we hit the US highway back towards home, planning to find a motel along the way, because of the high prices in Galena.
We pulled off in Freeport, looking for a motel. There were a couple, and we actually circled a Super 8 before deciding it didn't look safe enough for us. We continued along our way. We kept riding through the night, trying to find a motel. Finally, we hit I-39 and headed south at Rockford. We pulled off at a truck stop for fuel, decided to ride all the way home, and stopped for a good hot meal.
By now it's about 1:30 AM, and we've been riding since 8:00 the previous morning. We were about 3 hours from home, and decided it'd be a waste to stop for a motel that close to home, especially when we were "up" and not feeling fatigued or tired.
Made it home about 4:00 AM. That was a 20 hour day for us… with the first 2/3 of it riding curvy, twisty roads that were quite enjoyable… the last 1/3 at night, mostly interstate, and with us wanting to sleep in our own bed.
Overall…. This was a great trip that we want to repeat. Perhaps, we'll be a little less cheap next time. We do tend to overdo it when it comes to "thrifty" motels. Adding the bike trailer so we can easily carry camping gear will help, as we prefer to camp, but have trouble packing all our camping gear when biking it. We love riding in Wisconsin. Roads are very good, people are friendly, and there's lots there we haven't explored.