Sunday, April 29, 2012

MLR 2012 - I'm Finally a Motorcycle Rider

Day 1

“You know, it’s funny what has happened to us.  Our lives have become digital, our friends now virtual and everything you could ever want to know is just a click away. Experiencing the world through endless amounts of second hand information isn’t enough.  If we want authenticity, we have to initiate it.” –Travis Rice.

The annual Moonshine Lunch Run.  I have heard of this event for years and since the passing of Terry Hammond it has seemed to become almost a pilgrimage for any rider or aspiring LD rider.  After all, Terry was quoted to say, “If you don’t make it to Moonshine, you aint a motorcycle rider you’re a motorcycle owner.”   I must admit the first time I saw this I thought to myself, “What is the big deal?   It’s just a ride up to Illinois for a burger.”

On Wednesday, April 11th I left work a bit early in order to get home and get some rest before departing for my first ever MLR. I was home and in bed by 4:30pm. The bike was already loaded up with all the clothes, gear and food I would need for the trip. I tossed and turned but eventually nodded off to get roughly three good hours of sleep. By 8:30pm I was wide awake and starving, with no chance of falling asleep again. So I put on some clothes and headed out to the local Italian joint to hit up the pizza and pasta buffet. Seeing as how I was about to embark on a 900+ mile ride though 5 states while picking up 40+ Waffle Houses in less than 18 hours, excessive amounts of carbs couldn’t hurt. After putting a hurting on some pasta noodles and pepperoni pizza I headed home to make one last check over my stuff before setting out.

Fueling up and about to head out to Moonshine! 11:00pm

I had planned my trip to leave Lexington, NC by midnight on the 12th in order to meet Darryl in Nashville, TN by 9:30am, EST. In the weeks leading up to Moonshine we had been planning a ride up together that would take us by the most WH’s on the way up. In theory it shouldn’t take 9 hours to get to Nashville, but I was planning on hitting every WH along the way (roughly 20) which would burn up some time, even if I made them quick stops. Shortly after 10pm I had made my final checks and was looking around the shop with Dad, wondering why I should wait till midnight to leave. Seeing as how the extra time might be nice to have in Nashville, I decided to suit up and head out.

11pm, I was on the road after filling up both tanks; the temperature was a brisk 38 degrees. I had all my heated gear on along with a couple layers of additional clothing. I was exactly one hour ahead of my planned schedule and I had every intention of arriving on time or early.

My first WH stop was in Morganton, NC. The ride there was a bit awkward as I was still trying to get in sync with the bike with the added layers and dealing with the cold. This was the first time I had really rode the Vstrom in low temps like this and it was taking some adjusting. My stop wasn’t as quick as I had hoped as the store was not where the locator placed via its address. My planned 5 minute stop turned into a 10 minute stop, but I was still OK as I had made a little time on the ride over.

WH stop just outside of Asheville, NC.

As I made my west and began my up in elevation the temps began to fall. Once in Asheville, NC the local temp was hovering around the freezing mark. I had never ridden a motorcycle in weather this cold before. I did my best to keep my stop times down, but fumbling with the gloves and blowing my nose at each stop was not helping. Just outside of Asheville I decided to go inside for a cup of coffee at one of my WH locations. While waiting on my coffee I warmed my gloves with the hand dryer in the bath room and splashed my face with hot water. The hot coffee did the trick and after downing a couple cups I left a few bucks on the table and continued my way west. At this point I was still ahead of my planed schedule with the start time of 12am, but was behind by 20 minutes if I shifted everything back to the 11pm start. Back on the bike I was warm and feeling great, however this did not last as the temperatures were falling below freezing as I made my way through The Gorge crossing into Tennessee.

Notice the frost on the cars...

As I entered the section of I-40 known as the gorge, I thought back to the stories my father had told me about this road. I knew that I had probably been on it at some point in my life, but this was the first time I had passed through on a motorcycle. The speed limit was 55 for trucks and possibly the same for cars. Since it was a bit after 2am I had a feeling the patrol in the area would be light so I decided to set a comfortable pace through there.

While the patrol traffic seemed to be light, the truck traffic was more than I had expected. With the road so narrow due construction and concrete barriers, I decided to give them a heads up via the CB. I keyed up with, “Hold ya line there driver, I’m on a motorcycle and coming through on the left lane under ya.” It made me feel much better when I got a “Ten-Four” from the first truck I passed while making a left next to that concrete wall. As I cleared the truck and set in for the following right hand corner the driver came back across the radio with, “Well damn Evil Knievel, where ya headed at this hour?” The name stuck. All the way through the gorge, drivers were calling me Evil Knievel as I made my way into their mirrors. Twenty miles later I had safely cleared the gorge after passing at least 50 trucks and made my way into Tennessee.

On my way to the next WH stop, roughly an hour away, my hands began to get extremely cold. The heated grips were doing ok on my palms but were failing to keep the tips of my fingers warm. I found temporary relief by putting my hands down on the ignition cover or clutch cover though it was uncomfortable to ride like that for any length of time. Just outside of Knoxville I made a stop at a Wal-Mart to pick up some jersey gloves to wear as liners with my current gloves. Dad and I had picked some up a while back but it seemed like I had forgot to pack them for this trip. I tried to keep my stop as short as possible and used the time off the bike wisely. Walking through Wal-Mart at in a hurry at 4am in full gear, gnawing on a power bar… I’m sure I was a sight to be seen. Back on the road I was now 30 minutes behind my new start schedule.

With the liners in place I was doing much better though the temps continued to fall to 28 degrees just before the sun rose on the west side of Knoxville. During the last stops I had started working diligently to cut my stop times down in order to make up the time I had lost earlier. I found that by removing only one glove and leaving the bike running I cut off a significant amount of time. As I made my way into the out skirts of Nashville I had made up over 25 minutes and was now just a couple minutes behind schedule! After I took the photo for a store just east of Nashville, I looked at my route sheet and knew I would get ahead after the next stop. As I merged back onto the highway, 40 was a parking lot.

Eventually I got through the traffic and made it to our meeting location, 20 minutes behind my new schedule. I decided to have some breakfast and took a nap in the booth at the Waffle House waiting for Darryl to arrive.
 WH stop in Nashville. Meeting location with Darryl

Waking up to kids screaming, “No, I want to order the waffle!” redefines the term, rude awakening. I looked at my phone; I must have been hour for half an hour. I glanced outside to the bike and noticed someone with a high-vis jacket talking on the phone. Bill Ouellette had decided to join us on the trip! Bill and I killed another half hour chatting in the parking lot when Darryl arrived. The rush hour traffic in Nashville had slowed him down a good bit as well. Back on the road, Darryl, Bill and I wandered our way around Nashville and eventually north into Kentucky. With the sun out and the temperatures on the rise, I was slowly starting to come out of layers at each stop.

Bill Oullette decided to join us for the ride up.

Our route took us up I-65 through Bowling Green, Louisville and eventually Indianapolis where the last Waffle House on our trip up was located. After a WH stop in Louisville our GPS’s were not all on the same page as far as the route was concerned. So we made a quick stop in a brake shop parking lot and as we pulled in I noticed a group of Harley’s parked out front. I suppose it was “ride to work day” with them. While we were getting our routes fixed I glanced over to see all the workers (I assume owners of the bikes out front) standing at the edge of the shop doors staring at us. We were there, 5 minutes top and during that time not a single one walked out to say hello or ask if we were ok. Heck, I had a WH worker come outside at 3am to see why I was taking a photo of his store, why wouldn’t another group of riders check on each other? So on my way out I decided to show the Harley owners what they would never do on their bikes… As I made the right out of the parking lot I slipped the clutch a bit, mid lean, just to get the RPM’s up around 3500. From there I let the clutch go followed by a quick blip of the throttle. The front end began to lift up as I was starting to come out of my lean. Once the nose was up I feathered the throttle a bit to keep it in the air till I finished my exit then set it down and grabbed 2nd gear. J Now go ahead and fuss at me, I know you probably want to do so; Mike Brown sure gave me an ear full when I told him about this. The Vstrom characteristics that are so similar to a dirt bike, it felt so good to do that.

New motorcycle state! Kentucky.

 Following Daryll and Bill.

Traffic was light till we got up to Indianapolis which was around 4:30, CST. As we got off 65 for a store just before our merge with 465, I noticed that the traffic heading north was at a standstill. We were already behind and looking to be late for the dinner on Terry’s farm, so while the guys were topping off with fuel I looked in the GPS for a way around the 65/465 merge. Luckily there was a two lane road that would lead us straight to 465 just a couple miles west of 65. This worked great until we got down that road and I realized that the intersections I saw on the GPS were not managed by stop lights, they were 4 way stops. To my surprise the people of that town were really good with it and traffic moved rather well. (Charlotte has yet to figure out the 4 way stop concept.)

Crossing the Sherman Minton Bridge into Indiana.

New motorcycle state! Indiana.

Crossing back over the Ohio River. This time on the Kennedy Memorial Bridge via I-65.

Once we picked up our last WH location for the ride up (43 stores for me) we set our sights west down I-70 to Terry’s farm just outside of Casey, Illinois. The speed limits were low with warning signs claiming $1000.00 fines, seeing as how I’m sending around $1000.00 to Georgia for my last one, I didn’t push the issue.

Just before our exit in Casey we approached a large enclosed trailer with graphics all over it. How ironic is it that I pass Robby Knievel’s trailer as we close out the day/ride when I was called Evil Knievel just 15 hours earlier by all the trucks in the gorge?

Irony...passing Robby Knievel just as I am about to get off the highway for the day.

We pulled into the farm around 6:30pm CST. The food was all but gone, however the cooks had a bit of meat left they heated up for us. I exchanged handshakes and hugs with the members that I knew there and discussed the ride events before heading to the hotel for the night. When I arrived at the hotel the GPS was showing my mileage for the day was 924 miles, I had left the house 21 hours prior. So close…

Day 2

7am, bomb raid sirens are going off in the distance. I reach over to shut off my alarm and crawl out of bed. I decided to wake up early this morning so that I could get breakfast in and adjust my chain before the day’s events. After a quick wash up I headed into the lobby hoping that the hotel breakfast was worth a darn. I was in luck, hot waffles, sausage, muffins, juice and coffee. I made my plate and pulled up a chair alongside Mike Brown and his better half, Joanne. Casual conversation moved from table to table and the crowd came and went for about an hour.

Later I grabbed my camera and headed outside to the parking to get some photos of the bikes that were there. As I made my way out I noticed Richard Buber had “Relentless” torn down in the parking lot. I walked over and offered any tools I had available if he needed. Relentless had thrown a bearing down in the bottom end and was making one hell of a racket. It was amazing to hear that the bike began making the noise in Kentucky and it got him to the hotel.

Just down from Richard was Brian Hiley’s new Super Tenere. He had told me that he was building one while we were walking around the Sunshine Mall in Daytona month ago. I got to see it momentarily the night before at Terry’s farm and was impressed with the aux lights he added to it. On the way home that night before he rode about a half mile behind me and it looked as though he was one large spot light from that distance!

 Brian Hiley's new Super Tenere.

 Denali lights, two driving lights and two fog lights. They were impressive!

Tim Yow, a local to the area had put together a few events for those of us that arrived early to for the MLR. First up was a lunch buffet at the U-Hotel in Charleston, Ill followed by a trip to Mid-America Motorworks Corvette Museum. Afterwards he had scheduled a visit to friend’s private collection of antique John Deere tractors. Following this list was the Friday night dinner at Richard’s Farm Restaurant which was across the field from the hotel.

Just before noon, Tim Yow arrived in a burgundy C5 convertible Corvette. He had purchased that Corvette just a few months prior to Terry’s passing. I suppose Tim chose to take it out in honor of Terry and to have something of his involved with the event he created. A few moments later I joined 100 other bikes behind Tim Yow’s Vette’ as we made our way to lunch. It was an impressive sight to look in the mirror and see a long line of motorcycle lights in the distance.

 Following Tim Yow to lunch at the U-Hotel. 

"Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy!"

Bikes pulling into the U-Hotel parking lot for lunch.

As we enjoyed our meal at the hotel the weather began to take a slight turn for the worse. Rumors were moving about that the riders that went to Saint Louis for lunch were stuck waiting out a frog downer that was headed our way. After checking the radar it appeared as though the rumors could be true. Many of the people at the lunch decided to head on back to the hotel rather than ride around the Illinois country side in the rain. Personally I figured it would be more enjoyable to find myself hunkered down in a Corvette Museum than a hotel room. So I took the chance and followed Tim Yow over to Mid America Motorworks.

 Lunch with the group.

As the crowd was gathering in the parking lot and gearing up for the ride back, the rider to my left motioned to a bike a few spots up and said that it looked a lot like his previous bike. I acknowledged him but didn’t think much of it figuring the odds were pretty slim. As I continued to suit up I saw the riders exchange handshakes and after a couple moments the guy exclaimed, “Wow! It’s so cool to see my old bike back here!” Turns out the previous owner traded his bike in for his current bike some years ago. The current owner confirmed the purchase location and time and after a once over the previous owner was sure that it was his old bike. The riders each took photos with one another at the bike and another witness took their photo together. I must admit, that was pretty cool to see that unfold. What are the odds of that happening?

From Charleston it was a 30 minute ride south to Effingham, Ill where the museum is located. Just off I-57 is a very well manicured front lawn with flags along its perimeter. For any Corvette or air-cooled VW enthusiast, pulling into Mid-America Motorworks is like walking into a toy store as a child. At the end of the entrance drive way are two large warehouses with various murals painted on each one and in between them sits a replica service station from the 50’s, complete with pumps and signage. Parked out front of the museum was a new Grand Sport C6 that was owned by the company. We joked that it was their parts runner for the local customers….


The museum was rather small; however, they had several rare Corvettes inside and tons of signage and history about this American sports car. I moved from car to car and learned so much more about the car that I have been in love with since I was boy. It was really neat to see pre production prototypes as well as the last C4 and C5-Z06 made. We spent a couple hours in the museum before the group slowly split up and started heading back to the hotel. I could have easily spent half a day in there looking over all the signage and drooling over the cars.
Pinch me! 



Last C5-Z06. Love the stripes on the cow, too.

Chair was selling for $400.00. I would love to have it, but damn...

Tim Yow had to leave a bit early as he had a book signing with Alan Leduc but he informed us that we would be leaving for the John Deere collection around 3:30. I stayed a bit longer to complete my purchase of a hat and a shot glass to add to my collection. On my way out I took a few moments to get some photos of the Vstrom with the service station before setting the GPS to the hotel in Casey. When the route loaded I noticed the arrival time, 3:33pm. SHIT! I put the Vstrom in the wind down I-70 east bound. I did not want to miss the John Deere collection!
At 3:29 I pulled into a rather empty hotel parking lot. I pulled under the overhang and walked into the lobby to see Rob talking with a few guys. Rob hadn’t seen Tim and didn’t know of any plans to visit the tractors. Seeing as how the weather was turning rather sour I figured they might have called off the trip. So I decided to head back outside to look at a couple FJR’s that were parked out front.

I suppose it was about an hour later when I noticed Tim sitting in the lobby of the hotel chatting with a few riders. When I asked if we were still going to see the tractor collection, he looked at his watch and said we will leave in just a couple minutes. When he turned his watch over I noticed something, it was just now reading 3:30. DOH! I was an hour ahead still and so was my GPS…
A few moments later a small group of us were following the burgundy Corvette across the country side again. We arrived at a good sized farm with several machine sheds out front. As we got parked and situated, I noticed a green stepping stone in the drive with a John Deere logo in it. I’m guessing this guy bleeds green.

Guess what might be in this barn?

The tour started in the far shed where two tractors were split in half. As soon as I looked at the front of half of the tractors I noticed something odd. There was a massive turbo mounted above the engine, triangulated frame geometry up front and a massive clutch assembly hanging off the motor. Turns out that they owner competes in tractor pulls. The owner walked us around the two machines and explained a few things about each, but honestly I tuned out after he mentioned that they were putting out 1100 hp and over 2000 lbs*ft of torque. Wow!
That is one massive snail. Just sayin...

Owner was saying the motor was around 1100hp and 2000 lbs-ft torque. That clutch might hold...

Back halfed for making life easier.

We moved over to the next area of the machine shed where the restored tractors are stored. The owner did all the work himself and to my amazement, all the tractors ran! He fired many of them up for us as he talked a little bit about them. At this point I regret not following him around the entire time as I got side tracked with certain tractors.

Single wheeled... rare (I think)

Un-Deere Taker. 

Tim Yow, the owner of this collection and some of the fellow riders.

Eventually we made our way to the second machine shed where he had even more tractors in storage, though these were a bit “newer” than the ones in the first shed. When we reached the end of the second shed I noticed there was another tractor with aluminum wheels and custom frame. The owner informed us that this was the tractor he was going to use this season in the series. He wasn’t sure if it would start since he hasn’t turned it over since he finished the build last fall. As the engine turned over, white smoke rolled out of the stack and after turning over for a few seconds, she sneezed and then came to life! Dark diesel smoke came rolling out of that stack in a hurry. Once it had lit he began rolling on the throttle trying to clear it out. After a few moments the engine had cleared and he started revving the hell out of it. As you can imagine the smoke was filling the barn quick. Some of the riders started to walk out as the family members started tuning on fans while the owner was still up in his captain’s chair giving her hell. After all the mosquitoes were killed in central Illinois the owner shut it down and the rest of the crowd walked out.
Owners current tractor pull rig.  He fired this one up for us.

Letting the smoke clear out of the barn.

Rest of the crowd gasping for air.

I think I left my kickstand footie there. Oops.

Bob Fisher chatting with some riders.

"That's not too bad for a Honda."

That was pretty much the end of the tour so we started suiting back up in the drive way while the owner talked with Tim and a few others. Doors opened for dinner at Richards Farm around 5 and from Mike Brown told me, I didn’t want to be late to this one.

I pulled into the restaurant just a touch after 5pm and walked in with a few guys I met while parking. No one is ever short for conversation in this crowd, just mention bikes or riding and the stories will never end. The line to enter the banquet room wrapped through the restaurant which was well decorated with antique BBQ and farming items. Mike Brown was just ahead of me in line so I asked his better half if she would be so nice as to save a seat for her other son. As we made our way in we checked in with one of the board members who also tallied up the miles we rode getting in.

Waiting in line to enter the banquet room at Richards Farm.

Crowd for Friday evenings dinner at Richard's Farm.

The food was outstanding and the banquet room filled up quick. There had to be at least 200-300 people in that room easily. After I helped myself to thirds in the buffet I moved to desert. I don’t know what it was I ate but it was sweet and it was good. After the crowd had sufficiently stuffed itself one of the board members (I’m terrible with names) spoke for a bit about the event and Terry. He introduced Terry’s family members and let them speak for a few moments. Afterwards they handed out the long distance awards to those that rode over 1000 miles to get to Moonshine. As you can imagine, they handed out a lot. They even handed out a special award to a girl who was turning 13 that day and was visiting for the 5th consecutive year. I think the goal there was to embarrass her as much as possible. It worked quite well.
After the dinner was complete the crowed headed back to their hotels or campsites. I went back as well, took a quick shower and walked over to Mike’s room to join a group for drinks and Amish jerky. (Its Mike, did you expect less?) Darryl, the other Mike and Joanne, Kevin and his wife were all in there. We chatted till about midnight then the group dispersed and went to their rooms for the night. I wasn’t quite ready for bed at the time so I walked down the lobby to see what was happening. Russ Dickerson was up chatting with Brian Hiley and a few others. I sat in with them till close to 1am before I called it a night.
Joey Lawson had left Asheboro earlier that afternoon and was scheduled to arrive in the early morning hours. On my way back to my room I left a key and note with the front desk informing them of his arrival. I woke up briefly around 4:30am when we made his way into the room.

Day 3

Moonshine! Cinnamon rolls, Moonburgers and rainy weather! How could this not be a great day? When I woke up I did my best to be quite and not wake Joey but to my surprise however he was up and moving when I got out of the shower around 8am. Once I was dressed I headed down to the lobby to try the almost world famous cinnamon rolls that everyone raves about. As I entered the stair well leading to the lobby I could smell the cinnamon coming from the conference room. My nose didn’t let me down, there were tables filled with many plates covered in icing. I gave my donation, selected a roll and the kind lady added extra icing for me. Hammer Down was already in the lobby with his iPad out socializing with the other riders. I took my place at the table next to him and proceeded to inhale my cinnamon roll. A few moments later, Joey made his way in and didn’t look half bad considering the lack of sleep and miles he just rode.


Home made cinnamon rolls, different flavors, different options. She had plenty!

After getting my breakfast down I got my gear together and wandered out to the hotel parking lot to speak with a few members I had seen walking in and out.  I was taken back when I stepped outside to see the number of bikes that were already at the hotel preparing to head to Moonshine.  As I walked around with Joey, bikes continued to pull in one after the other.  To my surprise it wasn’t just LD bikes that were coming in, there were sport bikes, classic bikes, dressers, tourers, dual sports.  Riders of all types were pulling in.  The weather was poor, it rained pretty hard after Joey arrived and the skies weren’t looking to promising for rest of the day but that didn’t seem to stop the riders from making the trip to the Moonshine store.

Joey rolled in early Saturday morning.

Looks like the Pope-Mobile.

I'm guessing its a small dog...

Crowd gathering at the host hotel in Casey before heading to Moonshine.

Russ Dickerson doing what he does best! Chatting with Daryll Halbert and Mike. (Vstrom discussion I'm sure)

Its a bet wet but everyone was ready to go.

Yamaha TDM 850.  Sweet looking bike. Shame they didn't take off here. I can see where the Tenere started...

We didn't do it! 

Around 10am Joey and I followed Mike and his crew out to Moonshine. When we arrived to the store, bikes were already parked down all sides of the cross roads. Mike didn’t see a point in parking on the street and made his way into the main lot across from the store. Once the bikes were parked I made my way into the store for my first Moonburger.

It was as if I was stepping back in time when I walked through the front door of the store. It is really hard to put my finger on what it was about it, but there was just something special about this place. Smoke from the grill had filled the inside of store which was very low lit. Nic-nacs and various items filled the shelves and hung all over the walls. A sign was hung on the wall to the left of me that read, “Moonshine Illinois. Pop. 2 Million Friends.” After receiving my burger I snagged an orange soda out of the fridge and headed to the picnic tables out back. On my way out I asked one of the ladies where I needed to pay, she pointed me to a white tent and said, “You can pay now or pay later, your choice.” The burger was delicious, right up there with the burgers from Boone Drug.

Parked in front of the Moonshine store.

Waiting in line for my Moonburger @ 10am.

Smokey from the burgers on the grill!

This sign pretty much sums up the experience here.

Brian Hiley started on his Moonburger.

Just settling in to enjoy a fresh Moonburger.

The crowd was moving in, hoping the rain would pass.

My first Moonburger with a side of BBQ chips and a orange soda. Life is good!

Off in the distance across the empty fields a “fog” was quickly approaching. A few riders saw this band of rain coming and decided to head out, however most of them put on their jackets and helmets for protection and continued on with their conversations with other riders. We did the same until the lighting started bouncing around and the rain started coming down in sheets. At that point we decided to take advantage of a local vendor’s ez-up tent in the parking lot.

After spending a few hours at the store socializing and checking out the various bikes, Joey and I headed on back to the hotel. We made a couple stops on our way through Casey to get some photos of the town and the Welcome to Moonshine banner. As I stood in the middle of the intersection taking photos of our bikes on the shoulder, the locals would drive by waving and smiling. There were over 800 bikes in their town that weekend and from what I could gather the locals were perfectly Ok with that.

The rain is moving in...

Out comes the rain gear and helmets. A little rain doesn't stop this crowd from socializing and telling lies.

Rain got a bit heavy, we found some shelter for a few minutes.

Alan Leduc telling us about his suspension issues during his ride with Tim Yow.  Check out the ride in his book, "Passion in the Wind."

HAHAHA! Gotta get this for Dad!

The rain kept coming, but so did the riders.

Bikes, everywhere!

There really is something special about this place/event.

Riding through Casey, Ill.

Pulled over on the side of the street for a few shots.

Awesome idea to have a sign like this on each pole through town.

The town loves to have us in the weekend.  Name one other location where close to 1000 bikes gather and the the entire town loves it.

Back at the hotel we changed back into street clothes and headed down to the lobby.  As I began updating my notes on the trip, Greg and Pat Blewit sat down and joined us.  During our conversation we had several people come by, introduce themselves, tell a lie or two then head on.  (I apologize in advance for not remembering all your names.)  Around 3pm Joey was starting to look a bit rough so he decided to go up to the room to get a snack.  30 minutes later I went up to use to the restroom and I see Joey passed out, face first on the bed with his shoes still on.  But then as I got to thinking about it, that didn’t seem like such a bad idea. 

Apparently I mentioned to Joey when he woke up that I took a photo of him passed out.  He returned the favor when he saw me the same way a few minutes later. Oops.

Joey passed out...

He got revenge...

The next meal for the day was scheduled for 5pm at the local high school where the town fire department had prepared a hot dog and chili dinner. Once again, Joey and I followed Hammer down and his crew to yet another meal. ;) We were one of the first ones to arrive for the dinner, but it didn’t take long for the line to grow and make its way out of the cafeteria and into the halls of the school.

The chili was very good and to top it off, the cinnamon roll lady brought over the leftovers from the morning for us to enjoy. 2 hot dogs, a couple bowls and chili and another cinnamon roll for dinner. I was stuffed, again. During the dinner we say with Pat and Greg Blewit, Alan Leduc and Kevin Lechner who had just walked away from an incident leaving Moonshine on his ST. Fortunately he was ok and the bike looked to be repairable.

Hot dog and chili dinner at the local high school.

In good company for dinner.

Something neat about having dinner with some of the top LD riders in the country.

Like every meal this trip, there was a line out the door.

Just another fine example of the type of people here: Tim Yow had driven his truck to Moonshine that day and after Kevin’s wreck, they put his bike in Tim’s truck and then gave him a ride home. (South Georgia) I believe Tim was headed that way anyway to take Richard and Relentless home I think, but either way. You can’t ask for nicer people.

After the dinner was over we headed out to the parking lot and got wrapped up in some conversations with some ST owners. Joey’s bike is truly one to drool over if you are into LD riding so anytime we got around a group of ST owners Joey ended up explaining a lot of things on the bike to them. When we left the high school we were taken back by an amazing sunset over the town. I started to pull off the road when Joey came over the radio with, “Photo op! Good idea!”

Ah, there is the co-pilot. 

"Ok! Time to go!"

Awesome sunset leaving the high school.

Joey's ST and the Vstrom posing.

Back at the hotel we got our gear packed up and situated for our early morning departure.  We made our rounds afterward shaking hands and saying good bye to many of the people we had spend the past couple of days chatting with.  I really hated the fact that this weekend was coming to a close. 

 Day 4

Joey and I woke up around 3am on Sunday morning and rolling just an hour later.  At 4am we pretty much had I-70 to ourselves.  I called over the radio to Joey and asked him to pull beside me and turn on all his lights as I have been wanted to see just what those things will do.  IMPRESSIVE!  I wish the photo I took would have turned out.  Between the two of us we had that road lit up! 

Just inside of Indiana we encountered a detour due a vehicle fire that had I-70 east bound shut down completely. The detour wasn’t really marked all that well so we decided to wing it. That turned out to be entertaining as we found our way into random neighbor hoods at the crack of dawn. Eventually we found our way back onto the interstate, but that was an interesting detour to say the least.

Soldier driving his General Lee. (Indiana)

Our first stop for the ride back was on the north side of Indianapolis to bag and tag some WH’s I missed on the way into Moonshine. Joey was playing along on the ride back and using this opportunity to work on his stops for the upcoming Cape Fear Rally. While in Indy we found two interesting Waffle Houses, one which was next to a strip club and the second had a liquor store built onto the side of it.

New motorcycle state! Ohio!

As we made our way through Ohio the wind began to pick up and it got to the point where it was almost causing problems. There were a couple instances when we would meet the gusts after a tree line and the wind would blow us over to the shoulder and snatch our helmets to the left. We also found that when battling the wind, passing a semi would get interesting. The wind breaking on the back of the trailer was worse than normal, but once you broke through that turbulent air it would feel like we were sucked into the side of the trailer. In reality we were leaning so hard to the right to keep upright in the wind that when the wind wasn’t there we fell into the other lane. The other issue was that we would speed up roughly 5 or more mph before we met the turbulent air coming off the nose of the semi and then we were back into the gusting winds.

Somewhere in Columbus while bagging WH’s I found another issue with using a GPS. Apparently at one of the stops my GPS didn’t recognize that I did in fact make it to the location. So when I pulled out it decided to route me back around to the store again. However, seeing as how I had never been to Columbus I didn’t realize I was on the way back to the same store till I was a few hundred yards from it again… Doh.

Once we got through Columbus it was a short ride down to Lancaster which was the half way point for our trip home. After bagging the local WH we stopped for lunch and fuel. A couple guys on sport bikes pulled up next to us at Subway and began asking us where we were heading and talked to us about some of their favorite spots to ride in the area. From the sounds of it, there are some decent roads on the SE side of Ohio.

Nice talk with the owners of these bikes. Guy on the busa' seems to do alot of riding. 

The vampire killers on low... 

We took 33 down through Ohio and onto 77 just inside West Virginia. 33 was a nice 2/4 lane road that went along next to a small stream/river. Seeing as how it was the only non-highway riding we did the entire trip, I suppose it was one of the best roads we found ourselves on.
Bridge repair crossing into West "By God" Virginia.

Kinda neat inside...

Looking back to Ohio.

Change of scenery in the distance.

The rest of the ride down was rather uneventful. Our next/last WH stop was in the middle of Virginia along 77. We stopped just shy of it for a rest break and to get a cold drink when I found these gems. Sometimes you have to wonder what people are thinking.

Cause that makes alot of since, I guess.

Sun setting as we approached Pilot Mountain on the last stretch home.

We arrived in Lexington sometime around 8pm I think. Joey stopped by the house to say hello to my parents before heading back home himself. Mom and had made some ice cream cake cupcakes for my birthday so we enjoyed a couple of those before he left and we all called it a night.

I still haven’t quite figured out what it is about Moonshine that is so special. Perhaps it’s the riders that show up from all over the country, the donations that are made to the local charities during the event, the bond between all types of motorcycle riders? I’m sure the experience is different for everyone. However, with my first MLR complete I can now call myself a rider as far as Terry is concerned and I’m OK with that.

I got my Moonshine sticker.  Proudly displayed on the windshield.  Hope to add more in the future. (Perfect slogan for the trip)

For more photos of the trip, be sure to visit my photobucket page. There are a bit over 200 photos.  Take your time and enjoy.


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