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Topic: SS1K on the Chief  (Read 5847 times)

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DrMikey
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« on: September 02, 2015, 12:50:19 am »

So, I finally got around to doing a certifiable Saddlesore on the Chief. I wanted to make this more challenging that simply riding on the freeway for 500 miles, turning around and coming back.  The Whispering Giants Grand Tour makes for a few destinations worth visiting.  I hatched the idea of doing this as one would do an LD rally: visit and document several of the sculptures in a 24 hour time frame.  Make a 3 hour rest bonus, as most such rallies recommend.  An additional challenge on this ride included having a pair of dogs to look after.  My wife was out of town and our usual dog sitter was, too.  A dear friend (thanks a million, CC!) took care of them on Saturday night, but had to work on Sunday morning. This meant my rest bonus would best be obtained at home.

There are 3 Whispering Giants in Illinois, grouped fairly close together. All are near (or in) Starved Rock State Park, on the Illinois River near Ottawa.  There is only one left in Iowa, in Iowa Falls. The round trip from my home in Viroqua to Starved Rock is around 540 miles.  Add the other two sculptures, and it's more like 566. The Iowa trip is merely 190 miles one way, so to make up the additional miles I did a loop that included Albert Lea and north Winona, Minnesota.  Here's the route:



I left Viroqua at 3:12 PM on a Saturday.  The ride to Quad Cities was relaxed. Skies were overcast, temps in the low 70's.  Perfect.  One of my favorite places is just north of Dubuque, on the Mississippi:



The Quad Cities are on a corner of the first loop, so it was logical to fuel up in Milan. It might always be sunny in Philadelphia, but it always rains in Davenport. Seriously, on the last several trips I've taken through the place, it's been wet:



The evening was just right- about 68 degrees, wind negligible.  Once off I-80, rolling through the western Illinois countryside on the two lanes was relaxing. It got dark before I reached the first Giant, in Hopewell, Il. I was still experimenting with the settings on the camera:



The trip to the next one was shorter. Made a quick fuel stop in Lacon, Il, to get a reciept.  It is a bit south of Milan, and serves as documentation that I took an indirect route to Starved Rock. The giant there is at the visitor center. It took me two laps to find it, as it is tucked away in a corner.  Very obvious once you find it, though:



On to Ottawa. This one's right on the river, in a park that was posted as closing at 10 PM. I arrived around 10:30.  Several families were still partying, none appeared to be packing up to go home. I could smell brats grilling under a canopy-  Drool - that's right, I hadn't eaten more than a Kind Bar since leaving.  That, and my thermos full of coffee kept me going until I rehydrated at the gas stop on the way out of town. This one had some backlighting and took a good picture:



With the 3 Illinois Giants bagged, it was time to head for the rest bonus (home, as it were).  Now, if you have ever travelled Interstate 39 through Illinois, you probably prefer, as do I, to do it at night.  It has to be one of the most god-awful boring slabs in the nation.  There's usually a stiff wind out of the west, but the night was moist. The patchy fog became thicker as I rolled north. Once past Rockford, the road was more familiar.  The fog was thickest just west of Madison and became lighter the farther west I went.  One more fuel stop in Cross Plains, and I got in to my garage at around 0335 on Sunday morning.

A nap, and a change of socks and underwear and it was time to hit the road again.  Oh, and after feeding these guys:



But the fog had followed me home:



This delayed my departure until around 0645. One more fuel-up to document, and it was off to Iowa Falls.  Ethanol in gas sucks.  My mileage drops by at least 10%.  This necessitated a gas stop just east of Waterloo.  I passed someone who might have been an outlaw riding an HD. Or maybe he just looked the part- no colors, but pretty grizzled. Genuine article or not, he gave a thumbs up as I passed.  The only pic I had time to take on this loop was in Iowa Falls:



From there, it was on to Albert Lea, with a documentation/fuel stop along the way in Latimer, Iowa.  Pop the iPad in for the last couple hundred miles of mostly slab, and enjoy the ride.  I originally planned to take Minnesota Highway 16 from Preston to LaCrescent.  It runs along the Root River.  It's a real gem of a ride, but would add a good 20 minutes and shave off a few miles. Had it not been for the fog, I could have taken it, and gone east to Sparta on the Wisconsin side and then came south on 27.  As it was, my backup plan was to turn off I-90 on Minnesota 43, and go a few miles north of Winona.  Fuel up, then go south on 61 through LaCrosse to Viroqua.  It worked.  I got back to where I started at 1458, with 1018 miles on the odometer (mapquest says it was 112; I took a few errant turns and won't quibble).  13 minutes to spare.

I'll post some thoughts on gear later.

« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 12:19:33 pm by DrMikey » Logged
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st2sam
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 07:56:39 am »

Great job, thanks for sharing.

The "Official" Iron Butt plate holder will look good on that Indian.  Thumbsup
IMO you got the best looking cruiser ever made...
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 08:07:30 am »

Congrats. Don't sit on the paperwork!

That's the nice thing about a SS1K; plenty of time to stop for naps, chores, and photos.
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 09:40:14 am »

Nice ride, Mike! Congrats on getting your Chief in the game.
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naustin
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 09:45:15 am »

Now I'm going to have to Google "Whispering Giants" and get some back story.   Thumbsup  Cool trip and I look forward to hearing more about it.  Thumbsup
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olderigetfasteriam
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 10:13:25 pm »

Great job and I love the colors on that Chief!
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 01:49:14 pm »

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