Saturday, August 21, 2010


Got up and rustled my gear together quickly. My brakelines were in down the street at the Sportland motorcycle shop... and after almost three days stuck in Urbana I was eager to get the hell going again.

Lugged my boots/helmet/gear on down and there were the lines waiting for me. Warren, the stern Lutheran service manager had already assembled the components... these were "universal" lines. I took them outside and got to putting them on in the heatring sunshine next to my special picnic table. Found out the eyelet fittingfs wer TOO WIDE.. and for a moment freaked out... buyt realized I had just enought threads on the bolt to get them on. Heh Heh... The shop took the bike inside to fill/bleed the system, and with much ado, I was OUT of there.

Thank God. Back on the ROAD again. I plugged my new headophone buds into the Mp3 and started humming along to Merl Haggard and Jeff Beck.
After 25 miles I stopped to tank-up on water at a rest stop...critically inportant because you don't realize how much you're losing in 90-degree, 80-mph wind all day. Anyway I looked things over and something was missing... MY LEATHER JACKET.. and after a brief moment of cursing & self-flagellation I TURNED AROUND and rode half an hour BACK TO URBANA. I got to the shop, picked up the jacket, (they had stored some of my gear in the back room). I said, "I hope you guys don't take this wrong, but I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN".

About four hours later the hills were getting flatter and I was headed into Iowa, finally crossing the Mississippi at Burlington. I was headed for a small town called Washington... where one of my American buddies living in Ningbo China comes from. Both he and his sister have restaurants called "Diodici Cafe"... half a world away from each other.
I rolled in around dusk.. tired and bug-splattered... a tidy little town built in around a square where some lady was singing gentle songs over a PA system. The restaurant was a little nicer than I'd expected, (ceryainly above the level of Randy's in China).. I introduced myself and there wasn;t as much fanfare as I'd expected... to genteel a place.. although I did meet Randy's nieces and sister, who were briefly interested that I knew Randy in Asia. Tortellini Bianco for $16 a plate... ended up spending about $35... quite over my tight budget... but okay.. mission accomplished.

Made it north to Sioux City and found a Motel 6 on the edge of town. It's alwasys a great relief when you get a decent (cheap) place because you never know when a convention is in town or college kids are going back to the local university. After a quick wash-up I walked across the street to a little basement lounge at a cheap hotel. Cute little bartender named Emily... all of five feet tall, but with lovely Germanic/Swedish whatever features.. and I'm seeing a lot of this ethnicity in the people out west so far. So Emily was cute and VERY unpretentious... she'd just started there a week before and was happy when I bought her a couple of beers. It was a tiny bar, very low-end. An original Pac Man video game stood in the corner. The guy next to me started a chat.. nice enough, told me he was celebrating because he'd finally finished with jail and double-probation. Ahh.. heh heh. Congratulations.
I seriously thought about hitting on Emily, but it would have been a big project, taken hours...IF anything came from it I would have had to stay in Sioux City an extra day to rest... and oh well... I needed to keep moving after the Urbana thing.

In the morning I found an Ace hardware and picked up some important items I needed.. scisssors... a scredriver...fresh bungee, etc etc... then proceeded to bleed the brakes again, as the Urbana boys really hadn't gotten all the air out of the lines.
Back onto Interstate 80... there's not a lot to see in Iowa except the other side of it... and, well, maybe Emily.

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