Time to relax

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Friday, May 27, 2011

30-05-11 to 2-06-11


These last few days have been have been spent relaxing around Chicago. The first three days were used simply recover from 14000 miles of motorcycle riding. I slept just about every hour of the day for 3 days. What I think really killed me though was that last mighty straw of 700 miles to Chicago, that was just hell to say the least.

Now a week on and I am fully recovered apart from my top right back shoulder. It has come out in spots and is itching like mad!!A few drops of whisky on each spot might be the answer;-). I think the spots have come from all the sweat that occurs while riding in hot sunny weather with a jacket on.

Since arriving here in Chicago I heard from Phil and he tells me he made it to Alaska and plans to be back in New York on Sat 4th June!!! Now I am furious at myself but on the other hand if something went wrong with the bike or I got delayed and could not make NY by the 4th would mean I would miss my flight home and would not be able to get back to work when required and I would be in trouble. So no, I think I made the rite decission and headed directly to New York. I am very dissipointed in myself but needs must be met. I still think 15000 miles on a motorcycle is still good going over 9 weeks or so.

Chicago is a wonderful city so long as you have your own transport. I thought I would take the local train into the city. Off I go at about 10am on my bike and park it up at the local station. Now which platform is it to Chicago is the next question. I see a arrow pointing along the platform and next to it is written "Trains from Chicago". Does that arrow mean they come in that direction or they come from that direction?? Anyway I wandered over to see the timetable then turned around and went back to my bike. The first train into town was at about 05h30, next at 06h20 and the last of the day was at 06h50!!And that was it, no other trains all day into the city so it was off back to Lettas house again.

The weekend was spent with some friends I met in China and we had a great meal with pork on the spit.

The rest of the week was spent riding around Down Town Chicago on my bike with a visit to the science museum and other important tourist places. Of course I wanted a few shots of the rather ancient high-up railway that runs the streets of the city and so I had to park the bike somewhere. I rode my little Honda into a few of the parking lots and just could not find a single little spot to park my bike. Every square foot of the lots were taken by cars. Finally when I did find a spot the chap there wanted $25 from me!! I told him I will be about 15 minutes in total but he was adamant and wanted the full price. I of course told him where to stick his price!!

After that I simply went and parked up behind a few cars at a meter and just went for a quick walk around the block. After a few photos of the old rickety old railway I head back to my bike only to find some "dumbass" as they say in US trying to stick a ticket onto it. "Is this your bike"? he asks. "Yes" I reply, "Well it should not be parked here so am going hav to give you a ticket" he says in his high American accent. He started to write out a ticket and asked me what make of bike it was and what type etc. Finally he got around to the number plate and asked "where you from?" I replied "Scotland"!!! He never said another word, tore up the ticket and walked off!! I could see he was not chuffed;-)

After a drive around the city I headed off along the coast to join highway 55 back to Romeoville and Lettas house. The road was murder and was at a standstill much of the time. I simply as always could not stand it and finally began to push my way through the traffic and fighting my way between the lanes. While making my way through the traffic I asked myself a number of times "should I be doing this?". I passed a few other bikes and they were all simply sitting behind the cars and boiling to death in the hot afternoon sun.

Regardless of this I continued pushing my way through the traffic until I passed a cop car who pulls me over and gives me a talking to. He instructs me not to weave in and out between the traffic and so soon im also sitting behind the cars just like the other bikers were.

Last night Letta and I went out to a wonderful Steakhouse. Right away we both decided on a "rack of Ribs". Small or large was the big decision but finally we both decided to have the large. And large they were!! As someone on Facebook commented "its not just ribs but the whole bloody cow" and oh boy were they delicious. Strange thing was that they came with French fries, salad and a muffin!! Who would ever think of ribs and muffin together?? Well according to my friend Teresa here in Chicago she claims that muffin is a corn muffin and is very common in Southern America.

Yesterday checking around my bike I could not decide if I should go ahead and put the new drive chain on or simply leave it until the bike returns to Scotland. I spun the wheel a few times and finally decided to put the new chain on. The main reason is that it is a big lump of heavy steel and it has been inside the pannier all the way so far. The old chain is still fine but is making a bit of a noise so it was off to the nearest bike shop where I got them to split the chain and fit the new one. Of course we got chatting about the 15000miles the bike has done without missing a beat. A few of the people from the shop were taking photos of the bike and putting them onto the shops website.

One other thing I was planning on doing this week was meet my friend John who I later found out lived in Omaha!!! If only I had known that a few weeks ago I would have stopped there and stayed a few nights at his but I only found out too late. We were planning on meeting half way between his and Chicago but even that was about 250miles each way so we decided against it.

And that is about all that has happened during this wonderful relaxing week in Chicago.

I now have about another 1000 miles to do to reach New York which I plan to simply take my time and do over a 3 day period. I may turn off the highway at times and take the scenic route depending on weather or how I feel.

Catch you all later
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