On Thursday I leave for Moab, UT for the first shoot of the 2010 production season and from that point on, I’m pretty much traveling every week till about mid November. However, this past weekend wasn’t booked with MCC activities and I wanted to make the most of it so I invited my brother, Guy, to come down from Indy and go motorcycling with me. After all, I had spent all that time getting my Triumph Trophy running again, I figured I should get some benefit out of it.
Guy only lives three hours from me but we rarely see each other. It seems our schedules never coincide and we both have a lot going on. Life tends to be that way. However, this was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time so we decided to just pick a weekend, commit to it, and do this thing; rain or shine. That was the only way it was ever going to happen.
I’ve got two big, fairly modern touring bikes in my collection; the ’98 Trophy and a ’93 BMW R1100RS, and it looked like we were going to get lucky with the weather because the forecast was for a cool (highs in the 60’s) but clear weekend. So Guy drove down to E’ville Saturday morning and we suited up and were on the road about noon.
The plan was to ride over to Sainte Genevieve, MO, a really cool little town situated on the Mississippi River that dates back to 1735. The trip over was to be primarily via Interstate (about 200 miles) so as to give Guy a chance to get used to a bike he’d never ridden before. This would also prepare him for the return trip on Sunday which was more like 300 miles on two-lane back roads (with lots of twisties) thru southern Illinois.
Saturday’s ride was fast and fun. I love vintage machines, but there’s a lot to be said for full fairings and lots of horsepower. We got to Ste. Gen in late afternoon, parked the bikes, and strolled the streets in search of a beer and a place to eat dinner later. We found both in the Anvil Restaurant and Saloon.
Sunday was a crisp, cool morning and we began our journey home by taking the Sainte Genevieve ferry across the Mississippi River. This saved about 40 miles travel to the nearest bridge, plus I just think ferries are cool.
We rolled for about 200 miles, stopping only once for gas, on beautiful roads with almost no traffic. We were getting a bit hungry tho and dining options along this route didn’t abound. As luck would have it, we cruised into Elizabethtown, IL (population 348) right about noon and came upon Ma & Pa Reed’s Family Restaurant. There were a number of cars parked out front which is usually a good sign, so we put down the stands on the bikes and went inside. What we found there was one of the best buffets I have ever experienced.
There was everything imaginable (all home cooked of course), but the highlight was fresh catfish pulled right from the Ohio River which was within sight of the restaurant. The warm blackberry cobbler was pretty tasty too. Needless to say, we stayed way too long and ate way too much.
We finally left and rode on a little ways to Garden of the Gods; a 3,300 acre wilderness area consisting of old growth forest and some of the strangest rock formations you’ll see anywhere. It sure doesn’t look like Illinois. We took a brief hike around Observation Trail to shoot some pics and walk off some of that cobbler.
Soon tho, it was back on the bikes and we rode to Cave In Rock were we took another ferry, this time across the Ohio River, over to Kentucky. We still had a lot of ground to cover so we were on the throttle all the way back to Evansville since Guy still had to drive back up to Indy that evening.
It really couldn’t have been a better weekend and probably the last one that I won’t be working for several months. I got to spend time with my brother, ride motorcycles, see cool things, and eat great food. And none of this would have happened if we both hadn’t put other things aside and just made it a priority. If there’s a moral to this story it’s, don’t let life get in the way of the things that are really important. Ride on!