The 500 mile weekend

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.

Dennis Gage & Guy

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.

98 Trophy & 93 BMW R1100RS

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.

Garden of the Gods

Dennis Gage & Guy - Garden of the Gods

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!

Happy Motoring,

  1. Neale Bayly says:

    Nice….wish I could have been along for that one.
    Sounds like you guys have fun and I’m glad you got the Trophy out to stretch it’s legs.

  2. Emily G. says:

    Very cool blog, Dad. I love the photos. Looks you two had a great time. My favorite part is the moral of the story. Love you!

  3. Very nice, indeed. I’m jealous. I wish my brother(s) liked to ride, I’d love to spend a weekend with any one of them out on the road on two wheels. Your closing sentence says it all.

    • Dennis says:

      Richard, I’ve always considered us twin sons of different mothers. I’d ride with you anytime bro! Dennis

  4. Motowarrior says:

    Who knew Dennis even had a brother! Looks like a great weekend with everything you could want – good bikes, good roads, good food and brotherly love. My favorite part is the moral to the story. Well done! BR

  5. Alan Singer says:

    Gee Dennis, I never realized you had such a handsome brother.


    • Dennis says:

      Alan, Yeah I know what you mean. Just looking at us you’d never know we were even related. Dennis

  6. Buddy Vitt says:

    Looks like you two had a most excellent time and when all is said and done , no tails of woe IS the best part. Buddy
    P.S. pay no attention to Alan, he has been prepping some of his motorcycles for the Riding Into History and the chemicals have altered his sense of decorum, not that he had much to start but it has been altered.

  7. Chris Thomson says:

    Dennis, your trips are always so cool and make me want to kick myself for not getting out on the open road more. There is a long list of awesome places here in Arizona that I have on my bucket list to visit.

    I too like ferry boat rides. I just can’t find any here in AZ. I have been known to wait 30 minutes for the Balboa ferry (Newport Beach, Ca) when you can drive around it in 15 minutes…

    See you in DC and Happy Motoring!

  8. Billy Aldrich says:

    So that’s what we’re supposed to do with these two-wheel creations!
    Ride! I’ve got to get out of the shop and actually ride one of these
    scoots…your story hit a nerve…thanks Dennis!

    Billy Aldrich, Founder
    “Riding Into History”

  9. T. Thiakos says:

    Beautiful bikes. Beautiful views. Keep it going, while the goings good. Lifes too short to not share it with family. The Wisconsin Dualsport riders are gearing up for the Ride for Research , you should come up and join us.

  10. Dennis-

    You are living the life buddy!
    BTW, I always wondered what you stash looked liked when wasn’t groomed and waxed…that thing is a monster, almost touches your chest…hahaha!

    Never shave it, it’s just waaay to cool!


  11. Dennis, I got a chance to ride with my brother too when I first got my Harley 6 years ago. We rode to the Laughlin River Run and later in the year to Hot August Nights. He lives in Santa Clara and like you we never get to see enough of each other.
    Ride safe.

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