Day 2: Illinois and Iowa: Apply Makeup, Land Parachute (Beth)

All right ladies, if any of you out there are fans of putting your makeup on in the car in a hurry, I have found the city made for you!  We tried getting out of Chicago reasonably fast in the morning, but were thwarted by the city’s ill-timed traffic lights.  Each time we stopped at an intersection, it felt like we waited for 2 full minutes before our light turned green again.  If I were trying to put on makeup at that point, I feel like I could have easily applied all of it while waiting on the motorcycle…twice.

Oddly enough, stop and go traffic made it even harder for me to wake up (not a morning person), and I think I might have actually done the half-dozing head-bang thing.  Needless to say, Ryan pulled over to grab me something to help me wake up.  As he’s heading in, he suggests I do some jumping jacks to get my blood flowing.  So five seconds later, I’m laying on a nice little patch of grass in the sun trying to take a cat-nap.  Ryan comes back with a 5-hour energy, and here’s the important part of my aimless story:

Five Hour Energy is perhaps one of the most amazing products invented in the past 1,000 years.  I know what you’re thinking, skeptical reader, but let me convince you.  I admit, the advertising: lacking.  The price: I could buy 3 liters of soda with the same amount of money.  The taste: like I’m drinking straight Koolaid powder.  The results: UNBELEIVABLE!  Two minutes after drinking this horrendous-tasting bottle, I was wide awake the rest of the day and never crashed from it.  I’m not suggesting making it a habit, but wow, did it work!

Three hours later, we managed to get out of the city and coasted along through Illinois.  Illinois is actually very pretty once you’re out of the city, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting.  The weather was gorgeous, the skies were clear, and the landscape had a very calming effect.  I did find one thing about the ride out peculiar though.  We saw 3 parachutists landing RIGHT NEXT TO THE HIGHWAY.  One of them landed a quarter of a mile from a tractor in the middle of plowing a field.  Is anyone else questioning the judgment of this landing site?  I admit, I’ve never guided and landed a parachute, but in my mind, not easy to just land that thing on a dime.  If anyone is familiar parachute-landing technique, please leave a comment and fill me in.

Wednesday’s ride out of Illinois and into Iowa was a long one: probably 9.5 hours of actual road time.  Around hour 6.5 we took a dinner break, at which point I was feeling *ahem* more than a tad sore.  Ryan had it in his head though to make it to a certain destination another 3 hours away, an idea that my ears didn’t appreciate right away, but, if you know my husband at all you know he’s stubborn and persuasive to boot.

I’ve discovered, much to my surprise, that I’ve come to enjoy riding.   I’ve found that the difference between riding in a car and riding on a motorcycle is like the difference between watching a concert on TV and attending one live.  In a car, you watch the landscape pass by and you can take your eyes off the scenery to be distracted by other things: watching a movie on a laptop perhaps, reading a book, taking a nap, etc.  On a bike, you are part of the show, experiencing it firsthand.  If it rains, you get wet.  If it’s windy, you’re tossed about.  If it’s hot, you sweat.  If it’s cold, you freeze.  Best of all, when it’s gorgeous, you don’t just see it, you experience it.

Right after we finished dinner and headed out, we eased onto the highway to cover some ground and that’s when the show began.  We were in the plains of Iowa, cutting through the road at 60mph, no wind to speak of except the wind from our momentum, clear skies, an occasional farm, and the smell of wood smoke rising up to meet the highway.  The plains were so vast, they rolled along in slow motion, mocking any nearby watch-wearers.  Several planes left angled trails of smoke across the sky.  Then the sun and all of its entourage of color relaxed down to the ground in one brilliant, extended motion, hazy and resplendent.

Honestly, I can’t recall the amount of time we spent on the stretch of highway.  It might have been half an hour, it might have been an hour and a half.  I just know that for that period of time on that length of road, it was the exact and only place I wanted to be.  Best time I’ve had on the bike to date.   Thanks to my husband for keeping us going; I would have missed out.

2 responses to “Day 2: Illinois and Iowa: Apply Makeup, Land Parachute (Beth)

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