2023 Moonshine IL daytrip

August 15

Last week I got a text from fellow retiree Mike Padgett asking if I would like to ride to the Moonshine Store in Illinois. It's a popular place to ride for a hamburger. I've heard of it but never been there. It sounded like a great idea. I haven't seen Mike since he retired in January 2022, and we haven't ridden together since 2012. We decided to go Tuesday, August 15th. I asked if he cared if I invited a couple people. He didn't care.

Donna had hip-related surgery last month and is doing pretty good, although I wasn't sure she was up for a long ride. I asked and she politely declined. She's not there yet. I asked my brother to go and hoped it didn't interfere with his complicated work schedule. Unfortunately, it did. I was hoping he could go. He hasn't ridden his bike much or gone on any good rides. I also sent an invite to Mike Kurdziolek. When I got his reply it made my heart hurt. He said "The bike is gone".

Last month Mike & Jerri took their new toyhauler to Pigeon Forge for its trial run. When they got back I asked Jerri how it went. She said it was a good trip, but they were considering selling their bike. They haven't ridden it much this year and she said Mike feels achy after riding it. He also had some problems getting it in and out of the toyhauler. She said they aren't enjoying the bike as much as they used to and were thinking about replacing it with a golf cart so their dog could ride with them. So when Mike told me he had sold his bike it wasn't a total surprise, but it was still sad. A few weeks earlier John & Debby had sold their trike. Since they moved they didn't ride it much. They recently bought a nice side-by-side so the trike's days were numbered. The three of us have ridden together since 2006 and often spoke of the epic motorcycle trips we'd take when we retired. When we waved goodbye to Mike & Jerri after our recent Cincinnati daytrip I was looking forward to many more years of riding together. It was disappointing that over the course of a few weeks that chapter of our lives was suddenly closed.

August 15

The weather leading up to ride day had been rainy for several days. Good news, though. The weather forecast for today is cloudy and temps in the 65-75* range. Perfect. Mike lives in Linton and the plan is to meet him at the Linton Walmart around 11am.

Linton, IN. 10:32, mileage 111,562 - I filled the bike up with good ole 93 premium and pulled it to the side parking lot to wait for Mike. I took the opportunity to clean the nasty winshield. Shamefully, I don't think I've cleaned it since our Savannah trip last year. Look at those nice clouds.

Sometimes I ponder the idea of putting of putting an enclosed trailer or dryvan on the back of the Volvo. It would make for weatherproof and secure storage. Most enclosed trailers have a ceiling height of six or maybe six and a half feet. Not very tall. As I waited for Mike I started eyeballing the enclosed UPS trailer that was parked there (in the right edge of the above picture). I got a tape measure from my saddlebag and started measuring. The box on this thing was EIGHT feet tall and slightly over seven feet wide. Sweet! It was also heavily built. This would be nice on the back of the Volvo. I wonder if UPS sells their old ones?

Mike arrived promptly at 11. He caught me off guard a little because I forgot he had gotten a new Goldwing a couple years ago. My mind was still looking for his titanium 2006. It was nice to see him after nearly two years. We did a lot of riding together in the 2009-2012 timeframe.

We chatted for awhile. His keyfob battery was low so we decided to ride to his house and get his spare. His Goldwing senses his keyfob and apparently if the keyfob dies the Goldwing won't run.

In a few minutes we were at the Padgett estate. He got the spare fob fired up and was good to go.

Check out his garage! Sweet!! A portion of it contains his gunsmithing business. I tell him he needs to use the rest of it for a Goldwing shop. There is another building behind this one. He has more garage space than me.

Soon we were westbound on IN-54. It has been a very long time since Mike has been in my mirror. Too long. His new Goldwing has nice, bright LEDs.

I glanced at my GPS and noticed our ETA for the store was 12:32. Hmmmmmmmm...they quit cooking at 12:30. We might be cutting it close. Then I remembered Illinois is an hour behind. We have plenty of time. Whew!

Waiting to turn onto IN-154, which led us into Illinois and through the scenic town of Hutsonville. We ran into a little misty rain but it didn't last long.

We zigged and zagged down county roads. The Moonshine Store is in the middle of nowhere. We parked the bikes, hung out for awhile, then went inside and ordered. The process is simple. They cook the hamburgers and you dress them yourselves. There is a rack of chips and a cooler of drinks. There are picnic tables outside to eat at.

The hamburgers are pretty good. Not the best I've had but still a good destination for a motorcycle ride. I put tomato, onions, and mayonaise on mine. It was a bit windy so we had to secure our napkins and chips. We caught up on things. He bought a new boat and is remarried to a great girl. The gunsmithing business is almost too good.

Mike has had his bass boat for 23 years. It has a steel trailer. One day he noticed one of the crossmember supports was almost rusted through. He thought about repairing it but decided to see about getting a new boat trailer. He found that most of the boat trailer manufacturers had been bought out and there weren't many manufacturers left. One place wanted $10,000 for a trailer, not including accessories. He was pretty fed up, then he started thinking..."You know, if I bought a new boat it will come with a new trailer". So that's what he did!

Mike suggested heading back via Terre Haute. We headed north to Martinsville, IL. I constantly complain about chip & seal here in Indiana. Well, it's worse in Illinois. There are lines in the chip & seal thought cause the bike to sway. For several miles I thought I had a tire going flat. When we hit real asphalt I knew the tires were okay.

I turned east on US40. I always prefer the two lanes over the interstate. Several miles down the road we were thwarted by a 'road closed' sign. We took a side road to try and bypass the closure but it came out on the closed side. We rode to the closure to investigate. Sometimes the closure is passable but not officially open. That was the case today. However, there were workers there. One of them in a high visibility vest was eyeing us and standing in the road like a bouncer. I think he knew what we were pondering. We turned around.

We headed north on a road that looked like it interchanged with I-70. It didn't. It went over it. We turned west and took a one-lane road through the corn fields that turned to gravel for a bit. We eventually made our way onto I-70. There are a lot of trucks on I-70. I don't care for that.

After droning down the interstate for ~35 miles we turned south on IN-46. I spent a lot of time on this road during my college days at Rose-Hulman. It has changed a lot. It was mostly farmland back then.

Riley, IN. 14:40, mileage 111,690 - We stopped in Riley for fuel and to hang out some more. We will split up in Spencer. I'll continue east and Mike will take IN-67 towards Linton. As we rode down IN-46 it was interesting seeing how much had changed in 40 years. The railroad is gone. The old iron bridges are gone. There are a lot more houses and businesses. Gravel roads are now paved. An old dirt speedway west of Vandalia is almost unrecognizable. The little auto parts store in Ellettsville where I bought my Trans Am louvers forty years ago appears to be long closed and is in bad shape.

At Spencer Mike waved goodbye and so did I. I felt a little sadness as he rode off down IN-67. He is a great riding buddy and I've missed our rides over the years. Til we meet again. I pulled over at the Spencer CVS to see if there was a more scenic way to get home. Nope. I took IN-37 to Bedford and home.

It was nice to get out on the bike. I haven't ridden a lot since I retired. Not as much as I thought I would. Going to work was always a popular reason to ride. Donna has had a few surgeries which has kept her off the bike quite a bit the past several months. We both got Covid back in June. Many times we've traded the Goldwing for the Sequoia so Buford could go with us. We feel bad leaving him behind after his reaction to our being gone so long on our Savannah trip, and we had such a great time with him on our Michigan trip.

230 miles.

See you on the Highway!

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