July 24, 2006
Today is Monday July 24, 2006 and will be the longest ride of the trip so far, 580 miles from Sauk Centre MN to El Paso, IL. Brother Barry will be riding to El Paso to meet up with me for the return ride to Ashland on Tuesday.
Interesting and somewhat startling occurrence this morning let me explain. Last evening, the front desk / bartender, Tony, at the Palmer house asked what time I was leaving. Seems he goes home at one AM and locks up the hotel, someone can get out but cannot get back in until the morning crew comes on duty at 7 AM. Which means there will be only myself and the other patron of the hotel, in the hotel during the wee hours, and as I think I mentioned earlier, the “other world” visitors!! Yikes!! Not wanting to have to stop at a laundry, (to get my jeans cleaned!) I decided that I would not be leaving at 4 AM. I did not want to have to walk thru the dark hotel and back and forth to the room the four trips it takes to get the bike loaded.
Just to clarify, according to Tony, it would me, the other guest and no other living souls in the hotel until maybe 6:30 AM when the 7 AM shift shows up. I left the room about 6:15, wanting to be loading when the next shift showed up, but with it also being DAYLIGHT out. I have my hands loaded down with two bags and I start down the hallway. So far so good, as I turn down the creaking steps, there are no visitors. As I round the landing and start down the last flight, I see a older man figure heading into the restaurant doorway. Yikes is that a ghost?? The night before the cook explained to me that the ghosts are not at all like Hollywood portrays. They appear as solid, physical beings, not the wispy “see through” creatures of movie fame. I continued down the steps and across the lobby toward my exit, lobby key and room key in my pocket, thinking would I want to return? As I passed the restaurant doorway I glanced to my left to see this aberration “fixing” a stool at the fountain bar. I said good morning and got a glance and a grunt in return, not rally a word, but a sound. I headed for the door, quickly.
Upon reaching the door, I laid down my load and thought I would go get the bike from the rear lot and park on the deserted street, right outside the door. Closer for me to not walk around the building with the stuff, and maybe a bit more security from the unknown! I dutifully removed the bike’s cover, unlocked the bags, the steering head and ignition lock. I mounted my American Iron, my security, turned the ignition, pushed the start button wholly expecting the beast (a good beast) to come to life. Alas, a click, my heart sank. DEAD battery! Not a “ghost” of a chance it was going to start the bike. Now what? Oh yeah, I have jumper cables, not the big auto kind but special ones for motorcycles! Just then my elderly grunt comes waling around the building and gets into his truck. Not a word. As he begins to back out, I muster the courage to approach his vehicle and ask for a jump. He pulls up toward the bike and proceeded to get open the hood and get the rubber cover off the positive terminal as I dig out the jumpers. So far just a grunt and an ok (can ghosts speak?). As I connect up the cables, he walks away and starts looking at the A/C running nearby. There is not enough juice to start the bike, like everyone knows that you have to rev the engine, everyone but “George”. I ask him to do so, he quietly gets in the truck and revs it. Bingo the bike starts!! Yes! Am I glad or what? He gets into the truck as I disconnect and close the hood. I tell him thanks with a smile on my face and he nods, and backs on out and drives off. Was he a ghost, or perhaps as was suggested, an angel, a guardian angel? You decide, I have.
The ride turned out to be long today but I was looking forward to seeing Barry so the time went by pretty fast. Traffic was heavier than it has been, I guess because of the proximity to Chicago, but still not like Vegas!
Upon arrival, Barry was at the motel, the Days Inn at El Paso, IL. A nice place for the money and even had an indoor pool. Not much else there besides a McDonalds, a Hardy’s and gas station. After a swim Barry and I went to the other place to eat within walking distance, a Woody’s Restaurant. If you are ever even near El Paso, IL I suggest you DO NOT stop at Woody’s! Run as fast as you can. Keep driving what ever it takes!! Even eat at McDonald’s but stay away from this local place. The food was horrendous! The service was WORSE…