Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wind tubines, straight roads, and lots and lots of corn fields


 

Thank you Val for a wonderful dinner and evening! We spent last night in Valpo, IN where I grew up, enjoying Val's hospitality before we started on Day 3 of our trip to Arizona.

We covered about 300 miles today, and the majority of the time we rode through cornfields in Indiana and Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture 80% of the state's total land area - more than 28 million acres - is devoted to farmland, mostly corn and soybeans.

 

We left Valpo at 9am during one of the coldest July weekends on record - the temperature was 58 degrees. Thank goodness for raingear, because it cuts the wind and adds an extra layer of warmth. Last summer we rode to Missouri for the BMW motorcycle rally with temperatures over 100 degrees most days. This year we're lucky to see 70 degrees.

As we headed west from Dwight, IL we spotted wind turbines in the distance. As the day wore on, we saw more wind turbines near Henry and Kewanee. Illinois has 3,568 MW of wind power, enough to power 1.1 million homes and ranks fourth in wind capacity behind Texas, California and Iowa.

 
wind farm near Kewanee IL
 
 
 
The wind turbines stand about 400' tall; that's like stacking Mike on top of himself 66 times (he's 6' tall). When we stopped by the side of the road I could hear the gentle swooshing sound the turbine makes as the blades turn.

We crossed two major rivers today, first the Illinois River in Henry before it joins with the Mississippi, and then at the end of the day the Mississippi River as we crossed into Iowa. As we neared the Illinois River, the road started to bend and twist through gentle hills making us smile as we leaned into the curves.


Illinois River
 

Mississippi River
 
 
It's the unexpected that makes riding a motorcycle fun. Because the small, rural towns in northern Illinois are spread so far apart, Mike veered from our planned route to find the closest gas station, arriving in Bradford with only enough gas to travel 12 more miles. It was after 1pm and we were both hungry, so I asked a man pumping gas for a place to eat lunch. He recommended the Sip and Zip just down the road, which turned out to be the only restaurant in town.
 

 
Fueled by sandwiches and homemade onion rings, we headed back on the road with directions to Kewanee from the friendly waitress. Back on our planned route, we ended the day with an ice cream cone in Burlington, IA, the 7th state in our trip to Arizona.


2 comments:

  1. 7 States in 3 days. Good for you two. You are just motoring right along.

    Aren't the wind turbines a sight to behold? They are so huge. They don't look it from a distance but when you sit at the base like that.... I marvel at them down the Columbia Gorge when we drive by.

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