Monday, August 20, 2012

Where have I been? Back home again in Indiana!

motogp ticket 2012

I got home a little after noon today after an extended weekend of motorcycle racing and hanging out with Hoosier friends at the 2012 Indianapolis MotoGP festivities.

My local BMW riding friend Charlie invited me to accompany him and only a fool would turn down such an offer, so we rolled out about 7 a.m. Thursday for Indianapolis.

The day was sunny and warm and we had an easy ride up through central Illinois, but we noticed ominous thunderheads and lightning strikes to the northwest as we approached Effingham and turned east on I-70. Concerned that I-70 would be full of trucks and construction in Indiana, I led us up to U.S. 40 at the east edge of Terre Haute and we had a pleasant ride through the Indiana farmland most of the way to Indianapolis.

But heavy rain overtook us as we rode into Plainfield and we took shelter for about a half-hour under a furniture store awning while we waited to see if the rain would stop. It didn’t.

It was still raining hard when we reached I-465 and northbound traffic was at a rush hour crawl, so I had Garmin find us an alternate route up to the Speedway Motel 6. But when we reached the place where we expected to find the motel where we had stayed before, it wasn’t there. Turns out the Crawfordsville Road-I-465 interchange has been reconfigured to the extent that the motel is now on the north side of C’ville Road instead of the south side of the road. The good news is that the creepy apartment complex and dilapidated Red Roof Inn that previously blighted the neighborhood are gone.

My Kilimanjaro jacket and Kathmandu pants and Gore-Tex BMW gloves worked nicely in the deluge, but my Gore-Tex Bates tactical boots failed the rain test miserably and my feet were soaked by the time we got to our room.

The rain blew off to the south soon after we arrived and after changing out of our riding gear, we strolled over to the Union Jack Pub for dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found I could dry my socks by slipping them over my mirrors.

We started Friday with a leisurely breakfast at Einstein Brothers Bagels, then cruised down to BMW Motorcycles of Indianapolis to ogle bikes and apparel – I bought a shop t-shirt discounted to $9 – and then rode to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to check out the vendors and the MotoGP practice sessions.

We joined several hundred other riders for a lap around the MotoGP track, then adjourned to the BMW dealership for a stunt riding show and a free barbecue OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdinner.

Saturday breakfast was with the Indy BMW Club folks at Shapiro’s after which Rich Nathan led us on a spirited ride up White River Parkway to the BMW shop. Rich took a Victory bike for a test ride and I finally cashed in the $25 gift certificate I’d won in absentia at the 2010 club awards banquet, buying a new pair of Firstgear Kilimanjaro summer riding gloves.

We spent the afternoon watching qualifications at the track, did a walk past the garages that required Charlie to chug his beer, since alcohol isn’t allowed there, had an early dinner at Union Jack’s and retired early.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were up with the sun on Sunday morning. Charlie managed to persuade the gate keepers at the motorcycle parking lot across Georgetown Road from Stand J to honor our Speedway Museum parking lot credentials, making it possible for us to park so close to our seats that we could watch our bikes from there. (There they are in the red circle. Mine is under the yellow bike cover.)

pinWe took our time leaving the track and by the time we were ready to ride, the traffic had dwindled to practically nothing. I led the way west on I-70 and all went well until about a mile past the Putnamville exit where we found ourselves in a miles-long traffic jam because of an accident. After crawling along for about a mile, we reached a crossover and doubled back to the exit, rode up to U.S. 40 and followed it to Brazil where we re-joined I-70. As we crossed the Wabash River, I was startled to see a little Saturn two-seater that had been in front of us in the traffic jam blast past us.

We caught up with him at Effingham, where we exited to spend the night at the Econo Lodge.

It was 52 degrees when we gassed and hit the road this morning, but the temperature climbed into the comfortable 60s and 70s as the morning wore on and we made quick work of Illinois, gassed at Boomland east of Sikeston and cruised on home.


Trip Stats

  • 943 miles
  • 55.4 mph average
  • 96.5 mph top speed
  • 17 hours 1 minute moving

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