Leaving Pontiac, Illinois the heat has broken and there is rain, but cooler weather today. We run into a rainstorm near Reynolds, Illinois and stop under a tree to sit out some of the rain. As we stop the shoulder of the road there is a slight dip in the road and the bike tumbles over on the grass. Billy does a great somersault off the bike and neither of us is hurt, but the bike is too heavy to pick up when it's on an incline. A man sees the bike go over and stops and runs over to see if he can help. With his help we are able to right the bike. He then offers his mother's home garage which is nearby to wait out the rest of the rain. We accept his offer and follow him a couple of miles to the house. We park in the garage and visit with members of the family. This family seems to be the local dynasty - 11 children from the mother, 36 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren... all in the local area. It's a close family who love to get together - so different from many of our spread our families these days.
We make it into Fort Wayne to visit Billy's daughter Liz, husband Andy and children Kate and Zeke.
We head out into another day of intense heat. We get into Pontiac, Illinois in the morning and decide that we need to rest up in a cool motel for the rest of the day. Pontiac is on the historic Route 66 and we go to the museum there. The museum is a cornucopia of trivia about the love of cars in the US from earlier days when Route 66 was the major highway from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. There is also a museum of military uniforms from World War 2 up to the present. It's interesting to see how the size of the uniforms has grown larger over the years.
I wish we had better weather to explore Pontiac more - there are more museums, great murals around town and more to see. The heat is just too intense to wander around town. We find a Super 8 motel and hole up with the TV, iPad and book.
A long HOT day. We leave Laurel, Nebraska and head into Iowa. We pass an exhibit on wind power with lots of historic wind devices. Billy wants a photo of the Lewis and Clark trail that we have followed off and on up to this point, so we stop along the side of the road to get a photo. There is much more activity along the way now, many more farms, and towns. We pass miles and miles of corn and soybean fields.
We stop for breakfast at Moville, Iowa. It's the only place in town for breakfast and it turns out to be a good one. The cafe opens at 5 am for the retired farmers who come in for chatting, coffee and breakfast. The prices are reasonable, the eggs are good and the people are friendly. We're interested in the large main street that offers parking in the middle of the street!
It's a HOT, HOT day as we continue across Iowa. The whole Midwest of the country is in record breaking temperatures. We stop often, drink as much as we can, use our "arctic ties" that go around our necks to try and keep cool. The heat has caused concrete buckling in different areas of the midwest and we run into one such issue. The heat caused a joining seam in the concrete to buckle up and cars had caused the concrete to come apart in large chunks. Luckily we are in the high speed lane where there are fewer chunks of concrete that Billy is able to slow down and maneuver around. Whew! that was scary! We spend the night on the border of Iowa and Illinois at a Comfort Inn in Burlington.
We start the day with some good roads and nice cloud cover. We go through a short portion of the Badlands of South Dakota. These are aptly named as nothing could live there - minimal vegetation and animals. A gas stop at White River shows that we are really in American Indian country.
There are a few sprinkles in the morning and again as we have lunch down by the Missouri River.
We have seen many wind farms across the country. When they are in the distance, they look big, but when you see one blade like this one on a truck you realize they are ENORMOUS!
We watch the storm clouds as they start to gather... We head into some dark clouds, but then think again and turn around to outrun the storm. We outrun that one and turn to go around it - we hit a smaller storm with a strong 5 minute downpour that leaves us wet, but now cooler. We stop for the night in a very small town, Laurel, Nebraska. (population 976) We visited all 3 choices for food in town - every entry is pizza or fried food. Sigh...