We decided that we were going to take Highway 24 across most of the country headed west. We started running into road construction right away. I am talking take up the old road and start over type of construction. Gravel, loose gravel, no bridges, detours with no signs, miles of roads with no names. Like the old pioneers, we sometimes had to use the sun as our indicator that we were going in the right direction!
Illinois did not impress me. Rough roads are not fun on a motorcycle. It was not just a few miles but almost all of Highway 24 was under construction. In most places, no work was being done. The roads were torn up. We rarely saw any workers, just signs and torn up roads. Did I tell you the roads were torn up? Due to this I found very few photo opportunities.
We finally get to Peoria, IL. This turned out to be a scary part of our ride. The road lead us along side of the waterfront. Trust me when I tell you, DO NOT STOP! Buildings with boarded up windows,broken glass, gang graffiti, and busted doors lined the streets. When stopped at a red light, we were showed drugs by a young man. I guess he figured, we were on bikes so we were not cops and maybe wanted to buy some. All along the road, I saw cars stopping and someone running out to it and exchanges taking place. This was a rough part of town.
In all honestly, we had no plans of stopping in Illinois. Due to the late start we knew we would have to find a place to stay. The sun was getting low in the sky and after the waterfront drive I really did not want to explore any other part of what may be a lovely town. Sorry Peoria.
From checking my maps earlier in the day I knew there was a park near Canton IL, Rice Lake State Conservation Area. We headed down the road to it. It was a race for time. Would we make it before dark? The sun was dipped below the horizon we we arrived. The park has a small campground and we had our choice of spots. No one was around the office to check us in so we proceeded to set up camp. The camp host came over after we had everything mostly set up. She showed us where an outlet was so we could air up our mattress. I am so glad about that! The hand pump was not working out!
The skeeters were big enough to carry us away. Lucky for us I was prepared. I had some SSS Expedition Bug Spray. People this works great! Neither one of us were bit. It does not stink like some of the other products I have found.
The next morning found us up early with the sunrise. The lake had whiffs of fog and the sound of frogs greeted me as I stretched. A quick breakfast of cereal and sweetrolls and camp was broke. Before leasving we walked around a bit. Not a lot to see where we were. This was a fishing lake not a playground, unless of course you are a fisherman! We met a couple of fisherman coming off the lake. They had a bucket of fish ready for cleaning. Not a bad little spot. I do recommend it.
Well that is it for now. More memories later and more photos. To see all the photos in one spot click the tab that says 2011 USA Motorcycle Trip