June 14, 2:11 am
“In 6 hours I am getting on a motorcycle and leaving my home for 8 months. What am I thinking?”
Haha, well here I am in Peoria, Illinois with my best friend, 342 miles into the quest to extract something deeper out of life and do what I can to make the world a better place. And what a great first day it has been.
The last two days have been pretty crazy and I definitely did not get everything taken care of. But, it will all work out, even if I don’t have AFLAC coverage, a second tube, extra life insurance, etc. I did sell my old motorcycle AND car. I didn’t exactly want to sell the Prism, but the new motorcycle was an unexpected expense.
We began the day by going to Kristen’s house for breakfast made by her mom. What a way to start! Kristen got home from 6 months in South Africa the previous night and I had to see her before I left. She volunteered at a hospital, her stories are amazing and she might head back there for grad school when she is done with AmeriCorps. Last summer she did something called bike and build which was incredible. I HIGHLY suggest it to anyone 18-28 who wants to travel and serve across the United States. Check out the website. http://bikeandbuild.org/cms/
After that it was go time. The weather was perfect, but we got tangled in crazy suburban sprawl south of Chicago. It was literally 15 miles of strip malls; I think we passed 428 chain restaurants and 5 Best Buys. After finally breaking free we stopped for lunch at Earl’s Corner on 41 south. This is what I’m talking about. They had great food (they specialize in hot dogs), and we had fun hanging out with the owner and a few patrons. We traded stories and they asked me about my trip. Stop by if you are ever driving south on 41 in Indiana. I asked about the name and Nancy the owner joked, “There ain’t no Earl, and we ain’t on no corner. But I like the name and it works.” She was very nice and gave us free Gatorades for the road. That means twice on day one I was given free food and drink. I could definitely get used to this.
After about 7 hours of riding, we arrived at Wildlife Prairie State Park. This place is amazing!! We are the first ever tent campers here (they just opened it this season) and it is only $20 a night. And there are showers, a rec room, trails, and lots of wildlife to see. Check it out if you are ever in the area.
Jeff treated me to a nice dinner of mac and cheese with bacon cooked at our campsite. Heck yeah. We are just about to sit down to a fire and hang out one last time. I did bring my guitar so maybe that will come out later. Oh yeah, and there are thunderstorm warnings tonight. At least I will be able to test out my tent. I hope it holds up…