So this weekend, on basically a spur of the moment decision, I headed out to a tiny location in the middle of the farmland of Illinois. Literally. If I didn’t happen on the coordinates, I would have not made it. That isn’t entirely true, but as of Friday night, it was. Moonshine Store, at the intersection of 2 tiny county roads in the middle of the farmland of middle Illinois. There was not much to look at out there, much like Kansas. The population 364 days of the year is 2. Yep, 2…
- Main Website – http://moonshine-run.com/Moonshine/
- History – http://moonshine-run.com/Moonshine/History.asp
- Founder – http://moonshine-run.com/Moonshine/Terry.asp
My plan was to leave early Saturday morning (7:00 AM) so I could get there before the 12:30 PM cutoff. My actual take off time ended up being 7:20 AM. Close enough. The weather looked good for the weekend, so I was not worrying about that. What I did not anticipate was the fact that, with all the water along the route, the temperature would be a few degrees cooler than what the websites were reporting. And that few degrees made it a VERY cold ride through Indiana. To the point of I didn’t want to stop, but had to a couple times to put my hands on the exhaust to warm them up. The rest of me was fine, just my hands were cold. I made one fuel stop just inside of Illinois across the Wabash river. That was also when I first started noticing the temps increasing as well, so it became a much more comfortable ride. Unfortunately, due to this, I didn’t stop for any photos along the route – just too damn cold.
I ended up getting behind a group of 12 HDs and following them into Moonshine. We arrived there at 10:30 AM (11:30 AM for me, I didn’t take the time change into account when planning). The time change ended up being a good thing, which I will go into later. Even getting there as early as I did, there were bikes lined up along the road I cam in at least a mile back, and there were local kids and adults running shuttle service in and out of the store on golf carts and 4-wheelers. There were already so many people there, it was hard to get an estimate. When I parked (pretty close, actually) and got settled, I got in line for a burger, chips and a drink. I was in and out of line and finished eating within 30 minutes. After I checked out the shirts and stuff, I looked at the line and it was wrapping around the area already.
As I said, it was hard to estimate the number of people and bikes in the area, but the final burger count was over 3000 sold. And not everyone got a burger. It is also hard to show just how many bikes were parked around the area – even with a panorama… These photos do not do it justice. There are more at the bottom of the post. On a side note, I did see 3 other NC700X’s. All gray, but that is OK. We represented. David was there (friend of mine in So. Indiana who has a red one) but he was on his other bike.
As the afternoon wore down, I got my chair out and sat beside my bike and just watched the bikes roll up and down the roads. As I was at the crossroad, catty-corner from the store, I could see them all as they came in and out. I sipped some water and lounged around soaking up the warm sun in a cool breeze. Damn near went to sleep. I decided to head to the Hammond’s farm and get my tent set up before the chili dinner. It was a quick 15 minute ride out. Well, quick once I got past all the bikes which were STILL parked easily a mile out. I got there around 3 PM and got set up and had time to sit and talk with some of the other riders. There were people as far away as New England and the furthest was from LA at 2049 miles. At 5 (roughly) we headed into Casey, IL for a chili dinner put on by the fire department for charity. Turnout was good and the good was awesome. Once done there, we all went either back to camp or one of the various hotels in the area. We sat around the fire and traded stories and talked for a few hours. I think I went down around 10:30 PM (11:30, remember) and everyone was out by midnight.
The night was chilly, but easily bearable. My only issue, the moon came out about 4am and provided a false dawn, lighting up the area as if the sun was getting ready to come up. Still, slept in until 7am. I move the bike around so the seat and instruments would dry and opened up the tent so the inside of the rain fly could dry out. No rain, just condensation. I had everything up and packed back on the bike by 8:30 AM. Nope, tent was still damp, but I wanted to hit the road and I could dry it when I got home. I said my good byes to the guys who were still there and was on the road by 9:00 AM. And the temperatures were already in the mid 50’s.
The ride home took a little longer than the ride in. There were 2 reasons, 1. I had a headwind the whole damn way, costing me time and gas… 2. I took a different route. I was buzzing along and found myself in Mitchell, IN and decided to stop for gas and lunch and rest for a moment. I was able to drop the jacket liner and swap to my lighter gloves. The day was perfect for riding. I think I got in there at around noon or so. I left out, loving the temperatures. Surprisingly, I didn’t see another motorcycle until I got near Salem, IN. Started seeing more and more as I headed south. Good to see other riders on the roads in such good weather.
I finally pulled into my garage at 2:30 PM. I covered over 500 miles this weekend, longest trip so far. I met a lot of good people, some I know I will see again, some I hope to see again. I am planning on making this an annual trip and take the Friday off as well, as there are events on Friday, too. As usual, I came home with some notes regarding camp setup and use. I need a 2nd pillow and some camp shoes… The riding boots suck to put on in the dead of night…
My only regret was I didn’t get more photos. I will need to change that, but due to the cold on Saturday, the ride was destination-based, and on Sunday, I was tired and there just wasn’t all that much to see, until I got into the Mitchell area, and I already have photos of that area.