Monday, March 31, 2014

Sanity Sunday!

Sitting here staring at my coffee and wondering if I am brave enough to drink it is not a great way to start a Monday or end a great Sunday.  Steak n Shake is the devil! After almost seven hours out on the bike soaking up the sunshine, I was really not excited about going home and cooking.  I honestly wasn't really hungry and was enjoying simply being mellow and relaxed.  Despite what my girl posted on Facebook, one beer in seven hours is not going to lead to drunk texting. But it does lead to a relaxed, refreshed happy momma.

Hubby definitely knows how to make me smile!  It was a bit chilly as we headed out yesterday, but nothing leather can't handle.  We started off in the direction of Breese, I could so live in that little town, I enjoy it.  I could not enjoy a commute to work from there though, so I will just enjoy it in snippets. Our first destination of the day was Wally's, we were hoping to join a former co-worker of mine that lives out there.


It's Wally's!  Love this place!

Maybe next time.  She just got engaged and was busy talking wedding with her future in-laws.  I am so excited for her, the guy that she is marrying is the perfect guy for her, they are adorable together and he makes her smile so big! Next wedding to put in my calendar.  That is two weddings in about a year, two of the people I find most dear have found their other half!  This makes me so happy.

Yum!

It didn't stop Hubby and I from enjoying a yummy Wally burger and a Cherry Ski. It's always so fun to go there, it's a trip back in time.  They opened in 1951, I am fairly certain nothing has changed since then. Silly conversation, talking to others gathered around the lunch counter, well it's hard to top that.

I love the way Hubby and I ride, there is rarely a plan or a goal to our rides  Other than to find as many back roads as we can and to simply enjoy the day.  And enjoy it we did.  We don't have music on the Harley, you can't answer a phone or check your email or Facebook.  It ends up being just a wonderful time to talk, look and enjoy life.
Can you see the horse?
On the back of a motorcycle life looks different.  You see things you would miss otherwise.  There is nothing blocking your view and as we travel back roads we tend to putt along at about 35 - 40 miles per hour.  We aren't in a hurry.  There is no rush.

Freshly plowed, ready...
We talked for hours about things.  The only rule we have is no work.  We don't talk about it at all on the Harley, it can't intrude.  If one of us slips, the other sometimes not too gently, changes the conversation.  We allow ourselves to blend into the world around us.  To catch the hawk swooping down for a snack in the freshly plowed fields.  Time to see the small things around us that we might otherwise miss.  Like the sign out in the middle of no where that signifies the street name is Boot Hill, that was awesome!

Old Western fans?
Each time a road comes to it's natural end, we always ask each other the same question, left, right, straight, like I said no rhyme or reason. Illinois does have great motorcycle roads down here in the southern parts, especially when avoiding the main roads.  It's amazing how far you can go and the differing areas that you can end up in never going more that 50 miles from home in any direction.

Spring is sneaking into the picture
As we cruised east of home we visited Breese, Aviston, Albers and other tiny mid-west towns we marveled at the mix of houses that no doubt were built when the city was founded, with the new modern homes.  I am a small town kind of girl, my heart has always been drawn to them and I have often wished to have been born and raised in one.  They are similar to a military community, the only major difference is the depth of the roots.
Out before entering B'ville.
Our journey took us through Belleville, evidently the oldest city we traveled through, they are celebrating 200 years.  I am ambivalent about Belleville, parts of it hold my heart and fascination, other parts simply make me sad.  I have always loved their downtown area and the historic district.  Unfortunately, due to sprawl it has lost its small town beauty.

We did stop briefly at a small bar we go to occasionally while riding.  For no particular reason except it's convenient and at a good location to stretch the legs, use the facilities and grab a quick beverage.  Oh yeah, and they always have a good German beer on tap.  Yesterday they had a live band.  Well, most of the band was live.  The drummer and singer... hmmmm... good thing they aren't giving up their day job.

Imbs Station Road, old station?  I don't know...
Leaving Belleville we headed more westerly past the older parts of town, heading down Highway 3.  Rural farm lands morphed into areas that alternately switched between historic, rural, urban and blighted.  We went through areas that seemed like time and life had given up on them.  And others that were holding on by sheer will.  At one point, I wasn't quick enough to grab the camera, but we saw a bridge that was simply truncated.  At one point in time it had been a road to somewhere, a path that people followed, now it was simply there, an end point to the past.

Like a scene out of "Left Behind"
Cahokia, East St. Louis, Alorton all zipped past.  Some unpleasant feelings and emotions as the sun was setting.  A quick stop at a Walgreens had been a combination of fear invoking and disturbing.  Children as young as my grand daughter acting like a combination of old people and thugs.

Random street corner in East St. Louis, on St Clair Avenue

As we left that section of Cahokia behind and headed down an old industrial area in Sauget, where Hubby had worked in his twenties, the factories and plants oddly silent.  Parking lots were starting to be over run by grasses and weeds, you could tell that even though it was Sunday, they were rarely needed any longer, even during the week.  The only thing thriving in that area now appeared to be bars, clubs and other entertainment facilities.

The St. Louis Arch in the sunset from Cahokia
As we headed home on our journey we traveled up the old Highway 50, it runs parallel to it's replacement Highway 64.  Our home is between the two a few miles away and you have to go up "the hill" to get there. As we headed up the bluffs, up the hill, it is always a bit disconcerting.  Neither of us know why, but there are spots on both roads where the temperature drops to brutal cold, even on the hottest days of the year.  Just little bubbles of space, you quickly ride in and out of them.  We talk about it every ride, are those areas where in the past a bitter battle took place and the spirit has refused to leave?  Is is a natural phenomenon? Who knows...
Spring in my own front yard
After such a wonderful day, dinner at Steak n Shake was an unpleasant and nasty surprise.  We never eat at the one here in our town, it went from good to nasty years ago, and now we won't ever eat at the one in the next town either.  Gross.  We sent it back, but after tasting something that gross... It didn't make it better.  I am going to try a piece of toast this morning, but I think that is all I am willing to try. I am not going to let a minor case of food poisoning (?) taint those beautiful memories from a perfect day.