It's about 10:30 central time in Northern Wisconsin at the Black River Falls State campground. I'm sitting at a campsite on a picnic table with my laptop plugged into the bike for power. It's pitch black. No moon. No stars. There's a slight breeze in the trees and the sounds of far away trains. The light from the laptop screen is attracting all manner of flying insects. Right now it looks like a scene out of Survivorman. There are bugs crawling all over the display. It's very disconcerting.
The day started out in Chicago. As I mentioned, I met a fellow net entrepreneur on facebook who suggested I give him a visit. We went out to dinner and talked about business, India and other topics. Like me, Dave has had some bad experiences with venture capitalists. Today thinking about what he and I talked about, I find myself wondering if maybe I might be ready to walk back into that world. I guess I tend to discount the experience I have, but I kept coming back to the realization that I know how to do this ... I know how to build a business. Maybe I'll write more on that subject later. There's so much more to building a business than just coming up with a cool techology or putting together a good team to "do stuff". It's late and I think I'll keep it simple for the moment.
Today was simply beautiful. Sunlight but cloud filled skies. Gentle breezes. I have to admit Chicago made a better impression on me than I had thought it would. There were countless bicyclists and joggers. All the streets I saw were tree lined. It reminded me a bit of of Europe in a way. Being so close to Lake Michigan also added it's own character. Yesterday, when the it started pouring I saw countless people getting drenched completely unfazed by the deluge. Cool.
Instead of heading straight out of Chicago I stopped to see the Lake, just for a moment.
I had wanted to walk around on the beach for a bit, but there was some kind of elementary school to the left and I noticed the adults giving me dirty looks, so I turned around and left.
(the bugs crawling all over the screen are pretty disconcerting. There's the moth that refuses to leave.)
The weather was just perfect today. Mid 70's. Light breeze. Sunny. Just wonderful.Something to note if you're on the interstate in Illinois. They have these strangely marked toll boths. 4 lanes go through and if you don't notice you won't realize that the through lanes are an "electronic" toll booth. If you don't have a transmitter, you'll get photographed. I figured this out the hard way. The idea is if you don't have a transmitter, you have to know to pull off to pay the toll in cash. If you miss a toll you have to ask a subsequent toll operator for a form that allows you to send in the toll or pay it online (which I'll do as soon as I finish writing this).
There are these really cool service centers on the Illinois toll road. They span the highway. I stopped at a starbucks and sat and watched the road.
In the parking lot I ran into a GS rider who clearly had done some miles. He was describing a 5000 mile ride he was doing based on the music he liked. He had just been to someplace out of the Blues Brothers movie and was off to find where Buddy Holly wrecked. For a moment I thought "Hmmm. 5000 miles, that's alot of miles" ... then I reminded myself that I'm doing 15.
(not that it matters at all)
Northern Illinios into Wisconsin is just beautiful. Rolling tree covered hills. Carefully groomed farm country in between. Incredible vistas.
Northern Wisconsin is an area I would like to spend some time riding. Here's a photo of the highway close to the campground where I'm currently being attacked my increasing numbers of bugs. (If you've seen the Amazon Rainforest episode of Survivorman you know what I'm going through right now.)
It was a really easy day. The camera battery died at one point so there were alot of shots that I wasn't able to get. I stopped alot mostly to get coffee or snacks.I only did 270 miles today. Because the weather is so gorgeous I decided to camp. First I checked out a commercial RV part (think "horrible KOA"). To hell with that. There was a state park not far away which is far more my style, but it was expensive. $21 for one night. Damn. I had camp set up in about 20 minutes.
(now the bigger bugs are attacking).
On my way into camp, a couple of guys waved to me saying "Free Beer for BMW riders". Cool. I met Mark and Scott who were up here from Madison Wisconsin and, if memory serves, Missouri to canoe down the Black River. They were incredibly open and friendly. Offered me a bratwurst and we talked about riding and canoeing. It turns out Mark has a '99 R1100R which he has done some traveling on. Cool
Trying to reciprocate the hospitality I offered them some scotch to which Mark said "I don't touch the stuff. The last time I did I ended up married." :) Hmm. Scotch doesn't seem to have the effect on me. ;)
I hope to run into those guys again. They seemed like really good people.
I committed a bit of "grand theft stump" and rolled a large cut log back to my campsite so I'd have something to sit and and built myself a fire. All the wood is wet and getting something going was becoming annoying, so I cheated and used a bit of white gas. The solved it.
I'm 200 miles from the Aerostich Warehouse. I hope to get an early start. My credit card is going to be screaming tomorrow.
One thing that bummed me a bit today was that I passed right by Madison Wisconsin and didn't realize it. I could have stopped to visit Pei-Pei if I had had my act together.
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