Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Ride Report: Slippery Noodle Inn, Spa-Style Facials, Indian Food, and November Riding in Champaign, IL


Ride Report: Slippery Noodle Inn, Spa-Style Facials, Indian Food, and November Riding in Champaign, IL

Unless there's a freak warm weather trend, this will most likely be the last multiple state trip until early Spring 2011. This doesn't mean the bike is getting stored away...trips will just have to be shorter and during daylight hours.

The trip back to Urbana-Champaign had me in temperatures of 39-48°F all day. It was sunny and dry all day and the sky didn't leave a clue of the nasty weather that was to come in the next few days. For an early dinner on Tuesday I stopped by the Slippery Noodle Inn, the oldest bar in Indiana. It was opened in 1850 and has functioned as an inn, a stop on the Underground Railroad, and even a brothel. It's now considered to be a popular destination for live blues performances and game watching parties for the Indianapolis Colts (it's across the street from the Lucas Oil Stadium).

So, I finally met up with my friend Susy around 11PM on Tuesday night and stayed over. Unlike the 28°F and dry conditions I rode around in to get to her place, the next morning was a little unnerving because I was to ride back that evening. Here's a few pics to illustrate my plight.

Last night was pretty tame. Frost on the topcase? Not a's not on the ground.
The next morning brought freezing rain and ice. Not good for me or the motorcycle!
In hopes that it would get warmer that day, I decided to delay my departure as long as possible until (1) the rain lightened up or cleared and (2) temps would be just enough above freezing to be tolerable. So, Susy and I headed to a very tasty lunch buffet at nearby Bombay Indian Grill (the food was great but I'd avoid using their bathrooms) and for $20 spa facials performed (very well) by students at Regency Beauty Institute in Champaign. I just found out there's a campus here in Columbus so there's hope for a repeat of that pampering and perhaps a $12 manicure to go with it.

By 4PM I was still debating on departing that evening or waiting until Thanksgiving morning. However, the possibly of 1" of snow within the next 12-24 hours was high and telling my work that I was stranded on my motorcycle two states over wouldn't be a very viable excuse. So, I geared up and left Champaign around 6PM. Fortunately, the storm system had moved east, so I didn't hit any precipitation until I was well into Indianapolis. Temperatures were chilly, about ranging from 34-37°F for the five hour trek back home, but this is why I'm always properly dressed and layered to stay dry and prevent hypothermia.

I stopped twice on my way back to Columbus to fill gas, once just outside Indianapolis at a Shell station on I-70 and another time at a Shell in Springfield, OH. While I was in Indy, I had an interesting conversation with the gas station attendant who also happened to be a professional Sherpa from Nepal and had been to the base of Mt. Everest twenty-eight times. During that exchange the rain outside escalated to a torrential downpour for several minutes and then stopped, so I was glad to stay out of that.

The ride home was cold, windy, and had moments of rain and water spray. Because of the occasional crosswinds, it did feel a little daunting when I passed big rig trucks on the interstate. But I returned home around 12:30AM, took a hot shower, and had a bowl of soup. I didn't see any other motorcycles out on the freeway that day. Then again, I think people would be surprised to see someone still riding in these conditions. Eh, if it's doable, I'm doing it.

NOTES: As of this blog entry, Eleanor has hit 99,300 miles, putting her 700 miles short of the 100k mark on the odometer with 36 days left in 2010. Also, Susy did let me know that snow did finally hit on Thanksgiving afternoon, so I'm glad I got the heck out of there!