Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oregon, IL: Devils Back Bone Rd

Happy Thanksgiving! It was a high of 60 degrees today, so of course I went riding. In the last few years it has either been snowing or in the 20’s on Thanksgiving, the last time I remember riding on Thanksgiving day in Chicagoland was 2001. I usually tow the bike somewhere warmer so I can ride, no need this year, it’s going to be in the high 50’s for the next four days.

I took the XT225 for a long ride today, I’m still breaking it in and since December is approaching fast, I really need to get that done so I can bring the bike in for service before the snow hits and do a few mods before my big dual-sport ride end of December.

I didn’t buy this bike to ride so far on paved roads, but I want to be done with the break in already, so I headed out to Oregon, IL where there is a road that I’ve tired to ride before, but when I got there I realized it was a dirt road. The Devils Back Bone Road is less then 3 miles long, but has a few nice corners on it, so I could practice my cornering. Also, this road has some mild elevation changes, nothing major, but fun for me since I’ve never been on dirt prior to getting this bike.

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I’m trying to get as much experience on dirt before I head to Texas at the end of December to ride in the Chisos Mountains. Unfortunately, Illinois is flat, so the dirt roads around here are not very challenging, if I was to head out to the Iowa border or up to Wisconsin, there are some nice dirt roads there, but that’s a bit far of a ride end of November.

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Straight dirt roads and empty fields near Chana, IL

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Devils Back Bone Road

Since I had some time to explore, I went and checked out White Pine State Park and Castle Rock State Park.

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Castle Rock State Park and Rock River

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On RT 2 near Oregon, IL

After that I headed over towards Byron Nuclear Generating Station, I love the whooshing sound of the two pressurized water reactors. There are a few good paved roads around here, but you can’t get too close to the nuclear generating station, even on this road dirt road, there was a no trespassing sign posted, I turned back around, last time I went taking pictures near the station, a car pulled up and a man with a machine gun told me stop taking pictures and to leave. Apparently since 9/11, taking pictures of a nuclear plant is a no-no.

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Today I was going to try Spring Creek Road, it looked like it had a few curves on a map, and it did, nothing great, this is the flat Midwest, it did offer some nice views of the steam stacks.

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Byron Nuclear Generating Station

The rest of scenery around here is pretty dull around here, fields and more fields. These cows were making a lot of noise though, I’ve never head so many moo so loud.

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The sun sets now at 4:30PM, so I started to make my way back home, 60 miles from home I witnessed a wonderful sun set.

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Then the sun went down and so did the temperatures, the next hour and half was a bit rough since I was cold, but once I entered the suburbs, the temperature rose a bit. I got home at 6:30PM chilled to the bone, but it was worth it and now I have 360 miles on the odometer.

I did 230 miles today, this is what I’ve noticed:

The XT will go as fast as 66MPH on a downhill, 57MPH on an uphill and 63MPH on a straight road, mind you this is Illinois, I didn’t ride any steep roads.

After riding for a few hours at 50 degrees and 60MPH without a windscreen or heated grips or a heated vest, it’s COLD! I’m so spoiled having all the goodies on my other bikes.

Even though the clutch on this bike is the softest that I’ve ever seen, when you pull it in a gazillion times, your left hand starts to hurt just like on any other bike.

At 60PMH I think this bike feels very stable on pavement, even going though the corners.
The headlight is pretty good on this bike

This bike is not very comfortable for long distances, it’s really not the seat that bothers me, but more so the upright seating position, the only way to be comfortable is to slouch, but after a few hours my back starts to hurt. Also. My knees were bothering me after all those hours, I’m definitely more comfortable on a sport bike and having my feet up higher and towards the back.

2 comments:

Chain said...

Must say, I'm a little envious. I am eager to get into the dirt scene. I hope to buy an old KLR in bucket for $500 and rebuild it this winter.

Anyway, nice photos and I'm glad you're having fun with the new scooter.

Chris said...

Come on out to Missouri with your dual sport. My 160 acre farm has a lot of places that you can ride and get ready for Texas.