[mappress mapid=”1″ ]

Start: Hartford City, IN
End: Le Claire, IA
Total Mileage: 353
State(s): IN, IL, IA

Brian met me at my home just after the noon hour on Friday. Our plan was to ride as far west as we could once we got around Chicago. This would be the only picture I took the first day out. You can see that we’re packed fairly light for a long adventure. That’s the way I like to travel. Brain had a few more gadgets than I did and he had saddlebags but I believe we carried much the same in regards to riding gear, clothes and tools.

Day One, At Home

Day One, At Home

The traffic just west of the Windy City was all you’ve ever heard about a rolling parking lot. We added about two hours to our ride time in the bottle-necked slow-down. Near the fleeting hours of dusk we crossed the Mississippi River into Le Claire, Iowa. After checking into the our motel room we asked the clerk if by chance there was a good steakhouse close. She said that indeed there was and it was just up the road from the motel.

We checked in with home and with Gentleman Jim who was traveling east to meet up with us the next day in Loveland, Colorado. Brian’s Garmin, my Garmin and Kim’s search on MapQuest all had different mileages listed for the next day’s travel but they were all over 800 miles. Even though the evening was young we decided to eat steak and get back for an early turn-in.

The great things about all the little towns I’ve been to is that there’s always one good local restaurant. The clerk had suggested Sneaky Pete’s which sat pretty much on the Mississippi River. When we climbed off the bikes the smell of Mesquite and flame grilled beef permeated the atmosphere. My hunger lay in wait for the tempting flavors offered by the night air.

Inside it was very family oriented with more rows of heavy wooden picnic tables that actual restaurant tables. It was obvious that over half of their business was large families and groups. We placed our orders and soaked in the friendly environment and several tasty dark beers. Laughing, plates clanking, waitresses calling out and the rustic decor gave it that hometown feel that’s so welcome to a rider.

And finally the steaks arrived… There’s a sign when you enter Sneaky Pete’s that exclaims, “IT’S THE WOOD”. There’s another sign as you pass the pit, where they cook the steaks over an open fire, that states, “THE SECRET’S IN THE WOOD”. My clothes smelled like Mesquite for three days. We bought a t-shirt to remember our stop at this famous riverside steakhouse. When I put it on four days later it still smelled like Mesquite.

Oh yeah… the steaks arrived and they were every bit as good as I would have expected. Burnt to a crisp on the outside(just right) and pink and juicy on the inside. We didn’t ask for steak sauce. Didn’t need it. However near the end of the steak I was wondering if the poor cow might have actually been made of Mesquite. More wood flavor than I cared for but better than most places proclaiming some special somethin’ about their grilling.

We retired to the comfort of the motel room and the Weather Channel. Today we had been in three of the ‘ I ‘ states but we had our work cut out for us tomorrow.